I have a PDF file that was the result of the scan of a book.

In this file 2 pages of the book correspond to 1 in the PDF. So when I see a page in the PDF file I'm actually seeing 2 pages of the book.

enter image description here


I would like to know if there's any way to convert this file to another PDF where 1 page of the book corresponds to 1 page of the PDF i.e. the normal situation.

9 Answers 9


You can use mutool, a MuPDF command-line tool (sudo apt-get install mupdf-tools):

mutool poster -x 2 input.pdf output.pdf

You can also use -y if you want to perform a vertical split.

  • 6
    In ubuntu 16.04 the package name is mupdf-tools (so.. sudo apt-get install mupdf-tools). Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 9:49
  • 2
    Did the job very good and very fast! Unfortunatly I couldn't find a way to use it to remove the first, empty page from the output PDF. Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 19:32
  • @MartinScharrer mutool clean input.pdf output.pdf 2-N
    – Peque
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 8:21
  • mutool poster only virtually crops the image. Each page has still has both pages but one is hidden. This can cause problems later when using other tools to OCR. gscan2pdf showed both pages and a bunch of programs crashed.
    – whitis
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 2:06
  • @whitis - That doesn't make much sense. The size of the output pdf is the same as that of the input, if indeed each separate page in output had both halves of the uncut page of the input, we should have an output of doubled size.
    – cipricus
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 8:14

Try Gscan2pdf, which you can download from the Software Centre or which you can install from command line sudo apt-get install gscan2pdf.

Open Gscan2Pdf:

  1. file > import your PDF file;


    Now you have a single page (see the left column):


  2. then tools > Clean up;

    clean up

  3. select double as layout and #output pages as 2, then click OK;


  4. Gscan2pdf splits your document (among other things, it will also clean it up and deskew it etc.) Now you have two pages:


  5. Save your PDF file if you're satisfied with the result.
  • I've been looking for an easier way to use unpaper without having to produce ppm files and this is it. Very helpful answer.
    – To Do
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 9:53
  • 9
    For future readers: this doesn't do what you want with non-image PDFs -- only the images are imported. gscan2pdf looks great for scanning, though :). Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 22:00
  • 1
    gscan2pdf v.2.13.2 no longer has import option. You simply use file > open and then tools > Cleanup
    – helcim
    Commented Jan 14 at 21:59

I would use Briss. It lets you select various regions of each page, each of which to turn into a new page.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I accepted the answer from Benjamin and not yours simply because Briss is not mature yet. I tried Briss and it looks good. But gscan2pdf installation is much quicker and cleaner. Thank you for your contribution, anyway!
    – JGNog
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 23:04
  • 1
    I've been using Briss for over a year now. Seems reasonably mature to me.
    – frabjous
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 23:12
  • 1
    I've been using briss for years and it's great. It is currently being maintained as Briss-2.0 here: (github.com/mbaeuerle/Briss-2.0). I highly recommend it. (Note that when you load your file, you only have one 'box' per page. You can resize that box and create a second one by simply clicking on the page.) Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 17:06

Another option is ScanTailor. This program is particularly well suited to processing several scans at a time.

apt-get install scantailor

It unfortunately only works on image file inputs, but it's simple enough to convert a scanned PDF to a jpg. Here's a one-liner that I used for converting a whole directory of PDFs into jpgs. If a PDF has n pages, it makes n jpg files.

for f in ./*.pdf; do gs -q -dSAFER -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -r300 -dGraphicsAlphaBits=4 -dTextAlphaBits=4 -sDEVICE=png16m "-sOutputFile=$f%02d.png" "$f" -c quit; done;

I had screenshots ready to share, but I don't have enough rep to post them.

ScanTailor outputs to tif, so if you want the files back in PDF you can use this to make a PDF for each page.

for f in ./*.tif; do tiff2pdf "$f" -o "$f".pdf -p letter -F; done;

Then you can use this one-liner, or an application like PDFShuffler to merge any or all files into one PDF.

gs -q -sPAPERSIZE=letter -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=output.pdf *.pdf

  • This is a very good solution when detailed settings are needed (e.g. when the split between pages varies, or is not exactly in the middle. More on Scantailor in this answer and linked ones. To extract pages as jpg pdftoppm is best (see details in links).
    – cipricus
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 8:30
  • Scantailor is amazing! But unfortunately not available in Ubuntu 22.04+ :-( Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 17:28

A command line solution using ImageMagick:

  1. Split the PDF into individual images, here at 300 dpi resolution:

     convert -density 300 orig.pdf page.png
  2. Split each page image into a left and right image:

     for file in page-*.png;
       do convert "$file" -crop 50%x100% "$file-split.png";
  3. Rename the page-###-split-#.png files to just 001.png, 002.png etc.:

     ls page-*-split-*.png | cat -n | 
       while read n f; do mv "$f" $(printf "%03d.png" $n); done
  4. Combine the resulting page images into a PDF again:

     convert [0-9][0-9][0-9].png result.pdf

Sources, variations and further tips:


Here is a python script for this.



Sejda can do that either using its web interface or command line interface (open source). The task is called splitdownthemiddle


You could use okular or any pdf reader and then use print to file and select options and copies-> pages . Select your interested pages and then give print. It will cut the selected pages . Simple and easy !!

  • Easy for one page, but totally useless for batch work.
    – JayEye
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 0:01
  • Why would it cut the page by printing?
    – cipricus
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 8:01

There is a wonderful program scankromsator. It is free and works quite well through wine. More information here.

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