I have hundreds of PDF files that I would like to browse through rather rapidly while viewing them at (nearly) full-screen, preferably while zoomed in to a particular area. What I need is the functionality that eog has for bitmaps: to look at the PDF, press , and switch immediately to the next PDF, preferably while keeping the viewing coordinates (e.g. zoom in lower left part of the PDF). Each PDF has one page and contains a data visualisation.

One option would be to convert all the PDFs to PNG, then use eog. This is suboptimal, because it will turn the pages into bitmaps. Another option would be to merge them all into one big file. This is suboptimal, because each individual file is 1.8 MiB, and I'm going to have many hundreds of files. I could choose some hybrid solution. However, my question is: is it possible to browse through the individual PDFs directly? I'm on Ubuntu.

The solution presented in Quickly view PDF files in directory is not useful for me, because the preview will be too small.

  • 2
    Did you find a solution to this? I do not need to zoom to a particular position, but zooming to full-screen would be important. – Exocom Sep 1 '15 at 7:52
  • @Exocom I did not. – gerrit Sep 7 '15 at 11:07
  • Arrived at the very problem you were posting here. No solution yet :/ – Ralf Hildebrandt Oct 16 '18 at 12:48

I am in the same need when I produce multiple plots and graphs (with R typically) that I want to be .pdf for resolution and for LaTeX integration.

I may have 3 suggestions, the 1st being the one I like the most (just found it and really excited about it).

  1. impressive

    • Install it:

      sudo apt-get install impressive
    • Then, from a terminal in your directory:

      impressive -T0 -w *.pdf
    • It will display a presentation of your pdf files. the -T0 option removes transitions (or, equivalently, -t None), and the -w wraps the presentation (you can return to 1st slide from the last one).

      You may want to use the -f switch to avoid starting in fullscreen mode (anyway you can toggle to fullscreen hitting the "f" key).

      For zooming, position your mouse where you want to zoom in, and hit "z".

Now, to relate to your question, it unfortunately doesn't keep the viewing position, and the zoom feature is limited. Otherwise, I believe it is better to use impressive than merging into one file, in terms of memory usage.

  1. Here is a quick fix using mupdf and a bash script: Is there a way to quickly browse multiple pdfs in a directory?

  2. Otherwise I am just discovering the great Zathura pdf reader, it's highly customizable, I suspect there might be a way to write a plugin and bind keys to switch to the next pdf.

| improve this answer | |

Crop things out using Ghostscript as described in this StackOverflow question,
Cropping a PDF using Ghostscript 9.01

Update on your comment.
I suggest that you batch-crop your PDFs and then get exactly the parts you want to see.

| improve this answer | |
  • I can crop, but will this let me browse through many PDFs? – gerrit Jun 17 '13 at 15:40

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