PDFSplit, a Solution to Your Two-Column Blues

Reading two-column academic papers is awkward on the Kindle; you sort of have to choose between zooming way out, so that the text is unreadably small, or zooming in far enough that the text is readable, but mucking around with the arrow navigation keys and never quite centering the text on the page. This program takes two-column papers on standard US-letter size paper and splits them down the middle, producing a PDF with one page for each column. On the Kindle, this makes the text large enough to read while still allowing the convenient, built-in navigation mode.

Download the source for PDFSplit 0.0.1 (released 1 April, 2011; changelog) today! (Version 0.0, released 31 March, 2011, is also available.) New releases will be announced on the Haskell mailing list.

Here's a screenshot of evince displaying a two-column paper:

two-column paper before processing

And after processing by pdfsplit:

the resulting PDF, now with DOUBLE the pages!


Before you can cabal install pdfsplit, make sure you have pdfinfo and pdflatex installed and that your TeX distribution includes the pdfpages package. You will also need a Haskell compiler; if you aren't familiar with Haskell, the Haskell Platform is probably the easiest way to get what you need.

USAGE: pdfsplit infile.pdf [infile.pdf ...]

Each filename given on the command line is treated as a standard US-letter (8.25" x 11") sized, two-column PDF, and a new PDF file is produced. If the input file name has the form <file>.pdf, then the new file will be named <file>-split.pdf. Otherwise, the output file name will be identical to the input file name, but with -split.pdf appended. Input filenames must not contain whitespace (not even properly-escaped whitespace!).

Also, don't name your input files -h or --help. Come on.

Bugs and feature requests should go to the tracker. Log in with user name "guest" and password "secret" to see the current bugs and feature requests; log back out to submit a new bug or feature request.