Author: Dinu Gherman <>
Version: Version 0.2.0
Date: 2009-06-07
Copyright: GNU Public Licence v3 (GPLv3)


Pdfgrid is a Python command-line tool and module for adding a regular grid on top of all pages of an existing PDF document. It will mostly be used for measuring individual parts of PDF pages like graphics or paragraph widths. For the time being, only a rectangular grid with major and minor lines is supported, and their colour and line widths can be set individually.

NOTE: This is an initial release. The API is likely to change and for the time being the grid size is limited to A4, but this will change in future releases.

Pdfgrid depends on two Open Source libraries, namely pyPdf, a package written by Mathieu Fenniak and reportlab by ReportLab, Ltd.

This version fixes an issue with the manual installation.


  • add regular rectangular grid over all pages of a PDF document
  • define grid origin on all PDF pages
  • define grid styles containing grid step, line width and colour
  • use multiple grids at once with different styling
  • install a Python module named
  • install a Python command-line script named pdfgrid
  • provide a Unittest test suite


You can use pdfgrid as a Python module e.g. like in the following interactive Python session:

>>> from reportlab.lib.colors import red
>>> from reportlab.lib.units import cm
>>> from pdfgrid import grid
>>> grid("foo.pdf", origin=(0, 0), styles=[(1*cm, 0.1, red)])
written: foo-grid.pdf

In addition there is a script named pdfscript, which can be used from the system command-line e.g. like this:

$ pdfgrid -h
$ pdfgrid -v
$ pdfgrid --origin "0,0" --styles "1*cm,0.1," foo.pdf
written: foo-grid.pdf


There are two ways to install pdfgrid, either as a so-called Python egg via the easy_install command, if available on your system, or from a source tarball. Please see the seperate file INSTALL.txt for more detailed instructions!


Pdfgrid depends on pyPdf which, if missing, will miraculously be installed together with pdfgrid if you have a working internet connection during the installation procedure. If for whatever reason pyPdf cannot be installed, pdfgrid should still install fine. In this case you'll get a warning when trying to run pdfgrid.

PyPdf also needs the ReportLab toolkit to be installed, which unfortunately cannot be installed yet as a Python egg.


The pdfgrid tarball distribution contains a Unittest test suite in the folder src/test which can be run like shown in the following lines on the system command-line:

$ tar xfz pdfgrid-0.2.0.tar.gz
$ python
written: samples/test-a4-p-grid-default.pdf
.written: samples/test-a4-p-grid-origin.pdf
.written: samples/test-a4-p-grid-style.pdf
.written: samples/test-a4-p-grid-styles.pdf
Ran 4 tests in 0.806s


$ python
running: pdfgrid --styles '10*mm,0,;50*mm,2,' 'samples/test-a4-l.pdf'
written: samples/test-a4-l-grid.pdf
Ran 1 test in 0.482s


Bug reports

Please report bugs and patches to Dinu Gherman <>. Don't forget to include information about the version of your hardware platform, operating system, Python interpreter and, of course, pdfgrid itself.