Two Tools for Manipulating PDFs on the Linux Desktop
Ah, the PDF file. Like it or not (and there are many standing on both sides of that line), the PDF has somehow, in some way, become ubiquitous. It's become a de-facto standard document file format.
Nowadays, a range of different applications and tools can spit out PDFs with the click of a button or an option added to a command line. Generating a PDF is one thing. Manipulating one is something else. On the Linux desktop, there are several utilities which can do just that. Let's take a look at two of them.
As its name suggests, you can use PDF Arranger to shuffle the contents of a PDF file around. It does a bit more than that, too.
Fire up the application and open a PDF file. The pages in the file display as thumbnails.
Click and drag a thumbnail to move it elsewhere in the file. You can also select multiple thumbnails and drag them to a different point in the file.
You can also delete one or more pages by selecting their thumbnails and either clicking the Delete icon on the toolbar or pressing Delete on your keyboard.
To insert another PDF file into the one you're working on, select Add from the File menu. Find the file, and then click Open. PDF Arranger inserts the other file at the end of one that's currently open.
Under the Edit menu, you'll find commands to:
- Rotate pages
- Crop and duplicate pages
- Edit the PDF file's metadata (information like the title and the author)
PDF Mix Tool
PDF Mix Tool takes a different approach to manipulating PDF files. You can use it to combine two or more PDFs or to manipulate the layout of a single PDF file.
On the Multiple files tab (which is what you're on when you start the application), click the Add PDF file button in open a file. Do that for as many files as you need to combine.
You can rearrange the order of the files by clicking the Move up and Move down buttons on the toolbar. When you're ready to go, click the Generate PDF button. Give the new file a name and then click Save.
PDF Mix Tool isn't merely a blunt instrument for mashing together PDF files. You can choose which pages in a particular file to include in the combined PDF. To do that, right click on a file in the list and select Edit from the menu that pops up.
Enter the range of pages to include in the combined PDF in the Pages field — for example, enter 10-21 to only include pages 10 to 21. The text in the Outline entry field is what displays in the outline that displays in your PDF reader (usually on the left side of the screen).
That's great for multiple PDFs, but what about individual files? Click the Single file tab and then click Open PDF file to fiddle with one.
One the Single file tab, you can:
- Turn the PDF into a booklet for printing
- Rotate and scale the pages in the files
- Add one or more blank pages at a point within the file
- Delete odd, even, or a range of pages in the file
- Break all pages, all odd or even numbered pages, or a range of pages out into separate files