man pdftk Command

Man page for apt-get pdftk Command

Man Page for pdftk in Linux

Ubuntu Man Command : man pdftk

Man Pdftk  Command

This tutorial shows the man page for man pdftk in linux.

Open terminal with 'su' access and type the command as shown below:
man pdftk

Result of the Command Execution shown below:

PDFTK(1)                                                                                                                                                    PDFTK(1)

pdftk A handy tool for manipulating PDF

pdftk <input PDF files | | PROMPT>
[input_pw <input PDF owner passwords | PROMPT>]
[<operation> <operation arguments>]
[output <output filename | | PROMPT>]
[encrypt_40bit | encrypt_128bit]
[allow <permissions>]
[owner_pw <owner password | PROMPT>]
[user_pw <user password | PROMPT>]
[flatten] [compress | uncompress]
[keep_first_id | keep_final_id] [drop_xfa]
[verbose] [dont_ask | do_ask]
<operation> may be empty, or:
[cat | attach_files | unpack_files | burst |
fill_form | background | stamp | generate_fdf |
multibackground | multistamp |
dump_data | dump_data_fields | update_info]

For Complete Help: pdftk help

If PDF is electronic paper, then pdftk is an electronic staple remover, hole punch, binder, secret decoder ring, and X Ray glasses. Pdftk is a simple tool
for doing everyday things with PDF documents. Use it to:

* Merge PDF Documents
* Split PDF Pages into a New Document
* Rotate PDF Documents or Pages
* Decrypt Input as Necessary (Password Required)
* Encrypt Output as Desired
* Fill PDF Forms with X/FDF Data and/or Flatten Forms
* Generate FDF Data Stencil from PDF Forms
* Apply a Background Watermark or a Foreground Stamp
* Report PDF Metrics such as Metadata and Bookmarks
* Update PDF Metadata
* Attach Files to PDF Pages or the PDF Document
* Unpack PDF Attachments
* Burst a PDF Document into Single Pages
* Uncompress and Re Compress Page Streams
* Repair Corrupted PDF (Where Possible)

A summary of options is included below.

help, h
Show summary of options.

<input PDF files | | PROMPT>
A list of the input PDF files. If you plan to combine these PDFs (without using handles) then list files in the order you want them combined. Use
to pass a single PDF into pdftk via stdin. Input files can be associated with handles, where a handle is a single, upper case letter:

<input PDF handle>=<input PDF filename>

Handles are often omitted. They are useful when specifying PDF passwords or page ranges, later.

For example: A=input1.pdf B=input2.pdf

[input_pw <input PDF owner passwords | PROMPT>]
Input PDF owner passwords, if necessary, are associated with files by using their handles:

<input PDF handle>=<input PDF file owner password>

If handles are not given, then passwords are associated with input files by order.

Most pdftk features require that encrypted input PDF are accompanied by the ~owner~ password. If the input PDF has no owner password, then the user
password must be given, instead. If the input PDF has no passwords, then no password should be given.

When running in do_ask mode, pdftk will prompt you for a password if the supplied password is incorrect or none was given.

[<operation> <operation arguments>]
If this optional argument is omitted, then pdftk runs in 'filter' mode. Filter mode takes only one PDF input and creates a new PDF after applying all
of the output options, like encryption and compression.

Available operations are: cat, attach_files, unpack_files, burst, fill_form, background, stamp, dump_data, dump_data_fields, generate_fdf,
update_info. Some operations takes additional arguments, described below.

cat [<page ranges>]
Catenates pages from input PDFs to create a new PDF. Page order in the new PDF is specified by the order of the given page ranges. Page ranges
are described like this:

<input PDF handle>[<begin page number>[ <end page number>[<qualifier>]]][<page rotation>]

Where the handle identifies one of the input PDF files, and the beginning and ending page numbers are one based references to pages in the PDF
file, and the qualifier can be even or odd, and the page rotation can be N, S, E, W, L, R, or D.

If the handle is omitted from the page range, then the pages are taken from the first input PDF.

The even qualifier causes pdftk to use only the even numbered PDF pages, so 1 6even yields pages 2, 4 and 6 in that order. 6 1even yields pages 6,
4 and 2 in that order.

The odd qualifier works similarly to the even.

The page rotation setting can cause pdftk to rotate pages and documents. Each option sets the page rotation as follows (in degrees): N: 0, E: 90,
S: 180, W: 270, L: 90, R: +90, D: +180. L, R, and D make relative adjustments to a page's rotation.

If no arguments are passed to cat, then pdftk combines all input PDFs in the order they were given to create the output.

* <end page number> may be less than <begin page number>.
* The keyword end may be used to reference the final page of a document instead of a page number.
* Reference a single page by omitting the ending page number.
* The handle may be used alone to represent the entire PDF document, e.g., B1 end is the same as B.

Page Range Examples w/o Handles:
1 endE rotate entire document 90 degrees
5 11 20
5 25oddW take odd pages in range, rotate 90 degrees
6 1

Page Range Examples Using Handles:
Say A=in1.pdf B=in2.pdf, then:
A1 21
Bend 1odd
A1 21 Beven A72
AW rotate entire document 90 degrees
A2 30evenL take the even pages from the range, remove 90 degrees from each page's rotation
AevenW AoddE
attach_files <attachment filenames | PROMPT> [to_page <page number | PROMPT>]
Packs arbitrary files into a PDF using PDF's file attachment features. More than one attachment may be listed after attach_files. Attachments are
added at the document level unless the optional to_page option is given, in which case the files are attached to the given page number (the first
page is 1, the final page is end). For example:

pdftk in.pdf attach_files table1.html table2.html to_page 6 output out.pdf

Copies all of the attachments from the input PDF into the current folder or to an output directory given after output. For example:

pdftk report.pdf unpack_files output ~/atts/

or, interactively:

pdftk report.pdf unpack_files output PROMPT

burst Splits a single, input PDF document into individual pages. Also creates a report named doc_data.txt which is the same as the output from dump_data.
If the output section is omitted, then PDF pages are named: pg_%04d.pdf, e.g.: pg_0001.pdf, pg_0002.pdf, etc. To name these pages yourself, supply
a printf styled format string via the output section. For example, if you want pages named: page_01.pdf, page_02.pdf, etc., pass output
page_%02d.pdf to pdftk. Encryption can be applied to the output by appending output options such as owner_pw, e.g.:

pdftk in.pdf burst owner_pw foopass

fill_form <FDF data filename | XFDF data filename | | PROMPT>
Fills the single input PDF's form fields with the data from an FDF file, XFDF file or stdin. Enter the data filename after fill_form, or use to
pass the data via stdin, like so:

pdftk form.pdf fill_form data.fdf output form.filled.pdf

After filling a form, the form fields remain interactive unless you also use the flatten output option. flatten merges the form fields with the PDF
pages. You can use flatten alone, too, but only on a single PDF:

pdftk form.pdf fill_form data.fdf output out.pdf flatten


pdftk form.filled.pdf output out.pdf flatten

If the input FDF file includes Rich Text formatted data in addition to plain text, then the Rich Text data is packed into the form fields as well
as the plain text. Pdftk also sets a flag that cues Acrobat/Reader to generate new field appearances based on the Rich Text data. That way, when
the user opens the PDF, the viewer will create the Rich Text fields on the spot. If the user's PDF viewer does not support Rich Text, then the
user will see the plain text data instead. If you flatten this form before Acrobat has a chance to create (and save) new field appearances, then
the plain text field data is what you'll see.

background <background PDF filename | | PROMPT>
Applies a PDF watermark to the background of a single input PDF. Pass the background PDF's filename after background like so:

pdftk in.pdf background back.pdf output out.pdf

Pdftk uses only the first page from the background PDF and applies it to every page of the input PDF. This page is scaled and rotated as needed to
fit the input page. You can use to pass a background PDF into pdftk via stdin.

If the input PDF does not have a transparent background (such as a PDF created from page scans) then the resulting background won't be visible
use the stamp feature instead.

multibackground <background PDF filename | | PROMPT>
Same as the background feature, but applies each page of the the background PDF to the corresponding page of the input PDF.

stamp <stamp PDF filename | | PROMPT>
This behaves just like the background feature except it overlays the stamp PDF page on top of the input PDF document's pages. This works best if
the stamp PDF page has a transparent background.

multistamp <stamp PDF filename | | PROMPT>
Same as stamp, but stamps different pages with different pages (not only the first pages) of the stamp PDF file.

Reads a single, input PDF file and reports various statistics, metadata, bookmarks (a/k/a outlines), and page labels to the given output filename
or (if no output is given) to stdout. Does not create a new PDF.

Reads a single, input PDF file and reports form field statistics to the given output filename or (if no output is given) to stdout. Does not cre Äê
ate a new PDF.

Reads a single, input PDF file and generates a FDF file suitable for fill_form out of it to the given output filename or (if no output is given) to
stdout. Does not create a new PDF.

update_info <info data filename | | PROMPT>
Changes the metadata stored in a single PDF's Info dictionary to match the input data file. The input data file uses the same syntax as the output
from dump_data. This does not change the metadata stored in the PDF's XMP stream, if it has one. For example:

pdftk in.pdf update_info output out.pdf

[output <output filename | | PROMPT>]
The output PDF filename may not be set to the name of an input filename. Use to output to stdout. When using the dump_data operation, use output to
set the name of the output data file. When using the unpack_files operation, use output to set the name of an output directory. When using the burst
operation, you can use output to control the resulting PDF page filenames (described above).

[encrypt_40bit | encrypt_128bit]
If an output PDF user or owner password is given, output PDF encryption strength defaults to 128 bits. This can be overridden by specifying

[allow <permissions>]
Permissions are applied to the output PDF only if an encryption strength is specified or an owner or user password is given. If permissions are not
specified, they default to 'none,' which means all of the following features are disabled.

The permissions section may include one or more of the following features:

Top Quality Printing

Lower Quality Printing

Also allows Assembly


Also allows ScreenReaders


Also allows FillIn


Allows the user to perform all of the above, and top quality printing.

[owner_pw <owner password | PROMPT>]

[user_pw <user password | PROMPT>]
If an encryption strength is given but no passwords are supplied, then the owner and user passwords remain empty, which means that the resulting PDF
may be opened and its security parameters altered by anybody.

[compress | uncompress]
These are only useful when you want to edit PDF code in a text editor like vim or emacs. Remove PDF page stream compression by applying the uncom Äê
press filter. Use the compress filter to restore compression.

Use this option to merge an input PDF's interactive form fields (and their data) with the PDF's pages. Only one input PDF may be given. Sometimes used
with the fill_form operation.

[keep_first_id | keep_final_id]
When combining pages from multiple PDFs, use one of these options to copy the document ID from either the first or final input document into the new
output PDF. Otherwise pdftk creates a new document ID for the output PDF. When no operation is given, pdftk always uses the ID from the (single) input

If your input PDF is a form created using Acrobat 7 or Adobe Designer, then it probably has XFA data. Filling such a form using pdftk yields a PDF
with data that fails to display in Acrobat 7 (and 6?). The workaround solution is to remove the form's XFA data, either before you fill the form
using pdftk or at the time you fill the form. Using this option causes pdftk to omit the XFA data from the output PDF form.

This option is only useful when running pdftk on a single input PDF. When assembling a PDF from multiple inputs using pdftk, any XFA data in the
input is automatically omitted.

By default, pdftk runs quietly. Append verbose to the end and it will speak up.

[dont_ask | do_ask]
Depending on the compile time settings (see ASK_ABOUT_WARNINGS), pdftk might prompt you for further input when it encounters a problem, such as a bad
password. Override this default behavior by adding dont_ask (so pdftk won't ask you what to do) or do_ask (so pdftk will ask you what to do).

When running in dont_ask mode, pdftk will over write files with its output without notice.


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

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 1E 2 end output out.pdf

Rotate an entire PDF document to 180 degrees
pdftk in.pdf cat 1 endS output out.pdf

pdftk uses the iText Java library ( to read and write PDF. The author compiled this Java library using GCJ
( so it could be linked with a front end written in C++.

The pdftk home page is

Sid Steward ( maintains pdftk.

September 18, 2006 PDFTK(1)-

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