My wife surprised me with a cool gadget called Boogie Board Sync, which allows me to write down notes in a natural way and digitally save them to PDFs.
It pretty much works as advertised. You write down a single page worth of notes, then press ‘Save’ button to save it. You have a choice to transfer a copy of the notes as a PNG image or PDF document (my preference). Since Boogie Board records your writing as vectors, the final output is crystal clear when you print or view them on your computer or mobile device.
How sharp? Here’s a close up of my terrible handwriting as a vector-based PDF at 400% zoom:
I only have two gripes about the Boogie Board Sync:
- Each saved page is transferred individually as one page PDF. There’s no way to group together a few pages of notes into a single PDF.
- I prefer to write on the board in landscape orientation, rather than portrait. The resulting PDFs come out sideways when you open them in a PDF viewer program.
There’s no choice but going the extra mile to get Boogie Board Sync to work the way I want it to by collecting multiple pages of notes into a single PDF and all pages are rotated 90 degrees clockwise so that I can view them without constantly turning my head to the left.
There are multiple websites that will merge/rotate your PDFs into a single PDF but I’m leery about these sites. Who knows what they will do with your PDFs once you upload them to get their “free” service? NO THANKS! I prefer to do it locally on my computer.
There are, indeed, a number of paid software one could buy to run some PDF magic. However, being a computer geek, I preferred to go the open-source (free) approach, if there was one.
Sejda is a console-based command-line utility that can take care of PDF magic for you.
While the installation says Sejda requires (*quelle horreur*) Java 1.5 or older, it works fine with Java 1.7.
Once you have a working installation of Sejda, it’s a snap to group together PDFs into a single PDF and then rotate them 90 degrees:
Rotate each PDF file 90 degrees clockwise:
sejda-console rotate –pageRotation all:90 -o ./rotated –files *.PDF
Merge multiple PDFs into a single PDF:
sejda-console merge -o ./merged.pdf –files *.pdf
Here’s the final merged PDF that’s correctly rotated for ease of viewing: