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Splitting pdfs

David Jondreau

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A client stores pdfs in the Quote table. The pdfs are received as e-mails. Sometimes the pdfs are received with multiple quotes in one document. The client then has to open them and print to pdf for each page.

Is there a way to automate this, Filemaker does the splitting?

Applescript solutions welcome.

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There are AppleScript methods to convert PDFs to text, if you can go that route. I've also messed about testing PDF splitters; and it's a mixed bag. There are command line tools, some Java, some Python. But the older one I had does not work anymore in Snow Leopard, due to the 64 bit; nor did want to mess about changing Python to run in 32 bit more. I ain't that kind of programmer. If anyone here knows a web link to a good tool of any kind for splitting PDFs, please share.

There is a built-in Automator action, to render each page as an image. But it creates files that each one is bigger than the original multi-page file; and the text is no longer selectable. That's just nuts. Next I tried the freeware app Skim. It creates very nice files, pretty small. The only downside is that it is going to have to open that multi-page file, and flash a bit. But it is fast, especially as you're only doing small files. It can do 6 pages in a second.

I'm writing the files to a fixed folder on the Desktop. But you could change that to wherever. I'm just naming the files "1_page.pdf", "2_page.pdf", etc.. But you could do more if you want. You can see where I did that. Be sure to leave the parenthesis around it (or it will get split into a list). I'm also choosing the file to split, so it could be anywhere.

I just added a line to tell app "System Events" (bulit-in background app for many things) to do the "write" commands; which are in a subroutine. FileMaker does not like those commands within its own tell block (which is implied if you run a FileMaker Perform AppleScript script step); someone else has to do it. You can also use "Finder", but that's not best practice (on long operations especially, ties up the Finder).

P.S. The AppleScript will run as is in any FileMaker file, Perform AppleScript (Native) script step. You may want to read FileMaker fields for names, of folders/files, move/delete files, etc..

set DT to path to desktop as text

set dest_folder to (DT & "PDFs_Split:")

set file_to_split to choose file of type ("com.adobe.pdf") with prompt "Choose a PDF file to split"

-- leaving the original as is; but you could do whatever with it (afterwards; if splitting works :-)

tell application "Skim"


open file_to_split

tell document 1

set pages_ to get pages

set counter to 0

repeat with p in pages_

set counter to counter + 1

set page_data to grab page counter

set file_path to (dest_folder & counter & "_page.pdf")

-- save the data to a file

my write_to_file(file_path, page_data)

end repeat


end tell

end tell

-- Write each page to its file path

-- Return a boolean value (false/true) (not using it, yet - FEJ)

on write_to_file(filepath, content)

tell application "System Events" -- needed for FileMaker (doesn't like "write" commands)


set fileobj to open for access filepath with write permission

write content to fileobj

close access fileobj

on error errmsg number errnum


close access fileobj

end try

-- return errmsg

return false

end try

end tell

return true

end write_to_file

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I doubt you want to hear this, but I'd be looking to get rid of the pdfs completely. What are they? Can data be gathered in a better form?

Whats the best way how can you get an ocr read without pdf, if better way means easy automated data collection?

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