PDFsam, a desktop application to extract pages, split, merge, mix and rotate PDF files - torakiki/pdfsam. PDFsam Basic/Enhanced/Visual Review: Pros, Cons & Performance. PDFsam is a reliable PDF tool that allows you to merge and split PDF documents with ease. This open source tool is compatible with all major platforms and it is designed to be a lightweight, hyper-focused solution to manipulating documents in the easiest and quickest way possible. Smart reminder function.

I was first introduced to PDFsam when I was given the task of splitting about 300 conference proceedings into individual session talks, totaling around about 5500 individual sessions. The splitting of the document needed to be exact, as the sessions were being uploaded individually into a different site. I worked out that I could split an individual PDF, with around about 10 minutes, give or take, depending on how much content was in each session. I figured there must have been an easier and quicker way to split the documents into individual arguments.

Without spending very much or no money at all for a solution, I decided to turn to Google to find a solution. “open source PDF splitter” came to mind and this was the first set of keywords that I had entered that day. The first result that came up was that of “PDF split and merge”. I clicked on the link, had a read over the site, then downloaded and printed off the instruction manual.

The slogan of “A free and open source tool to split and merge PDF documents” meant that I had found my solution. I downloaded the Windows version and installed it onto my machine. On first run, it looked as though it could only split one document in multiple places. I worked out that this would shave roughly another 2 or 3 minutes off the processing time for each proceeding.

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In the documentation I had downloaded for the software, there was a mention of a command line interface. This meant that I could create a text file with a command that would then split the proceeding into individual articles. THe command that I used was:

java -jar pdfsam-console-0.7.3.jar -f C:file1.pdf -f C:file1.pdf -o C:output.pdf -u 1-1:2-8: concat

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Explanation of the above command:

  • java – jar pdfsam-console-0.7.3.jar – the version of PDFsam that I was using at the time. Java is one of the requirements needed for PDFsam to run.
  • -f – the prefix used in the command line to indicate the input file (i.e. the file that was needing to be split)
  • -o – the prefix used in the command line to indicate the output file (i.e. the split file or finished product)
  • 1-1 – the range of pages needed to be taken from the first document (in this case it was the title page of the proceeding)
  • 2-8 – the range of pages that the session or talk spanned within the proceeding document
  • concat – the command used within the command line to combine the two individual pdf’s together (in my case, this was the command that I used to combine the title page with the pages that related to the session of the conference).


Using this command for each session in each proceeding, meant that I could split one proceeding in around about 15 seconds (depending on the amount of talks within each conference). This meant overall that the daunting process of splitting 300 conference proceedings was sped up, and the documents could be implemented into the new system in a timely manner.

About PDFsam:

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  • PDFsam is freely available for download from Sourceforge (http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfsam/) or from the PDFsam website (www.pdfsam.org)
  • It requires Java to run
  • Versions available for Windows and MacOS.
  • Source code is freely available
  • Support forum and wiki available on the website as well as the documentation

To conclude, I would definitely recommend using PDFsam to split and merge a wide variety of PDF documents. It is very easy to configure and use and sped up my processing time dramatically.

Home » Business and Productivity » Adobe and PDF Utilities and Plug Ins » PDF Split and Merge (PDFsam)

Program Specifications

Size:12.70 MB
Publisher:Andrea Vacondio
Date Added:May 26, 2010
License [?]:Open Source
Operating System:Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows NT, Windows ME, Windows 98, Windows 95, Windows 7, Windows 2003, Windows 2000, Unix
Requirements:Java Virtual Machine 1.6 or higher
Download Links:Download PDF Split and Merge (PDFsam)
BumperSoft Editor's Review Status:

Publisher's Description of PDF Split and Merge (PDFsam)

' A very simple, easy-to-use, free, open-source utility to split and merge pdf files. '
- From Andrea Vacondio

PDFsam is an open source tool (GPL license) designed to handle pdf files. It’s released in 2 versions, basic and enhanced. It's platform independent and it runs on every platform where a Java Virtual Machine is available.
PDFsam basic:
A simple tool designed to split and merge pdf files. With it’s simple and intuitive interface you can:
* split your pdf documents (into chapters, single pages, etc.).
* merge many pdf documents or subsections of them.
* extract sections of your document into a single pdf document.
* mix alternate pages taken from two pdf documents in straight or reverse order into a single document.
* rotate pages of the selected pdf documents.
* visually reorder pages of a selected pdf document.
* visually compose a document dragging pages from selected pdf documents.
* save and load your environment to automatize your recurrent jobs.
* manage PDFsam settings and set an environment to load at start up.
PDFsam enhanced:
This is the enhanced version of PDFsam. In this version you’ll find all the basic features plus:
* encrypt your pdf files (RC40 bits, RC128 bits, AES128 bits) and set permissions on them.
* add a pdf frontpage or an addendum (or both) to your pdf documents.
* decrypt pdf documents.
* extract attachments from your pdf documents.
* set viewer options to a document to tell the viewer application how should open the document.
* set the metadata of a document (author, title, subject and keywords).
Why two versions?
Basic version is very simple and stable. It’s completely free and it covers most of your needs.
Enhanced version is open source and has more features than the basic version. It’s “almost” free, you can download the source code, compile and use it or, if you think it’s worth it, you can make a donation.
So do I have to pay for the enhanced version?
Yes and no. Enhanced version has no fixed price. The source code is available for download therefore you can compile it and use it. With a single donation of any amount (1$, 10$, 100$… as much as you wish) you’ll gain unlimited access to compiled code, win32 installer plus the access to the support forums and to the features request section.

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