Edit PDF files in Linux with pdftk

by krisrowland

I recently wanted to alter a .pdf file but had no copy of Adobe Acrobat and preferred to use Linux. After a quick bit of searching, I came across an awesome little (but very powerful) program called PDFToolkit. It can be installed on any Linux distro, and should be available in most popular distro’s repositories. Once installed, the program is called by executing pdftk in the terminal (yes, it’s a command-line tool). pdftk can’t be called on its own, it must be followed by input files and parameters. For a list of functions and syntax, check out the man-page: man pdftk.

The things pdftk is capable of are impressive, to say the least. So far, I’ve used it to do simple tasks like remove pages or concatenate two documents, to more advanced things like overlaying a stamp image on a document.

The only issue I’ve come across thus far is that, when removing pages (at least) the document’s contents list breaks. This probably shouldn’t be surprising, though. Nonetheless, it’s a very powerful and useful program that I’ll be using for a long time.

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