Tech Tip #10: merge PDFs into 2 per page, 3 per page, etc (n per page)

This post is mostly just a reminder to myself, but it may be useful to others.

I was recently asked to convert a .ppt, or Powerpoint slideshow document, into a three slides per page, horizontally centered, one on top of another, with frames around each slide. Powerpoint itself offers several printing options, including a 2n per page (ie. 2, 4, 8, etc) as well as handouts, which can do 3 per page but are incredibly small and have writing lines besides the slides.

Luckily, Powerpoint can save the .ppt into a .pdf, and there are plenty of PDF manipulation tools on Linux, and are generally much more readily available than on Windows. Scribus is an option, but after some searching I discovered “pdfnup“, part of the “pdfjam” package. This is the command I ended up using:

pdfnup --nup 1x3 --no-landscape --frame true --batch foo.pdf bar.pdf etc.pdf

For a full explanation of the commands, you can try looking at its manpage, or pdfnup --help, which is much more useful.

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