Update: The author of pdftk, Sid Steward, left the following comment:

A new version of pdftk is available (1.43) that fixes many bugs. This release also features an installer [for] OS X 10.6. Please visit to learn more and download: www.pdflabs.com.

This blog post will stick around for the time being, but I (the author of this blog) advise you to always run the latest version so that you can enjoy the latest bug fixes.

OS X Leopard users: Sorry, neither this version nor the installer offered on pdflabs.com works on OS X before 10.6. You might be able to compile from source though. Let us know if you are successful.


Due to my being a remote employee, I get to juggle with PDF files quite a bit. A great tool for common PDF manipulations (changing page order, combining files, rotating pages etc) has proven to be pdftk. Sadly, a current version for Mac OS X is not available on their homepage. In addition, it is annoying (to say the least) to compile, which is why all three third-party package management systems that I know of (MacPorts, fink, as well as homebrew), last time I checked, did not have it at all, or their versions were broken.

Now I wouldn’t be a geek if that kept me from compiling it myself. I took some hints from anoved.net who was nice enough to also provide a compiled binary, but sadly did not include the shared libraries it relies on.

Instead, I made an installer package that’ll install pdftk itself as well as the handful of libraries you need into /usr/local. Once you ran this, you can open Terminal.app, and typing pdftk should greet you as follows:

$ pdftk
SYNOPSIS
       pdftk <input PDF files | - | PROMPT>
            [input_pw <input PDF owner passwords | PROMPT>]
            [<operation> <operation arguments>]
            [output <output filename | - | PROMPT>]
            [encrypt_40bit | encrypt_128bit]
(...)

You can download the updated package here: pdftk1.41_OSX10.6.dmg

(MD5 hash: ea945c606b356305834edc651ddb893d)

I only tested it on OS X 10.6.2, if you use it on older versions, please let me know in the comments if it worked.

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