I would like to convert source code of a few projects to one printable file to save on a usb and print out easily later. How can I do that?


First off I want to clarify that I only want to print the non-hidden files and directories(so no contents of .git e.g.).

To get a list of all non-hidden files in non-hidden directories in the current directory you can run the find . -type f ! -regex ".*/\..*" ! -name ".*" command as seen as the answer in this thread.

As suggested in that same thread I tried making a pdf file of the files by using the command find . -type f ! -regex ".*/\..*" ! -name ".*" ! -empty -print0 | xargs -0 a2ps -1 --delegate no -P pdf but unfortunately the resulting pdf file is a complete mess.

  • Don't know if it fits your need, but with a2ps -P file *.src you can produce postscript files out of your source code. But the PS files need to be converted and combined afterwards. – mpy May 29 '13 at 11:32
  • Using convert (linux.about.com/od/commands/l/blcmdl1_convert.htm, imagemagick) you should then be able to make one pdf from the ps files. – SBI May 29 '13 at 11:37
  • Can you comment, what you mean with "complete mess"? This (i.stack.imgur.com/LoRhv.png) looks not too bad to me, using a2ps -1 --delegate=0 -l 100 --line-numbers=5 -P pdf -- I added -l for 100 chars per row to prevent some word wraps and line numbers, but that's only personal preference. – mpy May 30 '13 at 14:53
  • For converting this project(4 non-empty non-hidden files each about a page long in non-hidden directories) to pdf I had about 5 pages of source code and 39 pages of gibberish. – Bentley4 May 30 '13 at 19:10

I was intrigued by your question and got kinda carried away. This solution will generate a nice PDF file with a clickable index and color highlighted code. It will find all files in the current directory and subdirectories and create a section in the PDF file for each of them (see the notes below for how to make your find command more specific).

It requires that you have the following installed (the install instructions are for Debian-based systems but these should be available in your distribution's repositories):

  • pdflatex, color and listings

    sudo apt-get install texlive-latex-extra latex-xcolor texlive-latex-recommended

    This should also install a basic LaTeX system if you don't have one installed.

Once these are installed, use this script to create a LaTeX document with your source code. The trick is using the listings (part of texlive-latex-recommended) and color (installed by latex-xcolor) LaTeX packages. The \usepackage[..]{hyperref} is what makes the listings in the table of contents clickable links.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

tex_file=$(mktemp) ## Random temp file name

cat<<EOF >$tex_file   ## Print the tex file header
\usepackage[usenames,dvipsnames]{color}  %% Allow color names
  language=C++,   %% Change this to whatever you write in
  breaklines=true, %% Wrap long lines


find . -type f ! -regex ".*/\..*" ! -name ".*" ! -name "*~" ! -name 'src2pdf'|
sed 's/^\..//' |                 ## Change ./foo/bar.src to foo/bar.src

while read  i; do                ## Loop through each file
    name=${i//_/\\_}             ## escape underscores
    echo "\newpage" >> $tex_file   ## start each section on a new page
    echo "\section{$i}" >> $tex_file  ## Create a section for each filename

   ## This command will include the file in the PDF
    echo "\lstinputlisting[style=customasm]{$i}" >>$tex_file
done &&
echo "\end{document}" >> $tex_file &&
pdflatex $tex_file -output-directory . && 
pdflatex $tex_file -output-directory .  ## This needs to be run twice 
                                           ## for the TOC to be generated    

Run the script in the directory that contains the source files

bash src2pdf

That will create a file called all.pdf in the current directory. I tried this with a couple of random source files I found on my system (specifically, two files from the source of vlc-2.0.0) and this is a screenshot of the first two pages of the resulting PDF:

enter image description here

A couple of comments:

  • The script will not work if your source code file names contain spaces. Since we are talking about source code, I will assume they don't.
  • I added ! -name "*~" to avoid backup files.
  • I recommend you use a more specific find command to find your files though, otherwise any random file will be included in the PDF. If your files all have specific extensions (.c and .h for example), you should replace the find in the script with something like this

    find . -name "*\.c" -o -name "\.h" | sed 's/^\..//' | 
  • Play around with the listings options, you can tweak this to be exactly as you want it.
  • 1
    Wow, that's what I call an answer! :) – mpy May 30 '13 at 14:50
  • 1
    OMG terdon, you owned that question ^^. To other people trying the script: if you run into src2pdf: line 36: warning: here-document at line 5 delimited by end-of-file (wanted EOF') when running the script you have to delete the whitespace on the EOF line in order for it to work. – Bentley4 May 30 '13 at 19:04
  • 1
    If your file is called src2pdf then insert ! -name "src2pdf" in the find line in the script like this find . -type f ! -regex ".*/\..*" ! -name "src2pdf" ! -name ".*" ! -name "*~" | to omit it in the pdf. – Bentley4 May 30 '13 at 19:45
  • 1
    @Bentley4 thanks! I removed the whitespace (it was added whern I pasted the script into the answer) and added the filter to remove the script itself from the find results (I had saved the script in another directory that was in my $PATH so I did not have that problem). Also, you can change the language used for the source files to have better markup by changing language=C++ to whatever you want, it can deal with many different languages, see here. – terdon May 30 '13 at 20:03
  • 1
    @qubodup I don't really know. LaTeX and UTF8 can be tricky. It should work with \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} \usepackage[german]{babel}` but it fails on my tests. However, I suspect I'm not feeding it true utf8. That might be worth its own question but I suggest you ask on TeX - LaTeX, they should know. – terdon May 8 '15 at 11:06

I know I'm waaaay too late, but somebody looking for a solution might find this useful.

Based on @terdon's answer, I have created a BASH script that does the job: https://github.com/eljuanchosf/source-code-to-pdf

  • Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill Jun 25 '16 at 10:26

(from StackOverflow)

for i in *.src; do echo "$i"; echo "---"; cat "$i"; echo ; done > result.txt

This will result a result.txt containing:

  • Filename
  • separator (---)
  • Content of .src file
  • Repeat from the top until all *.src files are done

If your source code have different extension, just change as needed. You can also edit the echo bit to add necessary information (maybe echo "filename $1" or change the separator, or add an end-of-file separator).

the link have other methods, so use whatever method you like best. I find this one to be most flexible, although it does come with a slight learning curve.

The code will run perfectly from a bash terminal (just tested on a VirtualBox Ubuntu)

If you don't care about filename and just care about content of files merged together:

cat *.src > result.txt

will work perfectly fine.

Another method suggested was:

grep "" *.src > result.txt

Which will prefix every single line with the filename, which can be good for some people, personally I find it too much information, hence why my first suggestion is the for loop above.

Credit to those in the StackOverflow forum people.

EDIT: I just realized that you are after specifically HTML or PDF as the end result, some solutions I've seen is to print the text file into PostScript and then convert postscript to PDF. Some code I've seen:

groff -Tps result.txt > res.ps


ps2pdf res.ps res.pdf 

(Requires you to have ghostscript)

Hope this helps.

  • This only works for files of a specific extension(.src) but I want every file to be put in that pdf regardless of extension. I do would like to omit non-hidden dirs and non-hidden files though. I edited the original post, could you take a look at it? – Bentley4 May 29 '13 at 17:40

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