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Old 02-21-2008, 01:13 AM   #1
mflood
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Which program for double column PDFs?

'Lo everyone, just poppin' in again to try to get some help with a book conversion. Or two or three, as the case may be. I have a few ebooks in the obnoxious double column format, y'see. In other words, a few of my shorter ebooks have two book pages on one PDF page. Text from top to bottom on the left hand side, space in the middle, text from top to bottom on the right hand side. You get the idea. Anyway, this unfortunately confounds the default settings on poor libPRS500, which results in randomly interlaced lines, and a very unreadable product.

So, you brilliant denizens of the Sony board, you: Is there a program that will properly convert two column PDF files to a readable format? Assuming so, what might it be, and what are the proper settings for this sexy beast?

Thank you kindly in advance.
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Old 02-21-2008, 04:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mflood View Post
Is there a program that will properly convert two column PDF files to a readable format?
I am afraid, that it would be very difficult to find such program. Pdf file does not have any informatiuon about text as such. All it knows is where each individual character is placed.

When I needed to extract text from such pdf file I used following procedure.

0. Install Ghostscript (it is needed by GhostView)
1. install gsview. Instalation files for Ghostscript and gsview are at http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/gsview/
2. open pdf in GhostView and convert it to bitmap
3. Run the resulting bunch of bitmaps through an OCR program. I have received decent OCR program as a bundle with HP multifunction printer/scanner/fax that my company purchased

I now. It is complicated. I just needed the text for work related purposes and I did not like the prospect of typing it, or copying and pasting small chunks of text from Acrobat Reader and those were tools I had at hand in a hurry ;-)
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Old 02-21-2008, 04:35 AM   #3
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Wow.

...huh. Complicated is right. I hope there's a better way, because if there's not, I'm thinking I may just have to re-evaluate how vital it is that I read these books.

Thanks muchly for the reply, but of course if anyone knows of an easier way, that'd be great.
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Old 02-21-2008, 05:40 AM   #4
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copy paste, column for column, page for page.
That's what I did when I got a PDF "proof" of a book a friend of mine wrote, and I wanted to convert it to mobipocket. Boring, dull work.
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Old 02-21-2008, 05:55 AM   #5
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Only the first book is complicated.
Once you have the tools installed, and you know what bitmap export the pdf to, then it is about 3 minutes of your work per book. The conversion, of course might need more than 5 minutes of *computer* time, but you can do something else in the meanwhile. Like check mobileread.com to see what is new, or, even better, read some book ;-)

EDIT:
this also works for tables and other text with much more complicated layout than just standard multi column prose.
I have once extracted a complicated, man pages spanning table from the pdf this way.

Last edited by kacir; 02-21-2008 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:14 AM   #6
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Fortunately it is very easy with the right tool (it considers the pdf as images, so later there is no possibility to enlarge the font)

Use the program pdflrf with the double column setting (from the GUI or from the comman line). The program is available at http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13135
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:56 AM   #7
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I'm working on greatly improving the PDF conversion in libprs500. It should handle multicolumn text, when it's done.
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Old 02-21-2008, 05:15 PM   #8
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Godel,

Thank you! I'll give that a try, and see how things turn out. I'm sure it'll look great. If not I'll wait for Kovid to update libPRS500, and just. . .read something else in the meantime. Thanks to you both and I appreciate the help very much. *is looking forward to Kovid's update*

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Old 02-22-2008, 11:02 AM   #9
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Hello ... I have been able to convert two column pages (like the bible) with PDFLRF. It has a option called '2 column' and it works perfect.

Give it a try.
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Old 02-22-2008, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
I'm working on greatly improving the PDF conversion in libprs500. It should handle multicolumn text, when it's done.
Any chance it will handle embedded tables and insets, too? See the following link for an example of something I'd like to be able to convert (I don't care at all about the images in the files, just getting all the text).
http://www.valueinvestorinsight.com/...-Issue_105.pdf
Probably asking a lot trying to convert that file, but there's no harm in asking

Regardless, I'm greatly looking forward to the update.

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Old 02-22-2008, 07:58 PM   #11
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Tables are no can do. And no that PDF is way too complex.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:27 PM   #12
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Your best bet at the moment is to give pdflrf a try and see how it works.
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Old 02-23-2008, 02:55 AM   #13
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I use mobipocket creator to make html from pdf. I have found that it makes some of the best conversion possible. Maybe you should give it a try.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:13 PM   #14
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There are specialty-tools which will convert a .pdf to .rtf which can then be loaded into Word and cleaned up --- SolidPDF is one w/ which I've had good success.

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