I would like to print a PDF so that on the front of the first page are the first two pages, on the back the 3rd and 4th and so on.

-----------------          -----------------
|       |       |          |       |       |
|       |       |          |       |       |
|   1   |   2   |          |   3   |   4   |    . . .
|       |       |          |       |       |
|_______|_______|          |_______|_______|

 page 1 - front             page 1 - back

Because my printer using Linux fails to support manual duplex printing I'd thought, maybe I could edit the pdf in a according way.

But how?

  • I don't think that this is possible, do you only have the pdf? – Michael K Feb 15 '11 at 15:31
  • This is possible on Linux using pstops from the psutils package and/or pdftk. Which operating system are you running? – rems Feb 15 '11 at 15:31
  • @Ivo Flipse: har, i thought the exactly the same :) so, your comment gets a +1 as well. – akira Feb 15 '11 at 17:54
  • @Ivo Flipse, @rems: You can upvote more ASCII art here: superuser.com/questions/54054/… and superuser.com/questions/235074/… ... @mokasin: these links may give you an idea how to solve the task you asked for. – Kurt Pfeifle Mar 1 '11 at 22:05

In addition to what's been mentioned, PDFjam includes a command line tool, pdfnup which does this. (It makes use of the pdfpages package for PDFLaTeX underneath, which you can also use.)

If you prefer a GUI, jPDFtweak is another option.

  • Perfect. Just what I was looking for. – mokasin Feb 17 '11 at 10:56
  • 1
    Sample usage: pdfnup --nup 2x1 mypdf.pdf. This prints 2 pages side-by-side per sheet on a landscape view, to be printed flipped over the short edge. See man pdfnup for a few more details. – Gabriel Staples Nov 25 '18 at 0:18

Use pdfnup:

$ pdfnup file.pdf

This will create a new pdf file exactly like you asked for.

  • pdfnup shows the command line options used with pdfjam and so you can tweak from there. (ex: if you want to not have landscape. you can remove the --landscape option when calling pdfjam) – Trevor Boyd Smith Nov 4 '16 at 18:30
  • 6
    More exactly pdfnup --nup 2x1 --suffix test file.pdf will create a file-test.pdf with 2 pages in 1. – lolesque Nov 28 '16 at 18:12
  • 1
    sudo apt install texlive-extra-utils to install these utils on Ubuntu. – Sarke Aug 8 '18 at 1:39
  • I have a single page a4 I want to print in two copies of a5's per sheet. How do I accomplish this? The usage examples of 'pdfnup' above does not duplicate the first page, but instead makes the second a5-part of the first a4 sheet blank. – Nordlöw Mar 17 at 21:27

This is a question old enough to think that the options we have now were absent at the time, but maybe it deserves an up-to-date solution.

Linux pdf viewers usually use the printing options/properties to set the page layout, and there you can print multiple pages per sheet/side. The idea is to use those to print to file as PDF.

Evince can do it, also qpdfview. More here.


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PDF Studio Viewer

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Other pdf viewers must have similar options.


There are freeware & open source command line tools available to convert pdfs to reader's spreads, booklet spreads etc.

I lost the app I was using, so no help there, but a from a quick search I see a program called pdfshuffler ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfshuffler/ ) which might be what you need. Has a gui, so not likely to be automagical, but it is a front-end for another tool...


If you have the print to file facility. print to the file with two pages per page setting and with odd pages. repeat the process with even pages. Now print the odd ones, reverse the printed papers and print the even pages file.


@mokasin: You didn't say which PDF reader you're using. If you use the Linux version of Acrobat/Adobe Reader: there is an option to print "2-up" right in the print dialog. You can also choose to only print the odd or even pages, so combining this will help you to achieve your desired output.


This software I tested on Solaris 11.2 operating system can create that scheme which is called 2-up, usually used for hand-out at classrooms or meetings. It is possible to produce other schemes; for example, hand-out with 3 or 4 or more pages on one sheet or both sides of a sheet. It can be run from a terminal as it is a JAR file or just run the GUI for ease of access. Besides Solaris other Linux distributions are also compatible, running the software, as "executable," with super-user privileges. Be aware not using "Open the Archive." It is also working on any Windows and Mac where there is already a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed, as is the case most of the time. Software is Dysprosium Imposition and is free to download and to use.

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