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I have one or several pdfs with small size like A5, A6 etc.. Possibly with more than one page. I want to create a large pdf like A4 that is completely tiled with the smaller ones, so that I can print the larger one, cut it and now have the original smaller pdfs on paper.

Here is an example:

given: one A5 page and two A6 pages. needed: one A4 page that has all three pages on it. E.g. in portrait orientation it could have the A5 page on its upper half and the A6 pages on the lower half which is split once more.

How do I do that?

Are there any convenient GUI programs that help me do this? I can also live with command line but prefer GUI.

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  • 1
    I don't know any GUIs, but this seems exactly the kind of thing that pdfjam does well. May 11, 2023 at 13:22
  • 1
    There's a gui jpdftweak that claims to do many things. I've not used it.
    – meuh
    May 12, 2023 at 9:05

1 Answer 1

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  • A naive approach is to use CLI tools to rotate, merge, and "n-up" PDF files.

  • A smarter approach is to use LaTeX.

Naive approach

Given one A5 and two A6, we have at least 4 possible layouts. Two of them are shown, the others are obtained by 180° rotation.

Page sizes Layout 1 Layout 2
PaperSize Layout1 Layout2

Assume we want, say, layout 1.

Input:

  • A6-file1.pdf: one page, landscape, A6 paper size.
  • A6-file2.pdf: one page, landscape, A6 paper size.
  • A5.pdf: one page, portrait, A5 paper size.

Output: A4.pdf: one-page, landscape, A4 paper size.

# Merge A6 files into a two-page PDF: A6-joined.pdf
pdfjam -q --a6paper --landscape -o A6-joined.pdf A6-file{1,2}.pdf

# {1x2}-up A6-joined.pdf in order to get one-page A5 PDF: A5-nup.pdf 
pdfjam -q -o A5-nup.pdf --a5paper --no-landscape --nup 1x2 A6-joined.pdf

# Merge A5 files
pdfjam -q -o A5-joined.pdf --a5paper --no-landscape A5.pdf A5-nup.pdf

# {2x1}-up A5-joined.pdf in order to get A4.pdf
pdfjam -q -o A4.pdf --a4paper --landscape --nup 2x1 A5-joined.pdf

# Check and show A4.pdf (optional)
pdfinfo A4.pdf | grep -i 'page size' && xdg-open A4.pdf &>/dev/null &
Page size:       841.89 x 595.276 pts (A4)

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