Splitting, Converting, and Printing PDF Files

I’m dealing with two PDF files lately – a book and a dissertation, both are required reading materials. They’re both huge and has hundreds of pages, but I only need to read a few pages from the textbook and a chapter from the dissertation. Fortunately, Linux has some PDF tools to fix this.

As an example, I used the PDF file of Code Version 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Splitting Pages

I used Master PDF Editor, which is the closest thing to Adobe Acrobat that’s available for Linux (although it’s not open-source).

Open your file, and go to Document>Extract Pages.

For convenience, I checked ‘Extract pages as a single file’ and unchecked ‘Export Bookmarks’. If the latter is left checked, the resulting file would retain bookmarks for pages that no longer existed.


Converting PDF to EPUB

PDF files are uncomfortable to read on a small screen, so I used Calibre to convert it to EPUB. But firstly, I used krop to remove headers, page numbers and footers. This is not necessary, but if I don’t do it, they would appear every few paragraphs and can get in the way of the main text.

Drag-and-drop the file to Calibre’s window, right-click on it and select Convert books>Convert Individually, and select ‘EPUB’ from the dropdown menu on top right corner.

To make the EPUB file looks a little better, I enabled Heuristic Processing, checked ‘No Images’ on PDF Input. Heuristic Processing will fix some formatting problems (such as line breaks mistaken for paragraph breaks), and ‘No Images’ is self-explanatory.

The result is not perfect – it never will, but I still prefer it to PDF files.

Converting PDF to PNG

I also decided to convert the textbook’s pages to image files. Still on Master PDF Editor, go to File>Export To>Images.

The options are pretty self-explanatory, and you can change the file format, size, and DPI to get lower file size (and worse image quality).

Printing Multiple Pages per Side

I just found out that you can print multiple pages of a PDF file per page. This is great for cutting printing cost or making documents easier to read and carry. The best thing is, you don’t need any additional software to so this.

Open your PDF reader of choice. Here I used Evince; Master PDF Editor works, too. Go to the Print menu, select Page Setup tab, and change the ‘Pages per side’ amount.

Since printing pages this way can make the text smaller and harder to read, you can make the pages bigger by adjusting the Scale option.

2 pages per side, zoomed into 150%.


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