I need a PDF Manipulator Program

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I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:21 pm

But I don't want to pay any money to Adobe.

Right now I need to merge multiple PDFs into one, but I'm pretty much at the point where I'm going to need to split PDFs, do OCR on PDFs, author content in PDFs, and probably much more.

So it's time for me to look for a good product that's not too expensive, won't spy on me or feed me ads about implants or improving my bowel functions, and won't encourage Adobe to continue in their evil ways.

Windows 8.1 Pro right now. Open source would be appreciated, but I'm willing to pay if it comes to that.

Suggestions welcome...
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:50 pm

Can't beat free if splitting and merging are all you need:

http://www.adolix.com/split-merge-pdf/

That's what I use. There are others out there.
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:04 pm

I've heard good things about Foxit, though I've never used it myself. They have a couple of versions of their editor that cost around $100. The first time I need to read a PDF on this machine I'm going to get their reader, not only is it less lame than Adobe but it also allows creation of PDFs from other file formats.
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:05 pm

I stopped editing PDFs when I graduated, but Foxit makes a PDF editor that was decent back then. Not free though so maybe there's something better out there now, but they have a 30-day free trial. http://www.foxitsoftware.com/PDF_Editor/ I do still use Foxit Reader which is still completely free.
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:22 pm

When you say "author content" do you mean you need to edit content of pre-existing PDFs, or just export documents to PDF? OpenOffice/LibreOffice and recent versions of MS Office can export documents directly to PDF.

For simple split/merge/concatenate type stuff I have been using pdftk.
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:41 pm

I earn my money by manipulating PDF files -- editing PDF text, inserting and deleting pages, grabbing graphics, converting formats, and more. There is no replacement for Acrobat. It is well worth the money.

*edit -- typos*
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:47 pm

My PDF workflow using only open-source and cross-platform compatible programs includes:

1. PDF Split-and-Merge: Handles any slicing & dicing of PDFs including extracting and reordering pages, merging mutiple PDFs in arbitrary order, rotating pages, etc. etc.

http://www.pdfsam.org/

2. LibreOffice: Includes a PDF importer that is OK for some (not all) PDF files as long as they don't inlclude crazy embedded text. You can then edit the PDF and save in Open Document format or export back to PDF.

3. GIMP: When a PDF isn't cooperating with Libreoffice, GIMP can import any PDF as a set of images or image layers. At this point you are treating each PDF page as a picture though, for better or for worse.

4. OCR: Tesseract combined with some custom Ghostcript front-ending to clean up PDF input files. Tesseract works pretty well for OCR on clean PDFs with printed text and relatively high (300+DPI) scan resolution. I used Tesseract just to generate text files that mapped to a few hundred thousand pages of PDF documents and then used a search engine to index the text for searching and retrieval of the original PDF.

You may need fancier OCR functionality. While I'm loathe to recommend it, the full versions of Adobe Acrobat do include OCR that seems to work OK on high-DPI PDFs with printed text (don't expect miracles for handwriting from any OCR engine out there though).

I'll echo what JBI said: If at all possible, try to avoid having to modify the PDFs directly, but try to make the PDF be the end of your workflow. Direct manipulation of contents inside a PDF is possible, but there is no perfect tool out there for doing it (and that includes even Acrobat Uber-Mega-Pro edition for however much money Adobe wants).

EDIT: One other point I forgot: If you are working with fillable PDF forms here, then remember that it is possible to "export" the form data to an XML document, modify the XML document (you need to study the form structure in XML and make the appropriate changes though) and then re-import the XML to fill in the PDF form with new content. This can be extremely powerful if you need to populate PDF forms in an automated or semi-automated manner since you can use the wide range of XML processing tools out there to attack the problem from the XML side and just use the modified XML to re-populate the final PDF form.
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:45 am

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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:11 am

For simple things, the latest Microsoft Word actually has ok PDF import/save integration. It's not the best but it's probably among the simplest.
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:26 am

Nuance PDF converter professional. Not too expensive and will do OCR and author forms. You can probably pick up an earlier version (7) for $40 new in box if you look around. We use that and acrobat pro at work.

http://www.nuance.com/for-business/docu ... /index.htm

For apps that don't support print to PDF and I don't want to buy software, there is a free PDF maker here:

http://www.primopdf.com

They also have a full product called nitro PDF that does forms and stuff but I have never used it.
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:59 am

Serif PagePlus allows you to edit pdfs ;)
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:38 pm

chuckula wrote:3. GIMP: When a PDF isn't cooperating with Libreoffice, GIMP can import any PDF as a set of images or image layers. At this point you are treating each PDF page as a picture though, for better or for worse.
In a lot of cases you may be better off going with Inkscape here, to keep the images in vector form. (Not much value if you're just working with text, but if the PDF contains graphics and you need to resize them or otherwise manipulate them without losing a lot of fidelity).
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Re: I need a PDF Manipulator Program

Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:08 am

Hello everybody and thank you all for trying to help out.

I used PDFSAM for a bit and it was bumpy but passable for small jobs, and the price (free) can't be beat.

Right now I only need to merge 4 to 8 PDFs into one big PDF and turn some pages 90 degrees. PDFSAM's default size for this was about 51 MB for the big composite file.

Then I got my normal weekly? Monthly? spam er.. "targeted product suggestion email" from the good folks at Corel up yonder.

I jest; I'm a user of PaintShop, and Aftershot Pro so I'm on their mailing list. Anyway, this email made me go look at prices for their paint program, and coincidentally, I saw on their website that they have a PDF tool called "PDF Fusion". It does what I need for now, which is merging and splitting PDFs, and it's $40. Drag and drop, you can open as many input files as you need to and drag/drop what you need into your output file, then save it with or without compression and optimization.

Free 30 day trial; fully functional. So I downloaded it and worked on one of my projects. Worked well and the UI was much faster than PDFSAM. My time is important, so I think I'll probably buy PDF Fusion.

I used no compression but did optimize for web. The resulting output file was only 18MB, which will make my PDFs much faster to transfer back and forth on Dropbox, Evernote, or email, and less sluggish to use on a mobile device such as iPad or a laptop on a 3G connection.

So I think I found my solution for now. I will revisit this again when I actually need a "PDF authoring" application.

Thanks again!
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