PDFTK Builder


PDFTK Builder (a GUI for PDFTK) can merge, split, decrypt, encrypt and insert a watermark image into PDF documents.

This is a small, simple to use program that does performs the above-mentioned PDF editing operations really well.

  • Merging PDF documents: you can add PDF’s singly or in batches. For each document you can specify exactly which pages you want to include (e.g. “1,3,5-10” will include pages 1,3 and 5 through 10). You can merge landscape and portrait formatted pages within the same document. Note that you can use this same command to split a PDF into distinct chunks; for example, to split a 10-page PDF into 2 parts, select the document , choose page range 1-5, and run. Repeat for pages 6-10 and you’re done.
  • Splitting a PDF document: this create a single PDF file for each page in the original document. Simply Point PDFTK Builder to your document, press ’Save’; note that all the new documents will be automatically placed in the same directory as the original file, so you might want to place the original file in the appropriate directory before you run.
  • Watermarking/Inserting an image into the background: strangely, this will require a PDF as input for the image that you would want to use rather than an image file. Also, it does not offer any manipulation options for your image such as control over its transparency, size, or color. You will need to (a) manipulate your image outside of PDFTK Builder so its just the way you want it, and (b) convert it to PDF (this you can do easily using virtual PDF printer programs like PrimoPDF or PDFCreator).
  • Decrypt a PDF: unfortunately, this requires that you have the original password for opening before it decrypts, which as far as I am concerned makes it completely useless. If you need this function I recommend you use other freeware programs that can decrypt a PDF without the need for a password (Freeware PDF Unlocker, GUI for PDFTK the latter being faster and more powerful).
  • Encrypt a PDF: quite a number of options here, including allowing/disallowing printing, degraded printing, password for opening the PDF, and other options (see screenshot). You can also set an owner and user passwords. I tested a document encrypted with PDFTK Builder to see if any of the decrypting programs mentioned above can remove the encryption; they did not.

Although for this kind of program PDFTK Builder is a bit bare bones, that’s almost a strength not a weakness. The main function of merging/extracting pages from PDF documents is very nicely implemented and intuitive. I will say that the watermarking function could have been better implemented though with more options. There is another similar program out there (the aforementioned GUI for PDFTK) that has a larger range of functions but a confusing interface; I chose to review PDFTK Builder instead because (a) it does the job really well, even when it doesn’t have too many esoteric functions, and (b) it has a nice, user-friendly interface design. The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars is the way decryption is implemented.

Version tested: 2.3.5

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program page to get the latest version (Full installtion approx 1.88 megs; includes the necessary PDFTK as well). Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

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Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
  • Firstly, thanks for your encouraging review.

    Anyhow, you may be interested to know I’ve recently updated PDFTK Builder and added a couple of features. I’ve also removed the ‘decrypt’ option because I suspect it was more confusing than helpful (and if you know the owner password, then you’ll most likely to have the source document too with which to remake the PDF).

  • Anonymous

    Decrypt function I still find it rather useful. I ever encounter that I have encrypt a PDF with password befor it could be opened. For security resaons i keep the pdf with password and deleted the one without. Subsequent, I need to send this file to another person and hence need to decrypt the PDF. The decrypt function still serve as a easy way to remove the password.

  • Palyndrok
  • I have just downloaded this because I just wanted to put two pdfs together. I didn’t know how to do it so found this through google. It is so easy to use and did the job quickly and easily. Fantastic.

  • Jordan

    I have to agree that PDFTK Builder is far more user friendly then GUI for PDFTK. Given that I am the only 1 of 5 employees at my company that is even remotely computer literate, I can’t begin to tell you how important that is. Of course, power users may not be as concerned, and therefor prefer “GUI for PDFTK”‘s larger list of functions.

    My 1.5 Cents: PDFTK Builder works well, is easy to navigate, but I would like to see some of the more advanced options like pdf compression. This isn’t a huge knock, as I have yet to find a single application that offers split / merge / compress / watermark / etc in a simple easy to use package.

    Ultimately, its hard to compare PDFTK Builder to GUI for PDFTK as each will cater to a different group.

  • fsr

    Samer (yeah I know review is old but I need this feature), you got me confused for a minute.

    “I recommend you use other freeware programs that can decrypt a PDF without the need for a password (Freeware PDF Unlocker, GUI for PDFTK the latter being faster and more powerful).”

    I didn’t try PDF Unlocker – dificult to find these days and not portable – but GUIforPDFTK doesn’t do this either, as this feature – decrypt with password input only – . Any suggestion?

  • Amox

    If aided with a converter like Nemo,your work will be more fluent.Nemo PDF Converter 4.0 converts PDF to Word/RTF and Word/Excel to PDF for uses of different situations with speed and 100 accuracy. It keeps intact of the original files and supports batch conversion. You can either batch convert files from the converter or from the button integrated in your documents with ease. Moreover, its user-friendly interfaces will make you a veteran from a new user in minutes.