editing pdf files

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Sat Oct 13 11:19:16 UTC 2012

On Fri, 12 Oct 2012 16:46:28 -0700, Gary Kline wrote:
> 	ive got a question that fits in here.  hopefully.
> 	last week  I found a book from 1901 that google had scanned and listed
> 	as a pdf file.  it was text plus photos of the rich/famous of the 
> 	1800s.  somehow, google found the exact string that matched my great
> 	grandfather [from the civil war].  I d'loaded the file (maybe 2mbytes)
> 	and searched using acroread.  nada.  I used the pdftotext utility.
> 	same: nothing but  some 600 page numbers.
> 	my guess is that google just took photos of the book and used other
> 	tools to create a pdf file.  I am not =that= serious  about genealogy,
> 	but I would like to know if there are any tools to edit this kind of
> 	pdf file.

In case the PDF is nothing more than a compilation of images,
there's a way to deal with it for editing:

step 1: disassemble
step 2: edit images
step 3: reassemble

The disassembling can be done with 

	% pdfimages source.pdf .

Then the files can be edited whatever tool you like, e. g. Gimp.
They often come out in PBM format.

Finally the images can be re-converted to PDF and combined to one
PDF file:

	for IMG in .*.pbm; do
		convert ${IMG} ${IMG}.pdf
	pdftk .*.pdf output target.pdf

Note the ".*" prefix for the file specification: The images extracted
by pdfimages match that pattern (at least in the case I tested it for).
If they get other names than .0000001.pbm, change the approach

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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