I have folders with hundreds of pdf and xls(x) files that were mass exported from legal e-discovery systems. The filenames in these exports correspond to bates # such as ABCD_00000001.pdf, ABCD_00000002.pdf, ... , ABCD_00002000.pdf. These mass exports include a blank pdf file for every single xls(x) file - with both having the exact same filename. E.g., ABCD_00000005.xlsx is the xlsx file that was produced in the ediscovery system and ABCD_00000005.pdf is an extraneous blank pdf file that was created in the mass export.

These extraneous .pdf files probably result from a user error on the part of the people running these mass exports, but I don't usually have control over that side of the process. So I wanted to know if any relatively straightforward way to delete these extraneous .pdf without forcing someone to go through them manually.

  • 1
    Are they .xls or .xlsx? Or could they be either? Why can't you just delete all pdf files in that directory? Are there some pdf files you would like to save? – Jesse_b Aug 10 '18 at 16:28

Loop over the pdf files, use parameter expansion to extract the basename:

for pdf in *.pdf ; do
    if [[ -f $basename.xls || -f $basename.xlsx ]] ; then
        rm "$pdf"

Update: I got the logic backwards, should be fixed now.

  • Added slightly more efficient alternative. If this folder is extensive, it could make a difference in processing time. – Xalorous Aug 10 '18 at 17:00
  • @Xalorous: But your "alternative" removed the files my solution tried to keep. – choroba Aug 10 '18 at 17:01
  • It's possible that I pasted the wrong one. I'll post a separate answer with the more efficient version. – Xalorous Aug 10 '18 at 17:04
  • I agree with your decision to reject the suggested edit — new answers should be posted as new answers, not edits.  But I believe that Xalorous got it right and you (choroba) got it backwards.  If ABCD_0000005.xlsx and ABCD_0000005.pdf both exist, your code leaves ABCD_0000005.pdf alone.  But if important.pdf exists, and there’s no corresponding spreadsheet, your code deletes important.pdf. – G-Man Aug 10 '18 at 17:43
  • Actually, I missed that his logic is inverted. Taking out the ! would fix it though. The real question is what if there's a pdf without matching xls(x). What does OP want to happen then? If they want them gone, then they need to just rm -rf *.pdf. If not, then my answer. Reading the question strictly, we're only to delete pdf files with matching xls(x) files. – Xalorous Aug 10 '18 at 17:51

Loop over the .xls(x) files and remove matching pdf files.

for xls in *.xls* ; do
    /bin/rm -f "${xls%.xls*}"".pdf"

If there's no matching pdf it won't hurt anything.

  • You don’t really need the ""; i.e., you could do /bin/rm -f "${xls%.xls*}.pdf".  But this looks like it should work. – G-Man Aug 10 '18 at 17:42
  • I tried it both ways, the match failed without the "" in the middle. Or maybe I made a different mistake at the same time. I'm new to bash. – Xalorous Aug 10 '18 at 17:46

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