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Merges PDF files into one using a YAML configuration file.

Project description

A simple, easy-to-script tool for merging multiple PDF files into one document using a YAML configuration file.

The program is written in Python, using the PyPDF4 library.


There are many good utilities for splitting and merging PDF files. For instance, if you prefer one with a GUI, PDF Arranger is a good choice. However, I had slightly different requirements: * Composing several documents from a similar set of files, but each time with slight modifications. * Creating a structure of bookmarks, so that it is easier to navigate the larger document. * Original PDF features such as hyperlinks and the page orientation should remain intact.


  • Simple YAML configuration file structure

  • Adding PDF metadata

  • Creating bookmarks, also with nested structures

  • Checking the version of merged PDF files and setting the minimum in the output PDF



This program requires Python 3.6+.


Download and install from


The best is to use Homebrew and install using

brew install python


Install Python using your distribution’s package manager. Usually the package is named python3.

Virtual environment

It is not strictly required but strongly advised to create a virtual environment for installing Python packages for a specific purpose.

Create one in any preferred location using

virtualenv -p python3 pdfconfig

The last argument can also be changed if preferred. Then activate the new environment:

source pdfconfig/bin/activate

Installing this tool

pip install pdf-config


Configuration file

A configuration file is set up in YAML syntax with the following components:

metadata:  # Optional
  title: My document title
  author: ME
  # Additionally supported:
  # creator, keywords, producer, subject

  # Hard-coded version to set in the header. Set to 'auto' or leave out
  # entirely for using the maximum version of all input documents.
  version: '1.6'

paths:  # Optional
  # List of paths to look up any files that do not contain a path
  # specification. The current directory is checked first, then the following
  # directories are checked in that order.
  - ~/my-pdfs  # User home directory can be referred to.
  - $ADDITIONAL_PDF_PATH  # Environment variables are also supported.

contents:  # The only required element
  # Each list entry can contain any of the following:
  # bookmark: The bookmark title
  # document: The name (and path) of the input file.
  # contents: An additional list of contents. Any bookmarks in this sub-structure
  #   are placed under this bookmark, if present.

  - bookmark: First
    document: first.pdf
  - bookmark: Second
      - bookmark: Second doc 1
        document: sd1.pdf
      - bookmark: Second doc 2
        document: sd2.pdf
  - bookmark: Third
    document: ~/pdfpath/third.pdf  # Relative and absolute paths are supported.
      - bookmark: Third doc 1
        document: $PDF_T1  # Environment variables are also expanded.
      - bookmark: Third doc 2
        document: $PDF_T2

The order of metadata, paths, and contents above is not relevant. The resulting PDF bookmark structure will be

| |-Second doc 1
| |-Second doc 2
  |-Third doc 1
  |-Third doc 2

Second points to the same page as Second doc 1, whereas Third and Third doc 1 point to different pages, since Third inserts pages on its own.


With the configuration stored in sample.yaml and the PDF files in place, start the merging process by running

pdfconfig sample.yaml

This will merge the listed PDF files into sample.pdf. For changing the output name, simply append it to the end of the line; e.g. run

pdfconfig sample.yaml path/to/output.pdf

In Windows, use pdfconfig.exe.

For more explanation, run

pdfconfig -- --help

Project details

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pdf-config-1.0.0.tar.gz (7.6 kB view hashes)

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