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Automated tool to split up/section off an Adobe PDF

Posted on 2014-01-10
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Last Modified: 2014-01-15
Hello all,

I am looking for a tool that can automate (via script) the process of separating a large poster-style PDF document into predefined sections and creating a new page-by-page PDF.

The source document is in InDesign... so if this can be done within InDesign, that is acceptable. Otherwise, a free tool is ideal, pay tool is also acceptable.

Thank you,
Doug
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Question by:sconnell
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 39770978
I made an illustration of what I am seeking, just in case my description wasn't clear.

One of the primary requirements is that I must be able to automate this conversion (always the same document) via batch file.

Thank you.

Separate a PDF poster into individual page PDF
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Expert Comment

by:Sigurdur Armannsson
ID: 39771060
I'm sorry. Don't know any such script.

But you could do this by setting up a four page document in InDesign. Set the pages to be a four page spread.
Place your PDF and let it cover the whole spread.
Export pages as a PDF and use Acrobat to split the pages into individual pages.

Report if you would need extra help with how-to's of this procedure.
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 39771200
Thank you sigurarm,
To clarify, I need to print this document (from InDesign) in both the original poster format and as individual pages.
If I am able to reformat the InDesign layout, without too much effort, all the better.

Any tips?
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Expert Comment

by:Sigurdur Armannsson
ID: 39771288
It looks like the original format is a one page spread but with four pages on it. Is that correct?
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 39771351
The original format is a custom 2 page (front/back) with 4 columns each.
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Expert Comment

by:Sigurdur Armannsson
ID: 39771409
Ok.

I would start by duplicating the original file and use one for the poster size and one for the split format. (Keep one extra copy of the original in a safe place).

The poster format should be easy, just output a pdf as a spread.

For the split version I would use the spread pdf's and place them into a new ID file that has set four individual pages in a row as a spead.

To make that file, make a new document with four pages.
In the Pages panel menu, the flyout menu, uncheck: Allow Document Pages to Shuffle.
That allows you to drag the pages around until they form a four page spread.
Now you can place the pdf's onto the leftmost page and it will spread over the four page spread.
Export as Pdf. I think there is a script available that allows to to export each pages as individual pages. I can search for it, but splitting multiple pages pdf to individual pdf's is built into Acrobat and really fast procedure.

For my curiosity: Are you making many of these or just this one you showed?

Let us know if we are on the right track.
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 39771503
Hello Sigurarm,

Thanks for your support. I really hope I misunderstood you but it seems as though you are suggesting I make two separate documents, one in poster style (original format) and another for in individual page format.

That is definitely not ideal because that would mean that I would have to maintain/update the same document twice as changes are required.

Either, I require an external tool to extract pages from the original poster PDF or I need to format the original InDesign document so that it can print both a poster style PDF and individual page PDF format.

Thank you.
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Assisted Solution

by:Sigurdur Armannsson
Sigurdur Armannsson earned 200 total points
ID: 39771597
You understood correctly. I am pretty sure that the ideal solution is not available. That's why I am trying to think of a solution which would be possible to use.

Furthermore I will try to make the way I am proposing as easy as possible. Lets look at the problems you mention.

So you are making many of these files?

I would look at the poster file as the main file and do all corrections to it. Because that is the original with the live text.
The spreads you export from it are used for 1. Printing, 2. import to the other file and export for printing (or epub).

Lets say you need to make a second book this way. I am calling the individual pdf Indesign document: B. You can reduce work by exporting spreads from it for 1. and 2. and in a copy of B you only need to update the links  in the Links panel and point to the new pdf spreads.
You can also use the same name for the spreads, and always keep those in a folder where the B file will look for it.
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Accepted Solution

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sconnell earned 0 total points
ID: 39771700
Hello Sigurarm,

Thanks again.

I found the perfect solution! :-)

By utilizing InDesign's ability to embed InDesign within InDesign, I created a new document (8 individual pages) and 'Placed' the original .indd file into each of these pages. For each page, I adjusted the positioning of the placement accordingly.

Even better, whenever I update the original poster, the updates automatically occur in the new page-by-page document.

Thanks again.
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Expert Comment

by:Sigurdur Armannsson
ID: 39772412
Very nice.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 39781840
Thanks Sigurarm, since I found the solution, I awarded myself... but I gave you points for your much appreciated effort.
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