Introduction to pdfToolbox CLI

Install and activate

To get going with pdfToolbox CLI, the first thing needed is installation and activation. This is explained step by step in the next article.


The easiest way to find out what you can do with the command-line is to run the --help command.

This will provide a long help text with 

  1. Parameters available when working with Profiles (as shown in the screenshot above)
  2. Various "commands" usable with pdfToolbox CLI (not visible in the screenshot above but explains below)

1. Executing Profiles with pdfToolbox CLI

pdfToolbox uses Profiles to perform quality control and/or to fix PDF documents. An example of a simple Profile is: 'Flatten transparency (high resolution).kfpx'
pdfToolbox CLI gets shipped with a set of predefined Profiles stored in logical groups within:

<Application folder>/var/Profiles (shown below).

Most of the functionality is only available in Profiles. Given that there are more than 1000 different Check properties (that can even be combined) and several hundred Fixups, there is no way to put this into a command line interface. Profiles will usually convert a source file into a result PDF but when file conversions or extraction of content are performed, then Actions can be used.

The Server/CLI package includes the Desktop application for configuration of Profiles on MacOS and Windows.

2. Run commands directly (without Profiles)

Another way to process PDF files using pdfToolbox CLI is running commands. pdfToolbox --help will also furnish the list of commands that you can execute (as shown below):

Once you find the command you want to work with, drill-down; for example, to know how to save images from pdfToolbox, issue the command:

./pdfToolbox --help saveasimg
Click to copy

Watch this 6-minute video 'How to use pdfToolbox CLI':

Get in touch

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