Printing Even and Odd Pages of a PDF

March 9, 2006

Acrobat Reader is bulky, slow, and closed source, and thus to be avoided whenever possible. One of its virtues is that it allows one to easily print only the even and odd pages of a PDF in order to do a little poor man’s duplexing. GGV also has this feature but it requires converting the PDF to PostScript first. I just found a great tip in the debian-users list archive which explains how to do this from the command line in one shot using psselect, part of the pstools package:

pdftops inputfile.pdf - | psselect -e | lpr    # print even pages
pdftops inputfile.pdf - | psselect -o | lpr    # print odd pages

Another tip: If you always print the even pages first, then flip and print the odd pages, you will never have an extra printed sheet left in the paper tray. The number of odd pages is necessarily greater than or equal to the number of even ones (as long as you count from 1!).