Combining PDFs via the Command Line: Efficiency in Consolidation

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a widely recognized document format known for preserving content layout. There are times when individuals or professionals need to consolidate multiple PDFs into one, and while graphical tools are abundant, the command line provides an efficient and scriptable alternative for this task.

Why Combine PDFs from the Command Line?

Popular Tools for Combining PDFs via CLI

Several software solutions offer command line interfaces for merging PDFs. Here are some of the most recognized:

Combining PDFs Using pdftk

To merge PDFs with pdftk, use the following syntax:

pdftk file1.pdf file2.pdf cat output combined.pdf

This command takes file1.pdf and file2.pdf, merges them, and outputs the result to combined.pdf.

Combining PDFs Using Ghostscript

Ghostscript provides a slightly more complex, but powerful way to combine PDFs:

gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=combined.pdf file1.pdf file2.pdf

This command will produce a merged PDF named combined.pdf from the input files.

Considerations when Combining PDFs


Merging PDFs via the command line is a robust, flexible, and efficient approach, especially for those comfortable with CLI operations or those in need of automation. As with any task, understanding the tools and their parameters will ensure the best results.