It can be useful to automate repetitive document manipulation tasks using watched folders. Watched folders, or “hot” folders as they are sometimes also known, are special folders that are set up in such a way that files placed into them are automatically processed. Essentially, software that supports this functionality (like Debenu PDF Tools Pro) can be configured to “watch” for new files in these folders and to perform a series of pre-defined operations on them.

This Knowledge Base article outlines the watched folder functionality of Debenu PDF Tools Pro using the example of splitting and merging PDF documents using watched folders. Specifically, it will take the example of extracting pages from each PDF file placed into the watched folder and combining these pages into a new document. For optimal results, shared cloud-based (Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive) folders are used in the example. Combined with the cross-platform compatibility of PDF, the use of cloud-based folders makes it possible for users working with both Windows- and Mac-based systems to seamlessly drop files into the watched folder to process their PDF files. It should be noted though that for the cloud-based folder to function the hosting folders computer must be on and connected to the internet.

There are two parts to this tutorial, creating the actions and creating the watched folders.

Part 1 Creating Actions to perform custom split and merge tasks

1. Click “Actions” located in the left toolbar.

Actions highlighted in the toolbar of Debenu PDF Tools

Actions in the toolbar

2. Click “New”.

The New Action button

New Action

3. Click “Split and Merge” in the left toolbar and then double-click “split by pages”.

Split by pages option

Spilt by Pages

4. Fill in the options you would like to use for example by page range and then 1-2 if you only want to split the first two pages of a PDF. Then click OK.

Settings for "Split by Pages" option

Split by pages settings

5. Name your action and click “save”.

Save Action button

Save Action settings

6. Double-click “Merge PDFs”.

Merge PDFs option

Merge PDFs

7. Fill in the options you would like to use for example if you just want to merge files in the order they appear in the folder leave the default settings and click OK.

Settings for Merge PDFs function

Merge settings

8. Name your action and click “save”.

TIP: Identify the saved action by including “Splitting pt 1 of 2” in the name or “Merging pt 2 of 2”.

Part 2 Creating Watched Folders to Split many PDF and Merge them into A single file

1. Click “Watched Folders” (it is located directly under “Actions”).

Add New Watched Folder dialog

New Watched Folder

2. Click “New”.
3. Select your action (this is the first watched folder so use the “Splitting pt 1 of 2” action).
4. Select a base/input folder (this is where you will drop files to be processed).

Settings for a new Watched Folder

Watched Folder settings

NOTE: If you wish to have this in a Dropbox folder create a new folder in the Dropbox folder that you will drop the PDFs into that need to be split and merged.

5. Click “Advanced”. Highlight the “output folders” location and copy it (ctrl + c).

Advanced settings for new Watched folder expanded

Advanced settings

6. Click “Save”.
7. Click “Watched Folders”.
8. Click “New”.
9. Select your action (this is the second watched folder so use merge pt 2 of 2 action).
10. In “base/input folder” paste the folder location of the other watched folder (ctrl + v).

Settings for merging Watched Folder

Watched folder for merging

11. Click “Save”.

Now, drag and drop all of the files you want processed into the folder all at once. You can find the original files that were split in the “processed folder”. For best results, first have all of the PDF files you want to split and merge in a separate folder, copy and then paste them into the first (i.e., input) watched folder.