Every once in a while I’ll download a piece of software that includes a manual as a PDF, which is nice. Sometimes I’ll even look at it! What’s worse is when the software comes with multiple files. I’ve downloaded a program that included a manual, a warranty, a set-up guide and an “about” file, all as PDFs. Sometimes I want to save all that, and having multiple files makes it kind of a pain. If only there was an easy way to combine them.
There is! A program called Couturier, for Linux, makes it dead-simple to combine multiple PDF files.
Using Couturier really couldn’t be much simpler. Just drag and drop the PDFs you want to convert into the main window. You’ll see information about each file, as well as a small thumbnail. If they aren’t in the right order, you can drag them around until they are. When you’re ready to merge the different files, just choose a name (your newly-merged file is called “Documents All.pdf” by default, which probably isn’t what you want!), choose a download location and click the combine button. The process is over almost instantly.
When the merging is complete, your system’s default PDF viewer will open the new file, I guess so you can see that everything is the way you want it. I like this option, but just wish there was a way to turn it off. As it is now, Couturier currently has no Preferences area.
Couturier has two more options. First is the ability to password protect your new PDF. This is very helpful if you’re combining tax forms from past years, for example, or a year’s worth of credit card statements. The only difference between creating a password-protected PDF and one that isn’t is filling in a password in the password field. Do that, select a name and a save location, and click the Combine button. Simple.
The last feature Couturier boasts is that it can do all this with images. Your source files don’t have to be PDFs, so if you have a series of document or image scans you want to create a PDF from, just drag them into the window, select all your options (name, save directory, password), and again… click the Combine button.
The Couturier website mentions that Couturier was inspired by iCombiner, a PDF merging application for Mac OS X, and a quick glance at the iCombiner website reveals the truth; the interfaces of both are very similar. And that’s a good thing. There are people switching between Mac and Linux and Windows all the time, and the more “familiar” applications there are, the better, in my opinion.
There’s really only two features I’d like to see, but I have no idea how feasible they would be. It would be great if the ability existed to first reorder the pages of an existing PDF file before combining it with another PDF. There are applications available that will reorder a PDF’s pages, so my “wish list” would seem possible, but I have no idea how difficult it would be to implement with Couturier as it already exists. A second feature would be one I noticed iCombiner has. With iCombiner, it’s possible to highlight multiple images in the Finder, right-click and choose to make a PDF of them right from the context menu. This would be a great feature if added to Couturier when used with Linux file managers. Again, no idea how do-able this is, but it’s something that would certainly add to the ease of use (which is already fantastic).
So… there you have it. Couturier is a simple, fast, easy to use program. Because of its tools, it’s probably not something that “everyone” just has to download immediately, but if you need what it offers, it’s a fantastic choice.