Say I have a PDF of a website which is very long. After reading some of it, I decide there are extraneous pages in it; but rather than finding the website every time I decide to eliminate a page, I want to print it to PDF and just not select that page to print (using CUPS-PDF). Will this degrade the quality of the PDF, particularly if I were to do it multiple times? Is there a better way to achieve what I am looking for? I have tried PDFEdit, with mixed results, and would like something more reliable. Of course, I can always just go back to the site and save a new version, using the same technique of neglected those pages that I don't want.
In principle, it is possible to print a PDF through some chain of programs that ends in a PDF generation with no quality loss.
Two major things have to happen to guarantee a perceptually lossless conversion:
So far, I've considered only perceptual quality. It is possible to achieve a perceptually lossless conversion but lose editability or end up with a substantially larger file:
For your simple case, deleting a page, it is fairly easy to get a no-loss guarantee, if you use a program that understands the PDF file format well enough to simply elide the page data. This is completely doable, since pages in PDF more or less stand alone. It's just a question of finding a tool that knows enough about the particular PDF variant your existing files are encoded with. PDF is a very complex file format, so it is common for programs claiming to support PDF to have only partial support in actual fact. It may be that that there is only one program that truly understands 100% of PDF: Adobe Acrobat Pro. It would not surprise me to learn that every single other program that deals with PDF is actually speaking a subset.
Bottom line, I would not expect a PDF-via-print-from-PDF chain to give such quality guarantees. There's just too much opportunity for interpretation and intermediation.
If I understand your main goal correctly, you don't need to go through any hassle with printing to PDF. You can use a command-line tool like
will create a file
In general, no, quality loss should not occur. If it does, the program is to blame, not the format. Some things that could occur that could be construed as quality loss:
I have never used