I was introduced to ImageMagick a few months back for manipulating images for print but now I'm curious to know if anyone has seen one for .pdf? I would like to create scripts that will check or modify crop, bleed, font embedding, and the like.

  • Why not.... ImageMagick ? it can work on PDF as it works with images. Of course, you won't manipulate fonts but you will be able to crop, extend, repage... – Ghislain Leveque Apr 26 '13 at 14:02

I don't think there's any tool for PDF files that has a large set of commands like ImageMagick. Here are a few with their main capabilities.

  • pdfjam, a shell wrapper around the pdfLaTeX pdfpages package. Pdfjam includes some specialized commands (pdfnup to make 2-up arrangements and so on, pdfbook to make booklets, pdfjoin to concatenate several files, pdf90 and so on to rotate pages) and can set metadata (author, title, keywords, …), scale and rotate pages, and so on. The pdfpages package lets you arrange pages or parts of pages of one or more files in any way you want and write arbitrary LaTeX code around them.
  • pdftk is primarily useful to reassemble known amounts of pages but has other capabilities.
  • The pyPdf Python library can easily reassemble pages in complex ways, and can crop and merge pages. Example: un2up, unbook.
  • Perl's PDF::API2 is more complex and can embed fonts.
  • Ghostscript works with PostScript and PDF files. It can embed fonts in a PDF file.

If you want to work on a PDF file as a bitmap image, ImageMagick does that. It doesn't support multiple-page PDF files well, so extract and recompose your files with other tools.


I will prefer Inkscape similar to ImageMagick

  • 1
    Why? How does Inkscape handle pdfs in a way that imagemagick does images? ImageMagick is a command-line tool, while Inkscape is GUI-based. Also, I have been Inkscape a lot, but never for pdf-files. Maybe you can refer to some relevant sections on their website to improve your answer? – Bernhard Jan 1 '13 at 9:06

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