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hpr2708 :: Ghostscript

Klaatu talks about manipulating PDFs with gs and pdf-stapler

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Hosted by Klaatu on 2018-12-19 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
pdf, ebook, bloat, print. 2.
The show is available on the Internet Archive at:

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Duration: 00:22:31

Privacy and Security.

In this open series, you can contribute shows that are on the topic of Privacy and Security

Ghostscript is the open source implementation of Postscript. You can read its docs online.

To compress a big PDF into something possibly smaller:

$ gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen -dBATCH -sOutputFile=output.pdf example.pdf

That renders basically the same PDF with all images down-res'd to 72 DPI. Other valid setting profiles are ebook, printer, and prepress.

To render a version of a PDF without any raster images in it, making it cheaper and faster to print:

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen -dBATCH -dFILTERIMAGE -sOutputFile=output.pdf example.pdf

The FILTERIMAGE option drops raster images from the file. The FILTERVECTOR option filters vector images, and FILTERTEXT filters text.

If pdftk is not available for your OS, you can use pdf-stapler instead for cutting and concatenating PDF files. It doesn't deal with metadata as well as pdftk does, however.

It's worth noting that pdftk is available as a snap package

It's also worth noting that this is actually episode 2 in a series about steganography.


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Comment #1 posted on 2019-02-07 23:05:08 by Steve

Just what I needed

Just wanted to say thank you for this episode. I needed to reduce the size of a PDF today, and I knew right where to come and the necessary command was in the show notes. Worked perfectly.

Comment #2 posted on 2019-03-07 18:49:22 by Klaatu

You're welcome

I'm glad this helped, Steve.

You're not the only one this episode has helped. I've referred back to it at least fortnightly since posting it!

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