PDF Wrench - A free new way to manipulate PDF files

Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
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A new and innovative way to manipulate PDF Documents and Images in the browser without having to upload your documents to the cloud. Includes an interview with the site owner and creator.


Introducing PDF Wrench

 
I recently came across this new and interesting online tool and was impressed with the idea and its implementation. PDF Wrench allows you to merge entire PDF documents, pages, and images, to then save it all back to a single PDF file. All without needing to install anything or upload your documents to the website, using the power of JavaScript.

It's still early days for PDF Wrench development, so I interviewed the author about what's planned for the future.

The tool differs from other online and offline apps, in that everything is done in the browser and locally on your computer. Nothing needs to be installed (other than a compatible browser) and all operations are done using JavaScript. It's a cutting edge solution that is currently not supported by all browsers; however, it does highlight how local web apps will be featured in the future.

Take a look at the following two short videos that the author created to see how it works. The videos are also available on YouTube.

Merge PDF Documents and Images (2:50)

Merge and Reorder PDF Pages and Images (1:44)

To try it out for yourself, simply visit: https://pdfwrench.com/

A few words from the author...

I got in contact with the site owner, Andrei Razine, to ask a few questions about his future plans. Here's what he had to say...

Why did you create PDF Wrench? What was the drive behind the creation of the tool? 

It all started as a personal project. My daughter is working in the financial industry with a high volume of document throughput. Once she asked me to recommend a tool to shuffle PDF pages. I was under an impression that it is no longer a problem and there would be tons of tools out there. Surprisingly – I didn’t find any I liked.

At that time (a year ago) I was going through a JavaScript learning curve – so, I decided to give it a try and soon I created a desktop JavaScript application, using Electron framework. Then, I realised – there is some potential in this application and what if I can make it completely browser-based without any library installation and without the need to upload any document files. So, I took it as a challenge – and that was the primary driving force behind the project.

What is the vision for the future of the PDF Wrench website? Do you intend it to always be free? 

Yes, I am going to keep it free. Most of the functionality used by ordinary users will be free. It’s too early to speak about the future of the project. As of today – it’s more about technology limitation test.
There may be some features which will be used by professional agents, then we may introduce a paid subscription, but only for the specific functionality intended for professionals.

Which web browsers work with PDF Wrench? What are the minimum browser requirements? 

This is a very challenging application – both for resources and the latest libraries. It was tested on the latest versions of Chrome, Brave and Opera browsers. Even Firefox is not up to date yet. But as time goes by – I hope most of the browsers will be compatible. As a matter of fact – most mobile devices already have the much-needed libraries and work well with PDFWRENCH. Although – PDF page manipulation is not a good fit for small mobile devices. Our primary target is desktop users.

Do you intend to implement other PDF-related features into the site? For example, flipping pages sideways or upside down?  

Absolutely – new features are in the pipeline. Although we think – since the merging functionality is already there, cosmetic changes are a plus.

What other features are planned for the future and what is the estimated time for release? 

What we are targeting – is the Digital Signature functionality along with PDF page editing / annotation functionality. It’s a very challenging goal – to create a web-based full-scale Digital Signature application without file upload. We have an idea, a road map and some of the core functionality already tested. About time frame – we are optimistic. Expectations are for a new release every month.
 
Care to tell our readers a little about yourself?

I am working as a Data Architect consultant, but with a passion for modern technology, currently focused on JavaScript. Located in the wonderful city of Toronto, Canada. This project was started as a solo development. Currently, it’s more of a family business – my youngest daughter is helping me. She is a talented programmer – more on web design with a passion for security.

Thanks, Andrei!

It will be interesting to watch how this site and idea develops.


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Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
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Helping others to help themselves...

Comments (2)

Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Commented:
Hi Andrew,

Very interesting tool!

Although I read Andrei's comment during your interview with him that Firefox is not up-to-date yet, that wasn't top-of-mind when I clicked on the link (with Firefox, my default browser) and was greeted with this:

Firefox not supported
But the good news is that it's a perfect error message, making it crystal clear to the user exactly what the issue is. As soon as I switched to Chrome...no problem!

A great feature is that it can handle an image file just as easily as a PDF file, although only JPG (aka JPEG) and PNG...not BMP, GIF, TIF/TIFF, or any others. Since JPG and PNG are by far the most common image files that I use, I didn't find that limitation to be an issue...and the ability to drag-and-drop JPGs and PNGs into pages of the PDF is superb!

Thanks for finding this tool and taking the time to write this excellent article on it...ENDORSED! Regards, Joe
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist
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Author

Commented:
Thanks for your comments and for sharing what happens when the site is accessed with an unsupported browser, Joe. Thank you also for taking the time to endorse the article - much appreciated :)

Best, Andrew

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