[ALUG] Scripted editing of PDF files

(Ted Harding) Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk
Thu Jul 10 13:10:05 BST 2008

On 10-Jul-08 11:16:26, Joe Button wrote:
> On Thu, 2008-07-10 at 11:22 +0100, Mark Rogers wrote:
>> Does anyone have any idea how to perform command-line PDF editing?
>> The sort of thing I am talking about is adding text to the document 
>> maybe even editing existing text if that's possible.
> Is there a particular reason for doing this on the command line? Do you
> need to automate it? Are you doing it over screen? Does your PDP-11 not
> run X?
> If you really want to fiddle with PDFs on the command line you should
> probably check out http://www.pdfhacks.com/pdftk/ . I've managed to
> make small edits to PDFs using pdftk and a text editor, but it's at
> best fiddly.
> Other than that I'm pretty sure one or both of scribus and inkscape
> will edit PDFs.

I just tried Scribus (1.2.6, June 2006 on Debian Etch). It refused
to open a PDF file, on the grounds that it was "not in Scribus format".

As to inkscape, I just had a look at http://www.inkscape.org and the
documentation seems to be still in a primitive stae, so I can't tell
whether it can import a PDF file, let alone edit it if it can be

> Having said all of which, what you're asking may well just be
> impractical as PDFs tend to do things like break text into hundreds of
> individual objects or convert it to vectors, which makes significant
> editing nigh on impossible.
> Joe
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E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk>
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Date: 10-Jul-08                                       Time: 13:10:03
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