Quantum theory

Bruder Group


Useful computer tools

This page is a collection of computer tools that I found helpful during my stay at the University of Basel.


PDF to X3 conversion for linux

Scientific posters can be printed at the IT services. They accept only PDF files that satisfy the PDF-X3 standard in order to ensure a successful printing process. However, if you use a presentation application or TeX to create your poster, these programs may not be able to export a PDF-X3 file directly.

A possible way to generate PDF-X3 files is to use commercial applications that allow you to save a PDF directly to the required format. Another way for linux users is to use a combination of ghostscript and pdftk to convert a PDF file to PDF-X3.

The following .tar archive contains a shell script that performs all the necessary steps for you. Except for minor changes and a bugfix, it is mostly based on a script written by A. Lode. To use it, unpack the .tar archive and install the packages ghostscript and pdftk using the package manager of your linux distribution. Type ./poster_convert.sh Name_of_the_poster.pdf and wait until a file Ready_to_print_X3_Name_of_the_poster.pdf has been generated.

Technical notes:

  • The IT services accept only files produced by ghostscript 9.10 (that's why there is a warning if you have other versions), but ghostscript versions 9.18 and 9.25 should also work.
  • The script first removes some bugs in PDF files created by Apple applications, converts the PDF to X3 standard using ghostscript, and finally sets the creator/producer information in the PDF metadata to ghostscript 9.10 (irrespective of which ghostscript version you actually used) to ensure that the PDF file is accepted by the IT services.