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Matt Roberts' Music Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How To Convert Two Images Into One PDF

After my Going Paperless - Reading Music Off A Computer post, I've had some request for a more detailed explination of how to create PDFs. This tutorial will assume that you are using Windows 7 and have installed the free Nitro PDF Reader. This example is going to involve combining two image files, but more or less the same approach would work with any program that has the option to print, such as Sibelius or Finale.

Okay, so let's say I have scanned a two-page chart, creating two separate image files. I want to convert these two seperate files into a single two-page PDF file so that I can read the music easily on my computer. Here is how I do it.  For this example, I will be combining two pages of a chart called "Airport Ghost".

Since there are some unnecessarily margins around the images I want to use, I need to crop that out so that the music will be as large as possible on my computer screen.  If your images do not have any unnecessary margins, or if you already cropped out the margins when you scanned them, you can skip these steps.

Steps to crop unnecessary margins:

Step 1. Right click on the first image and select Open with/Paint

Step 2. Hit Ctrl-PgDn until you can see the entire image. (Ctrl-PgDn is the shortkey for zooming out.)
Step 3. Click on select and select only the neccesairy part of the image.

Step 4. Hit Ctrl-Shift-X which will crop the file to only what you selected.
Step 5. Hit Ctrl-S, which will save the file. Exit Paint.
Repeat steps 1-5 for each image with unneccesairy white space around its border.

Steps to make two images into a single PDF:

Step 1. Find the file for the first page. Right click on it and select Open with/Windows Photo Viewer.

Step 2. Hit Ctrl-P. This will bring up the print window. Set the printer to "Nitro PDF Creator 2 (Reader)" and make sure "Fit Picture to frame" is not chceked, but "Full page photo" is selected.  If you are planning on viewing the PDF on a 10.1" screen (such as an Acer Aspire One netbook) then you will want to set the page size to "legal" so that it matches the aspect ratio of the screen better.

Step 3. Click "Print"
Step 4. The "Create PDF" window will appear. Choose a directory and File name for your PDF. In this example I am going to make a PDF called "Airport Ghost - Concert.pdf". Click on "Create".

Step 5. Nitro Reader will automatically open, showing the PDF you just created. Close this window (very important).
Step 6. Repeat steps 1-3 for the next page.
Step 7. When the "Create PDF" window will appears, double click on the file you created in step 4. A dialogue box will appear warning you that the file already exists, and asking you if you want to Append, Overwrite, or Cancel. Choose Append.
Step 8. Nitro PDF will open showing the image files have now been converted into a single PDF file. If you want to add more pages, close Nitro PDF and repeat steps 6 and 7 as needed for additional pages.

Update: A friend has informed me that this whole process is simpler on a Mac:
To join two or more pdf files together using Preview (the standard pdf viewer in OS X) simply open the first pdf file in preview, open the thumbnail view (Shift-⌘-D), and then drag a second pdf file ON TOP OF an existing page  thumbnail. The two documents will merge into one. A little grey double border appears indicating the documents will be merged. Then save the new combined file. Read on for step-by-step instructions. 

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  1. Another way to do this is to use LaTeX, a type-setting language originally designed for mathematics, but which has evolved to deal with a very wide range of applications.

    Also, pdfTK, a Linux command-line utility, can merge PDFs easily: "pdftk A.pdf B.pdf cat output out.pdf".

    Both pdftk and latex are open source. These can be installed on windows via cygwin! Or on a Mac by just installing stuff, since it's a unix variant already.

  2. Hey Matt! There have been many people who are using this JPG to PDF convertor. Not only it's free but can also be used for multiple file conversions.

  3. I find a free online pdf to image converter, you can convert pdf to jpg online free.

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