Jul 6, 2012

Making Two-Sided PDFs with a Single-Sided Scanner

The Canon Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) on my MP-830 is pretty good, has the capability of scanning double-sided pages into a PDF document. However, I was having trouble scanning a large, dog-eared document - it kept jamming after a few pages. I could still scan single-sided pages OK, but that only got me every other page in the document. What to do?
Use the wonderful pdftk, available here for most OS platforms.
The process is as follows:
  1. Scan the ODD pages first, just putting the document through the ADF in the normal reading order. Face up, this will be a stack like: Page 1, 3, 5, .... etc. Save the resulting file as something like doc_odd.pdf
  2. Scan the EVEN pages next. Take the document and TURN IT OVER, so the last page is on TOP. Take the last page and start a new stack with the EVEN side face up. Stack the EVEN pages one-by-one on top of this stack. For example, if you have a 40 page document, page 40 will be on the bottom of this stack, then 38, 36, etc. up to page 2 on the top. It's actually easier to do than describe... Put this stack through the scanner and name the file doc_even.pdf
  3. Put both of the new PDF documents in the same directory
  4. Burst the pages for each of the documents and merge them with the following code:
pdftk doc_odd.pdf burst output doc_pg%04d_A.pdf
pdftk doc_even.pdf burst output doc_pg%04d_B.pdf
pdftk doc_pg*.pdf cat output final_merged_doc_name.pdf
The pages will be combined in the order of: 1A/1B, 2A/2B and so on, giving the correct odd/even ordering.

There is a script for this documented here.

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