-{ a hewer of maps }-

(not quite) editing PDFs using open source

Our extended health insurance company helpfully profides pdf forms with my name, client #, etc. pre-filled for easy printing. Unfortunately there are a number of fields which will aren’t likely to change, like my phone number and the names of my kids, which are not filled in. I’m lazy, so I figured it was worth spending an hour figuring out how to save 1 minute of no-thought grunt work every time I need to fill out a form.

I found an article extolling the virtures of flpsed, a pdf “annotator” for linux. Great, that sounds perfect! Flpsed is not listed in the cygwin package repository but a little bit of searching yields Brian Dessent - Re: compiling flpsed under Cygwin:

"FYI, I was able to build flpsed just fine.  The actual hard part is
building a X11 fltk.  The Cygwin packaged version uses win32/GDI and the
configure scripts will try to force this if configured under Cygwin so
you have to do some surgery to get a true X11 library.  The steps I used
were roughly:

# uninstall Cygwin fltk package
$ tar jxvf fltk-1.1.6-source.tar.bz2
$ cd fltk-1.1.6
$ CFLAGS="-UWIN32" CXXFLAGS="-UWIN32" LDFLAGS="-L/usr/X11R6/lib -lX11"
./configure --with-x --enable-cygwin --disable-gl
$ make
# edit fltk-config to get correct library order:

--- fltk-config.orig    2005-07-20 19:06:38.171875000 -0700
+++ fltk-config 2005-07-20 19:16:11.359375000 -0700
@@ -52,8 +52,8 @@
# flags for C++ compiler:
CFLAGS="-mwindows -DWIN32 -UWIN32"
CXXFLAGS="-mwindows -DWIN32 -UWIN32"
-LDFLAGS="-mwindows -L/usr/X11R6/lib -lX11"
-LDLIBS=" -lole32 -luuid -lcomctl32 -lwsock32 -lsupc++"
+LDLIBS=" -L/usr/X11R6/lib -lX11 -lole32 -luuid -lcomctl32 -lwsock32

if test -d $includedir/FL/images; then
CFLAGS="-I$includedir/FL/images $CFLAGS"

$ make install
$ cd ..
$ tar zxvf flpsed-0.3.5.tar.gz
$ cd flpsed-0.3.5
$ ./configure
$ make

The result is a working flpsed."

Unfortunately for me, although the compile works and flpsed runs, it doesn’t import the claims form pdf. I tried earlier and later versions of flpsed, but 1.1.6 is the only one which compiles according to Brian’s directions. So I’,m S.O.L. as far as my initiating itch is concerned, but I have the satisfiction of being able to edit at least some pdf’s. Also in the process I discovered a cool new Terminal program which I think will become a permanent preference on my boxen of all flavours: Terminator

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