Merge/split PDF files directly in Dolphin (KDE)


I have just switched to KDE after using Gnome during many years, and I am quietly getting used to it.

But recently I had to merge 2 PDF files, so I searched for a good solution for KDE. There are many command-line tools to do this on Linux, but the few graphical interfaces are very ugly.

So I thought it would be great to integrate a merge/split PDF function directly in Dolphin, the KDE file manager. In dolphin when you right-click on a file, a menu pops up with a sub-menu “Actions”, where you can add your features. I will now explain how I did this.


  • You need to be running a recent version of KDE (using Dolphin as your file manager). I have the version 4.3.5.
  • To manipulate your PDF files, you need a command-line tool, I chose pdftk. You can install the package pdftk on kubuntu, for example by typing in a terminal:
    sudo apt-get install pdftk

Create scripts to merge/split PDF files automatically

I created two scripts: one to merge PDF files, and the other one to split them. I put both files in the directory /opt/pdf-service:

  • /opt/pdf-service/ (download):
    # Run a command to merge PDF files
    # Used to add a context menu in Dolphin for PDF files
    pdftk "$@" cat output "${1%.pdf}_merged.pdf"
  • /opt/pdf-service/ (download):
    # Run a command to split PDF files
    # Used to add a context menu in Dolphin for PDF files
    for file in "$@"
       mkdir -p "$out_dir"
       pdftk "$file" burst output "$out_dir/page_%04d.pdf"

Here are the steps you need to follow to get these files properly on your computer:

  • Create the /opt/pdf-service directory: type in a terminal:
    sudo mkdir /opt/pdf-service
  • Download the two files in the directory: type in a terminal:
    cd /opt/pdf-service && sudo wget
  • Make the files executable: type in a terminal:
    sudo chmod a+x /opt/pdf-service/*.sh

Add the service to Dolphin

A service in Dolphin is declared using a simple .desktop file in the directory /usr/share/kde4/services/ServiceMenus/: Here is the file you should put as /usr/share/kde4/services/ServiceMenus/pdf-servicemenu.desktop (download):

[Desktop Entry]

[Desktop Action split]
Name=Split PDF pages
Name[fr]=Découper les pages du PDF
Exec=/opt/pdf-service/ %F

[Desktop Action merge]
Name=Merge PDF files
Name[fr]=Fusionner les PDFs
Exec=/opt/pdf-service/ %F

To install this file, just type in a terminal:

cd /usr/share/kde4/services/ServiceMenus && sudo wget


Now you just need to close all opened windows of Dolphin, launch it again, and you should see the menu entries in the Actions submenu when you right-click on a PDF file.

The entries are only available in English and French in my file, but you can easily add another language in the pdf-servicemenu.desktop file.

It would be great to have an user-friendly interface to install packages that add useful submenu entries like that! Some sorf of Dolphin extensions…