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PDF Command Line Tools Usage Examples

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Here are some examples of the PDF command line tools in action. This is just a small selection—for more examples, see the Full PDF Manual.

When using Microsoft Windows, replace cpdf with cpdf.exe.

Index

1. Basic Usage
2. Merging and Splitting
3. Pages
4. Encryption and Decryption
5. Compression
6. Bookmarks
7. Presentations
8. Logos, Watermarks and Stamps
9. Multipage Facilities
10. Annotations
11. Document Information and Metadata
12. File Attachments
13. Miscellaneous

1. Basic Usage

cpdf in.pdf 1-3,6 -o out.pdf

Read in.pdf, select pages 1, 2, 3 and 6, and write those pages to out.pdf.

cpdf in.pdf even -o out.pdf

Select the even pages (2, 4, 6...) from in.pdf and write those pages to out.pdf.

cpdf -merge in.pdf in2.pdf AND -add-text "Copyright 2016" -o out.pdf

Using AND to perform several operations in order, here merging two files together and adding a copyright stamp to every page.

cpdf -control control.txt

Read control.txt and use its contents as the command line arguments for cpdf.

2. Merging and Splitting

cpdf -merge in.pdf in2.pdf -o out.pdf

Merge in.pdf and in2.pdf into one document, writing to out.pdf.

cpdf -split in.pdf -o Chunk%%%.pdf -chunk 10

Split in.pdf into ten-page chunks, writing them to Chunk001.pdf, Chunk002.pdf etc.

cpdf -split-bookmarks 0 in.pdf -o @N.pdf

Split in.pdf on bookmark boundaries, writing each to a file whose name is the bookmark label.

3. Pages

cpdf -scale-page "2 2" in.pdf -o out.pdf

Scale both the dimensions and contents of in.pdf by a factor of two in x and y directions.

cpdf -scale-to-fit usletterportrait in.pdf -o out.pdf

Scale the pages in in.pdf to fit the US Letter page size, writing to out.pdf

cpdf -shift "26pt 18mm" in.pdf -o out.pdf

Shift the contents of the page by 26 pts in the x direction, and 18 millimetres in the y direction, writing to out.pdf

cpdf -rotate-contents 90 in.pdf -o out.pdf

Rotate the contents of the pages in in.pdf by ninety degrees and write to out.pdf.

cpdf -crop "0 0 600pt 400pt" in.pdf -o out.pdf

Crop the pages in in.pdf to a 600 pts by 400 pts rectangle.

4. Encryption and Decryption

cpdf -encrypt 128bit fred joe in.pdf -o out.pdf

Encrypt in.pdf using 128bit PDF encryption using the owner password fred and the user password joe and writing the encrypted file to out.pdf

cpdf -decrypt in.pdf owner=fred -o out.pdf

Decrypt in.pdf using the owner password, writing to out.pdf.

5. Compression

cpdf -compress in.pdf -o out.pdf

Compress the data streams in in.pdf, writing the result to out.pdf.

cpdf -decompress in.pdf -o out.pdf

Decompress the data streams in in.pdf, writing to out.pdf.

6. Bookmarks

cpdf -list-bookmarks in.pdf

List the bookmarks in in.pdf. This would produce:

0 "Part 1" 1 open
1 "Part 1A" 2
2 "Part 1B" 3
0 "Part 2" 4
1 "Part 2a" 5

cpdf -add-bookmarks bookmarks.txt in.pdf -o out.pdf

Add bookmarks in the same form from a prepared file bookmarks.txt to in.pdf, writing to out.pdf.

7. Presentations

cpdf -presentation in.pdf 2-end -trans Split -duration 10 -o out.pdf

Use the Split style to build a presentation from the PDF in.pdf, each slide staying 10 seconds on screen unless manually advanced. The first page, being a title does not move on automatically, and has no transition effect.

8. Logos, Watermarks and Stamps

cpdf -stamp-on watermark.pdf in.pdf -o out.pdf

Stamp the file watermark.pdf on to each page of in.pdf, writing the result to out.pdf.

cpdf -topleft 10 -font Courier -add-text "Page %Page\nDate %d-%m-%Y" in.pdf -o out.pdf

Add a page number and date to all the pages in in.pdf using the Courier font, writing to out.pdf

9. Multipage Facilities

cpdf -twoup-stack in.pdf -o out.pdf

Two up impose the file in.pdf, writing to out.pdf

cpdf -pad-after 1,3,4 in.pdf -o out.pdf

Add extra blank pages after pages one, three and four of a document.

10. Annotations

cpdf -list-annotations in.pdf

List the annotations in a file in.pdf to standard output. This might produce:

--------------------------------
Annotation text content 1
--------------------------------

--------------------------------
Annotation text content 2
--------------------------------

cpdf -copy-annotations from.pdf in.pdf -o out.pdf

Copy the annotations from from.pdf to in.pdf, writing to out.pdf.

11. Document Information and Metadata

cpdf -set-title "The New Title" in.pdf -o out.pdf

Set the document title of in.pdf. writing to out.pdf.

cpdf -hide-toolbar true in.pdf -o out.pdf

Set the document in.pdf to open with the Acrobat Viewer's toolbar hidden, writing to out.pdf.

cpdf -set-metadata metadata.xml in.pdf -o out.pdf

Set the metadata in a PDF in.pdf to the contents of the file metadata.xml, and write the output to out.pdf.

cpdf -set-page-layout TwoColumnRight in.pdf -o out.pdf

Set the document in.pdf to open in Acrobat Viewer showing two columns of pages, starting on the right, putting the result in out.pdf.

cpdf -set-page-mode FullScreen in.pdf -o out.pdf

Set the document in.pdf to open in Acrobat Viewer in full screen mode, putting the result in out.pdf.

12. File Attachments

cpdf -attach-file sheet.xls in.pdf -o out.pdf

Attach the file sheet.xls to in.pdf, writing to out.pdf.

cpdf -remove-files in.pdf -o out.pdf

Remove any attachments from in.pdf, writing to out.pdf.

13. Miscellaneous

cpdf -blacktext in.pdf -o out.pdf

Blacken all the text in in.pdf, writing to out.pdf.

cpdf -thinlines 2pt in.pdf -o out.pdf

Make sure all lines in in.pdf are at least 2 pts wide, writing to out.pdf.