After installing R-pdftools with MacPorts (V2.8.1 on Sonoma) without any error messages I cannot find pdftools in Terminal.

What's wrong?

  • 3
    What tools do you expect to find from this package? Dec 5, 2023 at 22:20
  • 2
    OTOH, there are 182 (today's count) packages that match port search pdf | less. A few appeared to be CLI without the R affiliation.
    – Seamus
    Dec 5, 2023 at 23:31
  • I am looking for 'pdftool zip' in order to merge to pdf files. Are there any packages available that are not based on R? I found a pdftools which I could install via pip but I think I should not mix all my Macport python installations with pip / homebrew, right?
    – Bernd
    Dec 6, 2023 at 10:13

2 Answers 2


You seem to have installed a package for R (a programming language) which lets R programmers manipulate PDF files. It doesn't look like you can call it directly from the terminal.

Usage instructions are here.


Here are a range of PDF-manipulating command line tools that can be installed directly:

XPDF tools

PDFtk Server:

You can of course use GhostScript to merge PDFs.
Binaries for Mac are here: https://pages.uoregon.edu/koch/

If you're into python, there are various python libraries that will manipulate PDFs, such as pikePDF. https://github.com/pikepdf/pikepdf

You could create a workflow using Automator.app or Shortcuts.app, and call it from the CLI, using the shortcuts or automator commands.

I've also written a suite of python scripts that call macOS APIs to perform various PDF functions: https://github.com/benwiggy/PDFsuite
(You'll need to install the pyobjc library.)

  • thanks for your suggestions! I checked pdf tools but I do not find a tool wherein I can merge two different pdf's side-by-side. PDFtk cannot yet be installed on Sonoma as I understand. I will check your PDFsuite.
    – Bernd
    Dec 6, 2023 at 20:11
  • @Bernd Ah: yes, you're right that XPDF doesn't have a merge tool; but there is some useful stuff. I'd suggest GhostScript is the most powerful and useful.
    – benwiggy
    Dec 7, 2023 at 11:07

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