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Thread: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

  1. #1
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    Default Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    I spent several days trying to find a way to edit scanned and downloaded PDF documents. I looked at most of the applications mentioned in the recent thread, which is the easiest pdf tool.

    In addition, I tried gocr, the open source Optical Character Recognition application, which warned that it was in development and did not work.

    Along the way, I happened upon this link Make Gadgets Work !!!: How to edit PDF in Linux - The easy way. in an older OpenSUSE forum thread that I can't find now. It caused me to look at Calibre more carefully.

    It is billed as an e-book organizer and reader but the Calibre's file conversion features are truly amazing.

    By converting PDF to a .odt (Libre Office Writer) file, I can edit it any way I want and then convert it back to PDF or any one of the other formats. They do warn that PDF is a poor format to work with, but I had very few problem and the learning curve was not steep.

    This opens all kinds of new possibilities in my mind. For example, I have copies of the owner manuals for my BlackBerry, FujiFilm Camera several other things on my Kindle in PDF format. The problem is that the PDF files do not scale and are too small to read when I need them. By converting them to an e-book format (like Mobi), they become easily readable and searchable on my Kindle or Blackberry.

    Anyone who needs to work with PDF documents should take a second look at Calibre as a file converter instead of an e-book library/reader.

    Cordially,
    TwoHoot




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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    On 2012-01-19 17:16, TwoHoot wrote:
    >
    > I spent several days trying to find a way to edit scanned and downloaded
    > PDF documents. I looked at most of the applications mentioned in the
    > recent thread, 'which is the easiest pdf tool'
    > (http://tinyurl.com/723av8n).


    I know this is an old thread, but it just came into my radar because a
    spammer added a post to it. It was deleted but it caused me to read your
    post, which I find interesting :-)

    > Along the way, I happened upon this link'Make Gadgets Work !!!: How to
    > edit PDF in Linux - The easy way.' (http://tinyurl.com/3enrhdd) in an
    > older OpenSUSE forum thread that I can't find now. It caused me to look
    > at Calibre more carefully.
    >
    > It is billed as an e-book organizer and reader but the 'Calibre's file
    > conversion'
    > (http://manual.calibre-ebook.com/cli/...#ebook-convert)
    > features are truly amazing.


    I did not know that.


    > By converting PDF to a .odt (Libre Office Writer) file, I can edit it
    > any way I want and then convert it back to PDF or any one of the other
    > formats. They do warn that PDF is a poor format to work with, but I had
    > very few problem and the learning curve was not steep.


    The problem with PDFs in ebook readers is that they do not reflow to
    adapt to the screen size and the magnification you use. If you magnify
    the page to read it better, you have to move it up/dn/left/right to see
    it all, which is uncomfortable. Thus epub is a better format for these
    small displays.

    But a kindle device does not read epubs, I understand.


    > This opens all kinds of new possibilities in my mind. For example, I
    > have copies of the owner manuals for my BlackBerry, FujiFilm Camera
    > several other things on my Kindle in PDF format. The problem is that the
    > PDF files do not scale and are too small to read when I need them.


    Exactly, just what I meant.

    > By
    > converting them to an e-book format (like MobiPocketReader), they become
    > easily readable and searchable on my Kindle or Blackberry.
    >
    > Anyone who needs to work with PDF documents should take a second look
    > at Calibre as a file converter instead of an e-book library/reader.


    Interesting. Thanks :-)

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 12.1 x86_64 "Asparagus" at Telcontar)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    On Wed, 17 Apr 2013 13:23:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:

    > The problem with PDFs in ebook readers is that they do not reflow to
    > adapt to the screen size and the magnification you use.


    It depends on the PDF. Some PDFs do reflow properly (at least on my
    Nook) - there's a PDF setting to allow this when a PDF is created.

    Jim
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    openSUSE Forums Administrator
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    On 2013-04-17 17:46, Jim Henderson wrote:
    > On Wed, 17 Apr 2013 13:23:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:
    >
    >> The problem with PDFs in ebook readers is that they do not reflow to
    >> adapt to the screen size and the magnification you use.

    >
    > It depends on the PDF. Some PDFs do reflow properly (at least on my
    > Nook) - there's a PDF setting to allow this when a PDF is created.


    Interesting.

    But unusual: typically you create a PDF when you want the recipient to
    see the document in the same exact manner (layout) as you see it.

    By the way: some of the doc.opensuse.org files are also available as epubs.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 12.1 x86_64 "Asparagus" at Telcontar)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    On Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:48:05 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:

    > On 2013-04-17 17:46, Jim Henderson wrote:
    >> On Wed, 17 Apr 2013 13:23:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:
    >>
    >>> The problem with PDFs in ebook readers is that they do not reflow to
    >>> adapt to the screen size and the magnification you use.

    >>
    >> It depends on the PDF. Some PDFs do reflow properly (at least on my
    >> Nook) - there's a PDF setting to allow this when a PDF is created.

    >
    > Interesting.
    >
    > But unusual: typically you create a PDF when you want the recipient to
    > see the document in the same exact manner (layout) as you see it.


    My experience is mixed with that - for example, I subscribe to Linux
    Format magazine, and my Nook's built-in reader will read the PDFs, but if
    I change the font size, it reflows but loses the formatting.

    > By the way: some of the doc.opensuse.org files are also available as
    > epubs.


    That's cool, I didn't know that.

    Jim



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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    On 2013-04-18 02:43, Jim Henderson wrote:
    > On Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:48:05 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:



    > My experience is mixed with that - for example, I subscribe to Linux
    > Format magazine, and my Nook's built-in reader will read the PDFs, but if
    > I change the font size, it reflows but loses the formatting.


    Ah... it probably keeps the line ends.


    >> By the way: some of the doc.opensuse.org files are also available as
    >> epubs.

    >
    > That's cool, I didn't know that.


    Yes, they did it some time by year end. Or I noticed it then :-)

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 12.1 x86_64 "Asparagus" at Telcontar)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    On Thu, 18 Apr 2013 01:33:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:

    >> My experience is mixed with that - for example, I subscribe to Linux
    >> Format magazine, and my Nook's built-in reader will read the PDFs, but
    >> if I change the font size, it reflows but loses the formatting.

    >
    > Ah... it probably keeps the line ends.


    Paragraph markers, yes - CR/LF, no - that's not "reflow".

    That's, of course, if it's set up for reflow properly. If you import
    into ooimpress (which always struck me as an odd import target), the each
    line gets treated as a separate text box (usually, in my experience), and
    that won't reflow properly at all.

    Jim

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Calibre File Conversions (including PDF)

    But a kindle device does not read epubs, I understand.
    That is true, and was a reason for me not to buy a kindle for a long time. However, since the kindle had the best utility/price ratio for my purposes and thanks to the amazing capabilities of calibre I eventually bought it nonetheless.

    With respect to OCR I use gscan2pdf with the tesseract backend or "pdf-xchange viewer" via wine (this is a commercial - closed source program, but is a bit faster, works fine under wine and offers a lot of the acrobat professional functionality for a much more reasonable price), but I sure will give calibre a try if it supports Greek and German.

    For converting .odt or .doc files to mobi, I use a plugin for Libreoffice to convert them to epub and then calibre to get them on the kindle.
    Main box: OpenSuse 12.3)/KDE 4.10 64bit
    Older Box: OpenSuse 12.2/KDE 4.8.5 64bit (my mediabox)
    Laptop: Debian Wheezy/KDE 4.8.4 64bit

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