Blog Post

How to Split PDFs Using PHP

Vyom Srivastava
Illustration: How to Split PDFs Using PHP

In this post, you’ll see how to split PDF files using our Split PDF PHP API. With our API, you can split up to 100 PDF files per month for free. All you need to do is create a free account to get access to your API key.

Splitting a PDF document is a common use case when working with PDFs because it allows for logical archiving of information. With our Split PDF API, you’ll be able to automate the process of splitting documents in your workflow.

A simple example would be a financial services company receiving a single PDF with clients’ personal and financial information, as well as a questionnaire they filled in. By integrating a PDF splitting API into the workflow, it’s easy to automatically split documents into logical parts that can be stored separately.

PSPDFKit API

Document splitting is just one of our 30+ PDF API tools. You can combine our splitting tool with other tools to create complex document processing workflows, such as:

  • Converting MS Office files and images into PDFs and splitting them

  • Performing OCR on documents and splitting them

  • Watermarking and flattening PDFs and splitting them

Step 1 — Creating a Free Account on PSPDFKit

Go to our website, where you’ll see the page below, prompting you to create your free account.

Free account PSPDFKit API

Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be welcomed by the page below, which shows an overview of your plan details.

Free plan PSPDFKit API

As you can see in the bottom-left corner, you’ll start with 100 documents to process, and you’ll be able to access all our PDF API tools.

Step 2 — Obtaining the API Key

After you’ve verified your email, you can get your API key from the dashboard. In the menu on the left, click API Keys. You’ll see the following page, which is an overview of your keys:

Split PDFs PHP API Key

Copy the Live API Key, because you’ll need this for the Split PDF API.

Step 3 — Setting Up Folders and Files

Now, create a folder called split_pdf and open it in a code editor. For this tutorial, you’ll use VS Code as your primary code editor. Next, create two folders inside split_pdf and name them input_documents and processed_documents. Now, copy your PDF to the input_documents folder and rename it to document.pdf.

Then, in the root folder, split_pdf, create a file called processor.php. This is the file where you’ll keep your code.

Your folder structure will look like this:

split_pdf
├── input_documents
├── processed_documents
└── processor.php

Step 4 — Writing the Code

Open the processor.php file and paste the code below into it:

<?php

function process_first_half() {
  $FileHandle = fopen('processed_documents/first_half_php.pdf', 'w+');

  $curl = curl_init();

  $instructions = '{
    "parts": [
      {
        "file": "document",
        "pages": {
          "end": -6
        }
      }
    ]
  }';

  curl_setopt_array($curl, array(
    CURLOPT_URL => 'https://api.pspdfkit.com/build',
    CURLOPT_CUSTOMREQUEST => 'POST',
    CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER => true,
    CURLOPT_ENCODING => '',
    CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS => array(
      'instructions' => $instructions,
      'document' => new CURLFILE('input_documents/document.pdf')
    ),
    CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER => array(
      'Authorization: Bearer YOUR_API_KEY_HERE' // Replace YOUR_API_KEY_HERE with your API key.
    ),
    CURLOPT_FILE => $FileHandle,
  ));

  $response = curl_exec($curl);

  curl_close($curl);

  fclose($FileHandle);
}

function process_second_half() {
  $FileHandle = fopen('processed_documents/second_half_php.pdf', 'w+');

  $curl = curl_init();

  $instructions = '{
    "parts": [
      {
        "file": "document",
        "pages": {
          "start": -5
        }
      }
    ]
  }';

  curl_setopt_array($curl, array(
    CURLOPT_URL => 'https://api.pspdfkit.com/build',
    CURLOPT_CUSTOMREQUEST => 'POST',
    CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER => true,
    CURLOPT_ENCODING => '',
    CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS => array(
      'instructions' => $instructions,
      'document' => new CURLFILE('input_documents/document.pdf')
    ),
    CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER => array(
      'Authorization: Bearer YOUR_API_KEY_HERE' // Replace YOUR_API_KEY_HERE with your API key
    ),
    CURLOPT_FILE => $FileHandle,
  ));

  $response = curl_exec($curl);

  curl_close($curl);

  fclose($FileHandle);
}

process_first_half();
process_second_half();

ℹ️ Note: Make sure to replace YOUR_API_KEY_HERE with your API key.

Code Explanation

You created two functions: process_first_half and process_second_half. They both do the same thing, but for the sake of simplicity, you created two functions to split the file. You’re also using a FileHandle variable that creates a temporary file under processed_document.

After that, you created the instructions that contain the page number from which the input PDF will be split. You then passed the input document to the Split PDF API. The response of the API was then stored in a folder called processed_documents.

Output

To execute the code, run the command below:

php processor.php

On successful execution, it’ll create two files in the processed_documents folder: first_half_php.pdf and second_half_php.pdf. The folder structure will look like this:

split_pdf
├── input_documents
├── processed_documents
|    └── first_half_php.pdf
|    └── second_half_php.pdf
└── processor.php

Final Words

In this post, you learned how to easily and seamlessly split PDF files for your PHP application using our Split PDF API.

You can integrate these functions into your existing applications and split PDFs. With the same API token, you can also perform other operations, such as merging documents into a single PDF, adding watermarks, and more. To get started with a free trial, sign up here.

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