Add value to image PDF files with pdfsandwich

Scan Doctor

Article from Issue 282/2024

Use this handy tool to make your scanned PDF files zoomable and searchable.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is surely one of the very few file formats that every user of digital devices has used at least once, knowingly or not. In spite of its popularity, however (or maybe because of it?), the PDF is also too often misused. This article describes the problem and how you can solve it with a tool called pdfsandwich [1].

Purpose and Limits of PDF

In general, and simplifying a lot, the purpose of PDF is to make sure that the visible and printable versions of a digital document always look the same on both screen and paper, no matter which hardware and software render it. The PDF version of a text file configured to print on A4 sheets, for example, will always keep that form factor, regardless of that of the screen that displays it.

For the same reason, the PDF version of a spreadsheet will surely show the numbers in each cell with whatever font, font face, and color its author chose. However, it will not show the formulas that generate those numbers and, just like its printed version, it will not allow you to, for example, reorder the rows in any way.


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