At NYC Music Services we often receive music ready to print in the form of PDFs. The most common part size we use to print is 9” x 12” (sometimes known as “Concert” size). Many times, though, the music arrives as “Letter” size (8.5” by 11”) or, if it’s coming from Europe, A4 size.
If it’s just one or two parts, it’s easy enough to use Preview’s built-in Scale function to resize the file to the correct size. But if it’s an entire set of orchestra parts – 30 or 40 – and, moreover, if it’s several cues or pieces, scaling each individual PDF gets old very quickly.
Because our printing workflow typically involves imposing booklets and combining PDFs for a large print run, it’s important that the source PDF is the correct size. For quite some time I’ve been looking for a simple way to quickly scale many PDFs to a different size paper at once, To my surprise, nothing existed.
Music engraver and font designer Abraham Lee learned of my search from a post I made in 2016 on the old Finale forum. A week after my post, he contacted me to tell me that he had cooked up a command-line utility that worked well — indeed, it did, quite brilliantly.
I asked if he’d be willing to turn his code into a proper app, and he did. The result: PDF-BatchScale, a desktop app for Mac and PC available from Notation Central.
PDF-BatchScale is a simple, elegant way to scale the original PDF to the specified size of the output PDF by the largest percentage possible while still fitting within the dimensions of the output PDF. The aspect ratio of the original PDF doesn’t change, so if the output page size is different than the original PDF, PDF-BatchScale will automatically add margins to the output PDF as needed.
To get started, simply drag and drop your files onto the application window, or click the Add button to locate them in your file browser:
Then, choose from many standard page sizes, such as ISO, North American, or music sizes, or input your own custom size in millimeters, inches, or points.
There are a few other options:
- Change the orientation of the page (portrait or landscape);
- Add additional margins to the page (or enter a negative number to reduce the margins);
- Add a prefix or suffix to the output PDFs to distinguish them from their sources;
- Specify the output directory (the default is the source directory if nothing is selected).
Click Process Files, and in barely an instant you’ll have resized all your PDFs.
PDF-BatchScale was originally intended to scale sheet music of different sizes, of course, but it should work on most PDFs, for any purpose. It’s available for both Mac & PC, and it’s available in the Productivity category of Notation Central, our online marketplace for music notation technology.
While it is possible to obtain PDF-BatchScale for free, you can support development by naming your own price, which we really appreciate. We suggest $10 — a modest amount, when you think about all of the time it will save you!
And if you like PDF-BatchScale, there’s more where that came from:
- PDF-BatchBooklet, which creates imposed booklets for many PDFs at once;
- PDF-BatchStitch, which combines multiple PDFs into one file, along with the option to set the number of copies for any of the PDFs;
- PDF-MusicBinder, an amazing all-in-one app that creates consolidated PDFs for easy printing for either accordion-style layout or stapled imposed booklets.