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).