Briss: crop your PDF documents using a visual interface

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Ever wanted to crop a PDF document or eBook? Briss is a freeware software that allows you to do this visually, by drawing rectangles over the page layout of your PDF.

It works great in conjunction with ebook reading devices, to remove excess margins and hone in on the text or content of the document, or for cropping multiple columns of text to create a page out of each for example.

This program is designed to crop PDF pages in batch, but makes a distinction between odd and even pages, as these are often aligned differently in documents (such as ebooks).

It will group all the different page sizes in your document together and will require the user to make cropping decisions for each group of pages that is of a similar size. It also provides the option to exclude certain pages or page ranges from the cropping action.

Briss is multiplatform and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Here are some notes on this program:

  • Briss Screenshot2How to use: load a PDF and (optionally) type in pages or page ranges to exclude from the cropping. Next draw a rectangle over each group of pages on the screen to specify the cropping area. (Some documents, like the one in the screenshot above, will be orderly and contain only two groups or odd and even pages, others can be have many groups, like the one in the screenshot to the right). Select preview from the “Action” menu and then the “Crop PDF” if you like what you see.
  • More options: select and right click on a cropping rectangle to delete it. Left+CTRL will select a rectangle and allow you to apply “maximize to width” and “maximize to height” from the “action” menu. Multiple rectangles will produce multiple (duplicate) pages cropped differently, as per each rectangle you draw.
  • The name: is apparently some sort of reference to a Jewish rite of circumcision. Someone has a sense of humor!

What I like about this program:

  • The visual interface: makes it simple and easy to use (unlike other editors, which require your to type in negative and positive margin values and the like).
  • Separates odd and even pages: which is a must really.
  • Griss Screenshot 3Semi-transparently displays the contents of each group of pages: which lets you make more intelligent cropping decisions that are less likely to accidentally remove content you want. See screenshot to the right for an example.
  • Preview option: lets you see exactly what will transpire before you commit to it.
  • Portable version available: unzip and run; although it does require JAVA to be installed on the machine in which it is run.

Wish list: (or how this program can be even better).

  • The ability to copy a rectangle and re-apply it on another group of pages: it is surprising that this is not supported, since it can grant a degree of uniformity to the cropping that surely the manual hand drawn rectangles cannot.
  • WYSINAWYG: What you see is not always what you get. I noticed this when presented with 3 groups of pages to crop. The first one (a single page) just would not be cropped the way I wanted it to no matter how hard I tried. I hope this can be fixed in future releases.
  • Auto cropping: would be cool, with some preliminary options maybe (such as how many pixels or inches, etc. of margin to leave around the automatically detected content). How about it guys?

The verdict: free programs that offer PDF cropping functionality are very rare, and certainly this is the only one I know of that would let you do it via a visual interface (PDFill is the other free program I found that offered PDF cropping, but required manual entry of margin values to do so and did not seem to work at all when I tested it). So, two thumbs up to Briss for that alone.

So, a great tool overall. However, I really do hope this program is pushed forward a bit more, if only to allow the copying of user created rectangles.

Version Tested: 0.0.12

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux. Requires JAVA.

Go to the program project page to download the latest version (approx 4 megs).


 
 
 
  • Calm Dog

    Oy vey! I’ve gotta give this five (six-pointed) stars for the name alone. Briss – for cropping. That’s hysterical.

  • Laborg

    Hi!

    I’m the author of BRISS and need your input on whishlist (item 1 and 2).
    1) Do you mean to re-apply the rectangles within a pdf (from page cluster to another) or between different pdfs?
    2) Could you send me the problematic file ?

    @ automatic cropping: This is on the feature list, but it will need more time…

    btw.: Thx for the nice review…

    • Samer

      @ Laborg: thanks for a great app. I actually mean reapplying rectangles within a pdf, from one cluster to another. I will send you the problematic file with some screenshots.

  • Paul

    Can you also do it the other way around, adding borders to a PDF? I have a cook book as pdf that I’d like to print out, but the pages are cut as much as possible, so I’d like to add borders up to a normal DIN A4 format.

  • Laborg

    @Paul: I guess your problem is solved more easily by setting up your printing driver or just try out another application for printing the pdf…

  • JohnN

    Thanks for the program. Definitely a happy Briss here (and with no redemption required on first use).
    Two small points.
    1) On my laptop a PDF page appears over 1 screen height, and it is difficult without a wheel mouse to drag the box to cover the whole area.
    2) It would be good to optionally allow the height/width ration of standard ebooks as presets so as to get an optimal fit easily

    Thanks again,

  • JamesM

    I’m using Briss to crop out the margins out of screenplays, but I can’t for the life of me get it to crop both even and odd pages.

    1) I load the document in Briss.
    What appears are 2 pages- I think the first are odd number pages, and the second are the evens.

    2) I draw a rectangle around the 1st page. A “1” appears on the shading.

    3) But when I draw a rectangle around the 2nd page, another “1” appears. How do I get it to change to “2”? I draw a second rectangle. It creates a 2, but the original “1” is still there and I can’t erase it without erasing the “2” first. How do I erase the “1” on the second page?

    Or, how do I get a “2” label on on my even page number crop but not “1”?
    Does this make sense?

  • lee

    Hi. I’m cropping with briss and then converting to mobi with calibre. The PDF looks to be cropped but the resulting mobi contains the cropped out items?

    • Samer

      @ Lee: two suggestions:
      (1) Try converting to AZW instead of MOBI via the free Amazon conversion service (as discussed here
      (2) Try cropping with a program called PDF Scissors instead of Briss

      I’d be curious about the results.
      Oh, and don’t worry about the errors when posting your comment and multiple comments; I deleted them, its not your fault, this error happens frequently

  • veryalien

    I’m having the same problem with cropped content being included in MOBI files. I was trying to remove all the Chapter and page numbers from a pdf which has them embedded on the pages. I don’t need this info for a Kindle book. I just tried PDF Scissors instead of Briss and unfortunately it’s exactly the same result. The cropping works in the PDF reader, but converting with Calibre to MOBI still contains the cropped text.
    Is the cropping just a visual effect in the reader? I ask this because the cropped text is obviously still being read by Calibre so it must still be in the pdf file and just not displayed.

  • Eric

    How split for example 39-77 page from one pdf?
    This software for braking password do not work in 64bit 🙁 and web page do not support more then 5MB 🙁

  • Ackroyd

    Hello, I loved the reviews and tried to use the file. Got an error

    Failed to open file <> Error message: Unspecified error

    • Samer

      @ Ackroyd: here’s a direct link to the Briss download (http://bit.ly/J1vo7e). Download, extract, then run briss.exe.

  • Jim

    @Laborg – another appreciative user – and another feature request: rectify rotated source. I (fair-use) dis-assemble and scan my music scores, and my scanner is imperfect and sometimes the page is fed not quite straight, so the printed content is rotated. A “best-fit” rectangle for such a page would fit best, if allowed to rotate. Then I would want the ouput for that page de-rotated (aligned with the output pdf page edges).

  • Elizabeth

    Could anyone help me with how I can crop one page, and have it be applied exactly the same way to the rest of the pages within the document? Is this even supported?
    Thanks.