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Old 01-15-2008, 05:12 AM   #1
zest n zeal
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Using pdftk to get all first pages of many pdf's into one pdf document

Hallo all,

I have about 100 randomly named pdfs in a directory and I wish to compile a document consisting of the first page of every one.

I normally use pdftk with a command like this:

pdftk A=first.pdf B=second.pdf C=third.pdf cat A1 B1 C1 output combined_firstpages.pdf

Could you please help me with the correct syntax to get output from

ls *.pdf

into that command? I been trying with the 'read' command which is what I normally use in this kind of circumstance but it just ain't working and I currently feel as if my head is going to explode.

many thanks to anyone who can help sort this.


Last edited by zest n zeal; 01-15-2008 at 05:13 AM. Reason: error on first post
Old 01-15-2008, 09:07 AM   #2
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pdftk is not very good for this task. The handles can be only one letter and must be an uppercase letter, so only A-Z is possible.

But it can be done by making a temporary directory, extract page 1 of every PDF into a separate file in that directory, and then join all those PDF files into a big one. Here is a little script that does the job:


#Set the filename on the line below:

#Here is the temporary directory:
mkdir $tempdir
for name in *.pdf ; do
        pdftk "A=$name" cat A1 output "$tempdir/$name"
pdftk $tempdir/*.pdf cat output "$DESTINATION"
rm -r $tempdir


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