In praise of pdftk and inkscape
To appease the utterly evil, capricious and monstrous gods of Italian bureaucracy, I needed to craft several PDF files to sacrifice to the altar of the Italian Certified Email.
Three of those PDFs (let's call them
C.pdf) are copies
of multi-page PDFs where I need to sign each page and then send them back.
One of them (let's say
C.pdf) needs to be signed on each page except the
last, which needs instead to be signed twice in two special blank spaces.
I have a transparent
png with my signature (let's call it
Let's start with
# Split C.pdf into single-page PDFs pdftk C.pdf burst # Edit a random page in inkscape, add a signature to the corner of the # page, delete the rest of the contents and save as signature.pdf inkscape pg_0001.pdf # Edit the last page in inkscape, add the signatures where needed, save # as pg_0005-signed.pdf inkscape pg_0005.pdf # Stamp the signatures all over all pages but the last one for f in pg_000[1-4].pdf do pdftk $f stamp signature.pdf output `basename $f .pdf`-signed.pdf done # Put it all together pdftk pg_000*-signed.pdf cat output C-signed.pdf
And now that I have
signature.pdf, I can easily process
pdftk A.pdf stamp signature.pdf output A-signed.pdf pdftk B.pdf stamp signature.pdf output B-signed.pdf
pdftk is much smarted than that, and it would have been able to extract a
single document with all pages of
C.pdf except the last one, but with Italian
bureaucracy it is painful enough to get the job done that afterwards one is
more likely to need eating chocolate to avoid depression, rather than to try
and redo it all again more elegantly.
So, there are times when bureaucracy calls for printing a pile of sheets, mindlessly sign them all, scan them again, shred them, plant a new tree, and then finally book a MRI scan of your wrist to assess the state of your carpal tunnel.