Detect and remove blank page in pdf (iText)Tag(s): PDF

It's not easy to detect if a pdf page is blank or not.

In this HowTo, we check if we found some resource reference, if found then the page is not blank. The xext step is to get the content as a byte array. We compare the size of content with a threshold value. This value depends on how the PDF is produced. For example, a Word document converted in PDF (with CutePDF) shows that a blank page has a size of 156 bytes. So my threshold value in this context is 160. Obviously, this method can produce false positive match and you need to test and re-test before setting this value!

A nice extra step would be that to extract the content as text, do a trim() and check if the result is empty or not ... this is left as an exercise to the reader for now ;-).


import com.itextpdf.text.Document;
import com.itextpdf.text.DocumentException;
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfCopy;
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfDictionary;
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfImportedPage;
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfName;
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfReader;
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.RandomAccessFileOrArray;

public class RemoveBlankPageFromPDF {

    // value where we can consider that this is a blank image
    // can be much higher or lower depending of what is considered as a blank page
    public static final int BLANK_THRESHOLD = 160;

    public static void removeBlankPdfPages(String source, String destination)
        throws IOException, DocumentException
        PdfReader r = null;
        RandomAccessSourceFactory rasf = null;
        RandomAccessFileOrArray raf = null;
        Document document = null;
        PdfCopy writer = null;

        try {
            r = new PdfReader(source);
            // deprecated
            //    RandomAccessFileOrArray raf
            //           = new RandomAccessFileOrArray(pdfSourceFile);
            // itext 5.4.1
            rasf = new RandomAccessSourceFactory();
            raf = new RandomAccessFileOrArray(rasf.createBestSource(source));
            document = new Document(r.getPageSizeWithRotation(1));
            writer = new PdfCopy(document, new FileOutputStream(destination));
            PdfImportedPage page = null;

            for (int i=1; i<=r.getNumberOfPages(); i++) {
                // first check, examine the resource dictionary for /Font or
                // /XObject keys.  If either are present -> not blank.
                PdfDictionary pageDict = r.getPageN(i);
                PdfDictionary resDict = (PdfDictionary) pageDict.get( PdfName.RESOURCES );
                boolean noFontsOrImages = true;
                if (resDict != null) {
                  noFontsOrImages = resDict.get( PdfName.FONT ) == null &&
                                    resDict.get( PdfName.XOBJECT ) == null;
                System.out.println(i + " noFontsOrImages " + noFontsOrImages);

                if (!noFontsOrImages) {
                    byte bContent [] = r.getPageContent(i,raf);
                    ByteArrayOutputStream bs = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
                      (i + bs.size() + " > BLANK_THRESHOLD " +  (bs.size() > BLANK_THRESHOLD));
                    if (bs.size() > BLANK_THRESHOLD) {
                        page = writer.getImportedPage(r, i);
        finally {
            if (document != null) document.close();
            if (writer != null) writer.close();
            if (raf != null) raf.close();
            if (r != null) r.close();

    public static void main (String ... args) throws Exception {
            ("C://temp//documentwithblank.pdf", "C://temp//documentwithnoblank.pdf");
Test documents : DOCX PDF

See also Detect if a TIF is blank .

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