# HOWTO Convert (and Rotate) Windows PDFs

### Introduction

I often have to swap documents in PDF format, and have lately come across a wierd problem that must be a misinterpretation of either PDF compression or text encoding.

Basically, PDFs generated on Windows machines (most notably those that use Ghostscript variants like PrimoPDF) are unreadable in 's , displaying garbled text.

I still don't know exactly why (it also happened with at least one -generated PDF, to my utter bewilderment), but I've finally figured out how to view them correctly without installing Adobe's (extremely) bloated Acrobat Reader on my s.

### The Solution

The one solution that worked for me was to use Ghostscript to convert the PDF files back into "raw" PostScript and then double-click on the resulting .ps file to force to re-encode it into PDF format.

To do that, I got Ghostscript from Fink and used the following gs incantation:

$gs -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pswrite -sOutputFile=out.ps -f in.pdf This invokes gs to batch render the input file to a PostScript file, which I then double-click to open in Preview. ### Packing It Into a Single File If (like me) you'd rather read through a single file, here's a nice way to join PDF files in a single converted output file: $ gs -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pswrite -sOutputFile=out.ps -c save pop -f *.pdf

The "save pop" thing is the key here (remember PostScript is stack-based).

There's also the option to use the pdfwrite device like so:

$gs -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=out.pdf -f *.pdf ### Two-Up Layouts Another useful trick is to simulate a "side by side" layout (using psnup from the psutils package) after you convert the PDFs to PostScript: $ psnup -2 out.ps two-up.ps

You then simply open the PostScript file in and rotate it - bingo, instant side-by-side layout (great for wide screens).

### Extracting Single Pages

My favorite, however, is this one:

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -dFirstPage=m
-dLastPage=n -sOutputFile=out.pdf in.pdf

(taken from here)

Update: One of these days I'll try Easy N-Up, which requires a working TeX install.