how to remove black borders from a PDF

our copy machines at the university can scan documents and send them to an email address. how convenient! however, when you scan pages from a book, the page-size will most likely not match the exact size of an A4 paper, resulting in a PDF document that has black borders on the side and/or the bottom. this is bad, because printing these pages later will waste a lot of ink. that’s why i’ve been looking for an easy way to crop PDF documents on linux, and i’ve finally found out how to do this:

pdfcrop –margins ‘0 0 0 -50’ –clip report.pdf

this will remove 50 bp from the bottom of every page of the PDF.

on my distro, pdfcrop is provided by the package ‘texlive-extra-utils’, so you’ll need to install this if you don’t have it already.


  1. Hi Luzius!

    Maybe you want to try ‘unpaper’ http://unpaper.berlios.de/

    Just my $.02


  2. luzi

    4. Aug 2009 at 12:04

    Thank you, Alain, that looks like a nice tool.

    I also found another useful tool that can merge/split PDF files (it even has a GUI). http://www.pdfsam.org/

  3. luzi

    13. Nov 2010 at 16:45

    another one: http://sourceforge.net/projects/briss

    java-based, can crop with a GUI.

  4. Thank you very much!

  5. Another useful (command line) tool to split/merge/rotate/… pdf files is pdftk.

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