I have an ebook I'm trying to read in PDF format on a Kindle. Unfortunately, the page headers and footers have some content (page number and copyright info, respectively) preventing the device from scaling the actual text to match its usable area viewing area, thus leaving the actual content too small to read.

Various tools are available which will trim off whitespace, but the Kindle already does this; my goal, by contrast, is to remove printed matter outside of a defined bounding box, and the only tool I've found for the purpose is moderately expensive commercial software.

I could probably generate a mask in Inkscape; split out the individual pages using pdftk, apply the mask to each page individually (outputting to postscript), and recombine the numerous postscript files into a single PDF. However, this decode/reencode steps would be pretty unfortunate in terms of document size; something able to operate with a bit more finesse would be ideal.

I have all major operating systems handy (Windows, several modern Linux distros, a Mac, etc) so solutions don't need to be constrained by platform.


(I've reported the issue to the author, who mentioned it to his editor, who hasn't done anything about the issue over the course of more than a month, making the zero-work approach evidently nonproductive).

7 Answers 7


Try BRISS. Free, open source and cross-platform. There's a nice discussion of it at the MobileRead forums.

  • 1
    Unreal! great program
    – Fidel
    Dec 23, 2012 at 21:09
  • Opened pdf, it auto selected the area to be cropped, saved to new file with adding _cropped to the file name, basically i did nothing - awesome app! Sep 16, 2015 at 14:05
  • This tool preserves all PDF vector-graphics ==> Zooming in works like before cropping. Exactly what I needed.
    – kiltek
    Nov 13, 2015 at 15:51
  • The controls of this app are a bit cumbersome, however it's really very useful. It also preserves the comments (highlights, underlines etc) in the document. Awesome! A great help for reading PDF documents on tablets. Nov 13, 2015 at 18:34
  • 1
    Briss is excellent in that it works automatically and almost always does a good job. On Linux machines, you may get the result with one short command in few seconds with "briss myfile.pdf". Just add the following line to your ~/.bashrc file, adapting it to the installation directory of briss: briss() { java -jar ~/bin/briss-0.9/briss-0.9.jar -s "$1" ; }
    – dominecf
    Jul 22, 2017 at 16:54

As mentionned in other answer, BRISS is great. Another really handy tool is k2pdfopt (http://www.willus.com/k2pdfopt/). This tool is really great to take a pdf and optimise them for the Kindle (or any device with smaller screen). It works really great for scientific 2 colums paper since it reflow the text while keeping the equation and images.


As was already pointed out k2pdfopt is a great tool.

If you do not mind jailbreaking your Kindle (and possibly voiding your warranty) there is also the option of using this tool directly on your reader. This is implemented by three forks of the same software package:

  • Kindle PDF viewer is the original and supports Kindles with Keyboard (designed for Kindle 3).
  • Kindle Open Reader supports touch devices (Kindles and newly also Kobo)
  • Librerator supports non-touch Kindles (including Kindle 4)

They deal with multiple columns, allow reflow of text and change of font size. They even manage not to destroy scientific formulas and images when reflowing.

At this time there are minor problems like missing spaces between two words of a line jump, but I consider them unproblematic. Maybe they get fixed in one of the next versions.


You can use ScanTailor for a more powerful tool. This tool not only automatically trims margins, but also be able to add more (in case someone arrives to this question for the latter). Below is the content of its wiki page Page Layout:

At this stage you may adjust the margins added to the content box. There are two types of margins - hard and soft.

Hard margin - is that between the solid lines. They are set by the user. You can either move over any solid line, be it an inner or outer edge, or set the margins through numerical values.

Soft margin - is that between the solid and the dotted line. These margins are automatically added to bring the page size to the same size of other pages. If you see a dotted line - this means that somewhere in the project there is a page with that width (usable area of Hard + margin), and (possibly others) with that height.

This is one big page causing the soft margins in all the other pages, if only for not leveling them off.

Optional alignment is precisely defined, add a soft margin, and if you add, then with any of the parts.

  • 1
    It doesn't seem to work for PDF files
    – Oleksiy
    Mar 7, 2018 at 21:36
  • Well yes, you have to export it to images first
    – Ooker
    Mar 8, 2018 at 1:36
  • 1
    And then convert them back to PDF. That's an overkill, especially for PDFs with hundreds of pages, like books and textbooks.
    – Oleksiy
    Mar 8, 2018 at 22:23
  • @Oleksiy well, overkill or not is depended on your need after all. If you just need Notepad, then surely Word is an overkill. But then some people realize that Notepad is not good enough for them. It is because of having to deal with books and textbooks that I need this tool
    – Ooker
    Mar 9, 2018 at 3:48

I too had this problem with my 1200 page scanned (non-English) PDF. All the tools including Adobe Acrobat (IX to XI) failed to trim the surrounding white space. The margin of odd page differed from that in even pages. To make this worse, the size of the margin was inconsistent. As @frabjous pointed out, Briss did help. However when all pages in the document was overlapped, it was observed that a crop cannot be applied as there was no overall effective white space at all (due to inconsistent margins)

The only solution was then for me to split the PDF document into individual pages, run it through Briss to remove margins and recombine. The steps I followed are:

  1. I split this document to individual pages with Adobe Acrobat IX by clicking Document->Split document which opened the following dialog:enter image description here This action created 1200 individual PDF files.
  2. Then I created a batch file with following content:for %%d in (*.*) do "C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre6\bin\java" -jar "C:\Users\VM\Desktop\briss-0.9\briss-0.9\briss-0.9.jar" -s %%d
  3. Placed this batch file in the same place where the 1200 PDF files are placed and ran the batch file.
  4. Again, I used Adobe Acrobat IX to join all the PDF files to one single file and voila, I had a PDF with all its pages with minimum white margins which was now damn easy to read in tablet.

Tip: In the above said content of the batch file, I basically run a FOR loop and take each PDF file and pass it to Briss to automatically crop the PDF. Depending on

  1. where the Briss is installed (and architecture of the computer i.e. x86 or x64).
  2. where the Java Run Time Environment is installed.
  3. Java run time environment can be downloaded free from here

Reading PDFs on a Kindle is not ideal. An ideal way is to convert the PDF files into a format that the Kindle will recognise using MobiCreator to convert PDF files into .prc files for the Amazon Kindle.

1. Download and install the FULL version of Mobipocket Creator from the link below. (If you opt for the simpler version, it won’t have the PDF conversion option.)


2. When Mobipocket Creator is running, select Adobe PDF under Import From Existing File

3. Choose the PDF file you want to convert

4. Leave the rest alone unless you want to change your destination folder and click Import

5. Select the html file that was just created and click Build from the toolbar at the top of Mobipocket Creator

6. Click Build (you will most likely get a few errors but I just ignore them)

7. Go to your destination folder, open the folder that was created with your publication

8. Copy the .prc file into the Documents folder of your Kindle via the USB cable (if you want it delivered wirelessly, you’ll have to email it to yourself and pay 10 cents)

One of the major difficulties of reading PDF files on the Kindle is the lack of a Table of Contents so you can’t skip around very easily.

There is however a function on Mobipocket Creator for creating a Table of Contents.

  • The device is actually a Kindle DX; it does have a built-in PDF reader, and is sufficiently large-format that my documents are fine with their margins trimmed. Feb 5, 2013 at 13:46
  • @CharlesDuffy Fine, less hassle then. Thx for informing me, hoped it worked out
    – Simon
    Feb 5, 2013 at 14:02

The closest solution I found was an online program https://pdfresizer.com/crop ... if anyone knows of a similar computer program please let me know.

  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. - From Review
    – Toto
    Jul 29, 2022 at 9:23
  • Welcome to SuperUser! How is this better than the accepted answer? Jul 29, 2022 at 10:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .