PDF Labs

PDFtk Server Examples

These examples show you how to perform common PDF tasks from the command-line using pdftk.

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Collate scanned pages

pdftk A=even.pdf B=odd.pdf shuffle A B output collated.pdf

   or if odd.pdf is in reverse order:

pdftk A=even.pdf B=odd.pdf shuffle A Bend-1 output collated.pdf

Decrypt a PDF

pdftk secured.pdf input_pw foopass output unsecured.pdf

Encrypt a PDF using 128-bit strength (the default), withhold all permissions (the default)

pdftk 1.pdf output 1.128.pdf owner_pw foopass

Same as above, except password baz must also be used to open output PDF

pdftk 1.pdf output 1.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz

Same as above, except printing is allowed (once the PDF is open)

pdftk 1.pdf output 1.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz allow printing

Join in1.pdf and in2.pdf into a new PDF, out1.pdf

pdftk in1.pdf in2.pdf cat output out1.pdf

   or (using handles):

pdftk A=in1.pdf B=in2.pdf cat A B output out1.pdf

   or (using wildcards):

pdftk *.pdf cat output combined.pdf

Remove page 13 from in1.pdf to create out1.pdf

pdftk in.pdf cat 1-12 14-end output out1.pdf


pdftk A=in1.pdf cat A1-12 A14-end output out1.pdf

When using the Windows command-prompt, it helps to use drag-and-drop from the file manager: drag the input PDF file from the file manager onto the command-prompt, and its full pathname will appear at the prompt.

Apply 40-bit encryption to output, revoking all permissions (the default). Set the owner PW to foopass.

pdftk 1.pdf 2.pdf cat output 3.pdf encrypt_40bit owner_pw foopass

Join two files, one of which requires the password foopass. The output is not encrypted.

pdftk A=secured.pdf 2.pdf input_pw A=foopass cat output 3.pdf

Uncompress PDF page streams for editing the PDF in a text editor (e.g., vim, emacs)

pdftk doc.pdf output doc.unc.pdf uncompress

Repair a PDF’s corrupted XREF table and stream lengths, if possible

pdftk broken.pdf output fixed.pdf

Burst a single PDF document into pages and dump its data to doc_data.txt

pdftk in.pdf burst

Burst a single PDF document into encrypted pages. Allow low-quality printing

pdftk in.pdf burst owner_pw foopass allow DegradedPrinting

Write a report on PDF document metadata and bookmarks to report.txt

pdftk in.pdf dump_data output report.txt

Rotate the first PDF page to 90 degrees clockwise

pdftk in.pdf cat 1east 2-end output out.pdf

Rotate an entire PDF document to 180 degrees

pdftk in.pdf cat 1-endsouth output out.pdf

Article Author: Sid Steward


Pdftk is a command-line program, so you should use your computer terminal or command prompt when first testing these examples.

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