Free tools to merge and split PDF files on Ubuntu and Windows

This post provides some GUI and command line tools to merge and split PDF files on Ubuntu and Windows.

(For Mac users, check out my post here for solutions.)

  • PDF-Shuffler is a GUI package that allows us to merge, split and re-arrange pages from PDF documents

Install use the command in your terminal (I have tested, It works on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.)

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pdfshuffler

It is pretty simple and straightforward to use.

Limitations:

If you try to merge pdf files that are encrypted, you will meet this error.

*.pdf is encrypted.
Support for encrypted files has not been implemented yet.
File export failed.
  • PDFtk is a simple and powerful command line tool for doing everyday things with PDF documents. It comes in three flavors: PDFtk Free, PDFtk Pro, and the original command-line tool PDFtk Server. There is a simple GUI free versio for Windows users, see below for the info.

Install use the command in your terminal (I have tested, It works on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.)

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pdftk

If you are a windows user, you do not need to buy adobe pdf pro version to manipulate pdf files any more, see the link to download PDFtk free, it is a simple GUI package to use on Windows. See the picture below for a sense of it.

 

See below for examples of using PDFtk to manipulate PDF files via linux command line.

This tool lets you do all sorts of things with PDF documents, such as split, merge or rotate them, apply a background watermark, burst documents into single pages, etc. mostly used command: use pdftk to split PDF files, use the following command :

pdftk in.pdf cat 2-8 output out.pdf

This will extract pages 2 through 8 from in.pdf and save them as out.pdf. The input file in.pdf will not be altered. You can use any other page range in place of 2-8. Leave out the range to select the whole document.

And here is an example of how to merge PDF files:

pdftk in1.pdf in2.pdf cat output out.pdf

This will concatenate in1.pdf and in2.pdf, saving the result as out.pdf. If you want to merge individual page ranges, you have to assign handles to input files, like so:

pdftk A=in1.pdf B=in2.pdf cat A2-3 B4-5 \

output out.pdf

This will merge pages 2-3 from in1.pdf with pages 4-5 from in2.pdf into out.pdf. The backslash means that the input is continued on the next line. You can use it when you type in long commands, but you don’t have to.

 

pdftk in.pdf cat 1-12 output in_page1-12.pdf
pdftk in.pdf cat 15-end output in_page15-end.pdf

You can use this method to split a PDF in N ways, or to remove pages.

For example, to remove page 13:

pdftk in.pdf cat 1-12 14-end output out.pdf

Or use it to rotate pages and many other things, type man pdftk in your command to see the options.

Installation is also possible by downloading a binary (Windows, OS X, Linux) or using Homebrew.

 

  • cpdf, it is a powerful, free tools to manipulate PDF files using command line. The Coherent PDF Command Line Tools allow you to manipulate existing PDF files in a variety of ways. For example:
  • Merge PDF files together, or split them apart
  • Encrypt and decrypt
  • Scale, crop and rotate pages
  • Read and set document info and metadata
  • Copy, add or remove bookmarks
  • Stamp logos, text, dates, page numbers
  • Add or remove attachments
  • Losslessly compress PDF files

See below for some examples:

cpdf in.pdf 1-12 -o out.pdf

cpdf in.pdf 13-end -o out.pdf

Or, to split into 12-page-sized chunks:

cpdf in.pdf -split -chunk 12 -o out%%%.pdf

Note that: for a large pdf file (1000+ pages) the performance of cpdf was much better than PDFtk.

References:

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