CTAN Comprehensive TeX Archive Network

Directory support/pdfcrop



Version: 2023/04/15 v1.42


  1. Description
  2. Copyright, Disclaimer, License
  3. Files
  4. Requirements
  5. Installation
  6. User Interface
  7. Restricted Mode
  8. Author
  9. Acknowledgement
  10. Questions, Suggested Improvements
  11. Known Problems
  12. History
  13. ToDo


PDFCROP takes a PDF file as input, calculates the BoundingBox for each page by the help of ghostscript and generates a output PDF file with removed margins.


Copyright (C) 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008-2012 Heiko Oberdiek. 2020-2023 Oberdiek Package Support Group

Project Public License, version 1.3c or later.


The project pdfcrop consists of two files:

pdfcrop.pl: This perl script is the main program. The extension .pl may be omitted.
README.md: Documentation, the file you are reading.

Following temporary files are produced if pdfcrop is invoked:

tmp-pdfcrop-*.tex: input file for pdf, luatex or xetex
tmp-pdfcrop-*.log: log file of pdf, luatex or xetex run
tmp-pdfcrop-*.pdf: result after pdf, luatex or xetex run

The temporary files are deleted after the run unless the --debug option is used.


  • Perl5 (version 5 of the perl interpreter)
  • Ghostscript (>= 8.0 if PDF file contains rotated pages)
  • pdf, version >= 1.0 (because of page selecting and pdfximage syntax) or or Lua.


Normally pdfcrop will be installed by the system.

If a manual installation is needed

1. Perl script pdfcrop.pl:

TDS 1.1 location (TDS means "texmf" tree, see CTAN:tds/tds.pdf):

  • TDS:scripts/pdfcrop/pdfcrop.pl
  • and a directory that is part of PATH contains a wrapper script or link with name "pdfcrop".


  • It is allowed to rename pdfcrop.pl to pdfcrop: mv pdfcrop.pl pdfcrop
  • Ensure that the execute permission is set: chmod +x pdfcrop
  • Move the file to a directory where the shell can find it (environment variable PATH, e.g. /usr/local/bin/).


  • See requirements. I do not expect that the perl script runs under DOS.

2. Restricted program version rpdfcrop

Generate links or install pdfcrop.pl again under the name rpdfcrop.

Prefer rpdfcrop if you want to add pdfcrop to the programs that may be executed in 's restricted shell escape mode. (This feature is added in Live 2009.) For Live (since 2009) see entry for shell_escape_commands in the configuration file texmf.cnf.

3. Documentation README.md:

Copy it to an appropriate place, for example /usr/local/share/doc/pdfcrop/README.md. It is allowed to rename it to pdfcrop.txt or pdfcrop.md.

TDS location:
somewhere below texmf/doc/... (?)


Live 2020 put it in TDS:doc/support/pdfcrop/README.md


  • ToDo: User manual
  • Online help: pdfcrop --help
  • Ghostscript's calculation of the bounding box is faster, if --resolution 72 is used instead of ghostscript's implicite default setting of 4000 DPI (hint from Ionut Georgescu). Of course the calculation with higher resolution settings are more accurate.


Restricted mode is enabled if:

  • option --restricted is used,
  • the program is called under the name rpdfcrop
  • or the called program name contains restricted.

This mode sets restrictions for the following options:

  • --pdftexcmd: if used, the value must be empty or pdftex.
  • --xetexcmd: if used, the value must be empty or xetex.
  • --luatexcmd: if used, the value must be empty or luatex.
  • --gscmd: if used, the value must
    • be empty or
    • be one of the standard names (gs, gswin32c, gswin64c, mgs, gs386, gsos2) or
    • consists of gs, followed by a version number and an optional c (Ghostscript's convention for console version).


Heiko Oberdiek
Email: heiko.oberdiek at googlemail.com
Oberdiek Package Support Group


Anthony Williams
Scott Pakin <pakin at uiuc.edu>
Ionut Georgescu
Yves J├Ąger
R (Chandra) Chandrasekhar
Christian Stapfer
David Menestrina
Karl Berry


If you have questions, problems with pdfcrop, error reports, if you have improvements or want to have additional features, please send them to the author or add an issue to https://github.com/ho-tex/pdfcrop

My environment for developing and testing:

  • linux, SuSE 9.0
  • perl v5.8.1
  • pdf 3.141592-1.40.x
  • Ghostscript 8.x


  • pdfcrop relies on Ghostscript for the calculation of the Bounding Box. If Ghostscript returns wrong values or cannot process the pdf file, it sometimes helps to try another version of Ghostscript.
  • Older (and pdf < 1.10a) does not allow the setting of the PDF version in a direct way. In this cases pdfcrop tries to fix the PDF version afterwards in the PDF header and warnings as the following can be safely ignored.
  •   ** WARNING ** Version of PDF file (1.6) is newer
                than version limit specification.


Version Notes
2002/10/30 v1.0: First release
2002/10/30 v1.1: Option --hires added.
2002/11/04 v1.2: "nul" instead of "/dev/null" for windows.
2002/11/23 v1.3: Use of File::Spec module's "devnull" call.
2002/11/29 v1.4: Option --papersize added.
2004/06/24 v1.5: Clear map file entries so that pdf does not touch the fonts.
2004/06/26 v1.6: Use mgs.exe instead of gswin32c.exe for MIKTEX.
2005/03/11 v1.7: Support of spaces in file names
(open("-|") is used for ghostscript call).
2008/01/09 v1.8: Fix for moving the temporary file to the output file across file system boundaries.
2008/04/05 v1.9: Options --resolution and --bbox added.
2008/07/16 v1.10: Support for added with new options --pdftex, --xetex, --xetexcmds.
2008/07/22 v1.11: Workaround for (open("-|").
2008/07/23 v1.12: Workarounds for the workaround (error detection, ...).
2008/07/24 v1.13: (open("-|")/ workaround removed.
Input files with unsafe file names are linked/copied to temporary file with safe file name.
2008/09/12 v1.14: Error detection for invalid Bounding Boxes.
2009/07/14 v1.15: Fix for negative coordinates in Bounding Boxes (David Menestrina).
2009/07/17 v1.16: Security fixes:
* -dSAFER added for Ghostscript,
* -no-shell-escape added for pdf/.
2009/07/17 v1.17: Security fixes:
* Backticks and whitespace are forbidden for options --gs, --pdftexcmd, --xetexcmd.
* Validation of options --papersize and --resolution.
2009/07/18 v1.18: * Restricted mode added.
* Option --version added.
2009/09/24 v1.19: * Ghostscript detection rewritten.
* Cygwin: gs is preferred to gswin32c.
2009/10/06 v1.20: * File name sanitizing in .tex file.
2009/12/21 v1.21: * Option --ini added for ini mode.
* Option --luatex and --luatexcmd added for Lua.
2009/12/29 v1.22: * Syntax description for option --bbox fixed (Lukas Prochazka).
2010/01/09 v1.23: * Options --bbox-odd and –bbox-even added.
2010/08/16 v1.24: * Workaround added for buggy ghostscript ports that print the BoundingBox data twice.
2010/08/26 v1.25: * Fix for the case that the PDF file contains an entry /CropBox different to /MediaBox.
* pageinclude implemented for .
* : --clip does not die, but this option is ignored, because always clip.
2010/08/26 v1.26: * 's pdffile expects keyword media, not mediabox.
* New option --pdfversion.
Default is auto that means the PDF version is inherited from the input file. Before pdfcrop has used the engine's default.
* Option --luatex fixed (extra empty page at end).
2010/09/03 v1.27: * Workaround of v1.24 fixed.
2010/09/06 v1.28: * The Windows registry is searched if Ghostscript is not found via PATH.
* Windows only: support of spaces in command names in unrestricted mode.
2010/09/06 v1.29: * Find the latest Ghostscript version in registry.
2010/09/15 v1.30: * Warning of pdf because of pdfobjcompresslevel avoided when reducing pdfminorversion.
* Fix for syntax characters in input file names.
2010/09/17 v1.31: * Passing the input file name via hex string to .
* Again input file names restricted for Ghostscript command line, switch then to symbol link/copy method.
2011/08/10 v1.32: * Detection for gswin64c.exe added.
2012/02/01 v1.33: * Input file can be - (standard input).
2012/04/18 v1.34: * Format of option --version changed from naked version number to a line with program name, date and version.
2012/10/15 v1.35: * Additional debug infos added for Perl version.
2012/10/16 v1.36: * More error codes added.
2012/10/16 v1.37: * Extended error messages if available.
* Fix for broken v1.36.
2012/11/02 v1.38: * Fix for unsufficient cleanup, if function cleanup is prematurely called in eval for symlink checking.
2020/05/24 v1.39: * adapted to pdfversion 2.0,
* corrected luatex support
* corrected a problem with xetex.
2020/06/06 v1.40: * improved ghostscript detection on windows when a bash is used
* added direct pdfversion support to xetex.
2023/04/13 v1.41: * allow gswin64c in restricted mode, fix typos in messages issues 14, 17
* add -q option, issue 7
* don't print whole help msg for unknown options, issue 7.
* do not create two pages with xetex, issue 3
2023/04/15 v1.42: * update help text issue 18

13. TODO

  • Description of user interface.
  • Documentation in other formats, eg. man or info pages.
  • Improved error checking.
  • Units support for option --margins.

Download the contents of this package in one zip archive (15.8k).

pdfcrop – Crop PDF graphics

A Perl script that can either trim pages of any whitespace border, or trim them of a fixed border.

Bug trackerhttps://github.com/ho-tex/pdfcrop/issues
Version1.42 2023-04-15
LicensesThe Project Public License 1.3c
Copyright2002, 2004, 2005, 2008–2011 Heiko Oberdiek
2020–2023 Oberdiek Package Support Group
MaintainerHeiko Oberdiek
Contained inTeX Live as pdfcrop
MiKTeX as pdfcrop
TopicsPDF process
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