I've received a PDF file with a plan for development of a bundle of projects, My task was to evaluate this plan and give feeback on the 44 pages PDF document.
Since don't know of program to directly be able edit PDF files on GNU / Linux ?, my initial idea was to open and convert the PDF to ODT / DOC with OpenOffice (Libre Office) and then edit the ODT file.
Unfortunately Open Office oowrite program was unable to open / visualize the PDF file. My assumption is OO failure to open the PDF is because the PDF was generated on Microsoft Windows with Adobe illustrator or smth.
The idea that came to my mind as alternative, way to edit the PDF file was to convert it in pictures edit and then convert the pictures to PDF.
In other words to follow these 3 steps:
1. Convert the PDF document to multiple images
2. Edit each of the images with GIMP or Inkscape
3. Convert back all images to a single PDF file
Some time ago, I've written an article how to create PDF file from many image files in JPEG, PNG or GIF on Linux
. This prior article was exactly describing how to complete Step 3.Therefore all left was to find a way to convert the PDF file to multiple JPEG / PNG / GIF images.
convert command to convert PDF document to multiple pictures which you can take from my earlier article is:
$ convert *.jpg outputpdffile.pdf
Actually in Step 1 I was aiming to do the opposite of what I've previously done.
Hence, in order to convert the singe Project.PDF file to multiple PNG images, I just switched convert IN / OUT arguments order.
hipo@noah:~/project-pdf-to-images$ convert Project.pdf Project.png
I've done the PDF to pictures conversion on my notebook running Debian Squeeze (6.0.2) GNU / Linux.Convertion of the PDF file to 44 images, took 25 seconds on my dual core 1.8 Ghz / 2GB RAM Thinkpad r61.
Afterwards, I've had at hand 44 PNG files generated, e.g.:
hipo@noah:~/project-pdf-to-images$ ls -al Project-*.png |wc -l
convert was also smart enough to produce correct file naming. The output file names were:
Nicely each number (-1.png) was corresponding to the respective PDF page. For instance Project-10.png was corresponding to page 10 of the Projects.PDF file
Rather ironically, after convertion of the PDF to pictures, while opening the Project-1.png, I've noticed The GIMP – (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) is capable of directly reading PDF files. GIMP has both the option to open files in layers or separate images 😉
Anyways even if GIMP is used to modify the different PDF pages as layers, once completed GIMP doesn't have the ability to save the file as PDF and therefore once saved the file if merging of layers is done the resulting picture becomes ONE BIG MESS.
Therefore it seems my the 3 steps way e.g.:
1. convertion PDF to pictures
2. picture edit with GIMP or Inkscape
3. convertion of pictures back to PDF
is still the only way to "modify PDF" in Linux or BSDs. I will be glad to hear if someone has come up with a better solution?