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View a PDF document

Unix gv file.pdf
Unix acroread file.pdf
OS X open file.pdf
OS 9 Acrobat Reader
PC Acrobat Reader

"acroread" often displays PDF files better than gv.

Conversion to PDF in Unix

DVI to PDF: dvipdf file.dvi
LATEX to PDF: pdflatex file.tex
PS to PDF: ps2pdf
Merge PDF's gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=s.pdf *.pdf

Note that on linux or Solaris systems, dvipdf often produces better PDF files then ps2pdf or pdflatex.

Extract PDF parts to other applications

This is described in detail on a seperate page.

From a wordprocessor like MSWord, print to a PDF document instead to a printer. Newer verions of MSWord like Office X on OSX allow direct export to PDF without Distiller.

About PDF

The portable document format (PDF) of Adobe aims to be a platform independent format for publishing long and highly formatted documents. The PDF format is a less complex and less structured than Postscript. While the programming features have been removed, hypertex facitilities and intelligent font substitution were added. PDF is optimized for fast display on screens.

Merge PDFs in OS X

From MacOSX Hints: Launch Automator. Click on Finder > Get Selected Finder Items and add to the right. Add "Sort Finder Items" too. Click on PDF>Combine PDF Pages and click "Appending". Then add "Open Finder Items". Save it as a Plug-In called "Combine PDFs". After all that, select your PDFs with Contro-Click, then in your menu, you'll see Automator>Combine PDFs. Click that and you'll see your combined PDFs.

Extract PDF parts to Word or Keynote

Assume you have a PDF document which is uneditable and you want to extract part of it into a Word document or a Keynote presentation. The most convenient way is using TeXShop under OS X. Here is, how it works:
  • Drag the icon of the PDF file into TeXShop.
  • Use the extract tool (a dotted rectangle at the upper write corner) to select the part you want to copy.
  • Open the application in which you want to use the content. For example, open Keynote or MS Word.
  • Drag the content accross the application from TeXShop to the window and place it.

Example: PDF to Keynote

For example, we have a scanned PDF version of the classical book "Number Theory" of Hardy and Wright. We want to extract a theorem for a presentation in Keynote. Here is the same procedure described with screen shots:

Example: PDF to Word

The same procedure with MS Word.

Simplicity, Clarity, Generality B.W. Kernighan, R. Pike, in "The Practice of Programming".