I have seen here that a new version of thumbpdf is available. But I don't understand the manual here: https://github.com/ho-tex/thumbpdf

If I open any pdf I produced with pdftex, it will have thumbnails when opening in Okular or Acrobat. On the left side is a column with tiny pictures of every page.

So what is the whole package good for? And besides this, how do I use it? As far as I understand, I write \usepackage{thumbnail} into the preamble, compile, let thumbpdf run: thumbpdf jobname and compile again?

1 Answer 1


it's good for almost nothing these days, the update was actually triggered by a request not to load it into hyperdoc (which caused it to be loaded in all l3doc documentation).

while doing that I noticed that its accompanying perl script didn't work on current perl releases (due to the stricter rules about using \{ not { to denote a literal { in regex.) Which probably meant no one had run it at all for a year or more.

It seemed better to have a working than non working version.

If you use

thumbpdf file.tex

instead of

pdflatex file.tex

the perl script arranges to run pdflatex writing out data to an additional text file and then use ghostscript to make "thumbnail" images of each page and attach these to the pdf generated for the docuemnt. However for many years now acrobat (and other browsers that can show these page images in the bookmark pane) have not needed ready made thumbnails within the pdf, they can simply show reduced images of the full page renderings in that menu.

thumbpdf does have some other options to customise these things beyond the automatic behaviour of the PDF viewers but really it isn't needed now. (But still should work and be distributed as people may have scripts depending on it)

  • 2
    despite not being needed now, Heiko's code is pretty cunning:-) Sep 10, 2018 at 20:45

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