I have 90 sub-folders in a folder. Each sub-folder contains pdf files. Total pdf files are nearly 2200. How can I extract page number 3 to 10 from all pdfs?

To extract the pages from one pdf, I am using the following command.

pdftk *.pdf cat 3-10 output 3-10.pdf

2 Answers 2


This one liner (split into 2 lines for ease of reading) was tested and works well on my system:

find . -name '*.pdf' -type f -exec bash -c \
'pdftk "$0" cat 3-10 output "${0%.pdf}_3-10.pdf"' {} \;

Simply open a Terminal window in the base folder (the one that contains all of the sub-folders) and copy and paste the entire one line command given above. It will:

  1. Traverse all of the sub-folders and identify all the pdfs
  2. Extract pages 3-10 from each (using your example command)
  3. Give a sensible output filename: the original name with _3-10 added

And this should neatly and economically accomplish your purpose...


Optionally you could give a different output location to collect all of the altered pdf documents. For example you could create a folder called ~/extracted and alter the commandline above to the following:

find . -name '*.pdf' -type f -exec bash -c \
'pdftk "$0" cat 3-10 output "~/extracted/${0%.pdf}_3-10.pdf"' {} \;

And thus all of the altered pdf files would appear in ~/extracted.

Endless possibilities :).


You can use qpdf as pdftk is not available on ubuntu bionic by default any more: find . -name '*.pdf' -type f -exec bash -c 'qpdf --empty --pages "$0" 3-10 -- "temp/${0%.pdf}_1.pdf"' {} \;

This will put the new pdf's into temp folder.

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