Watermark PDF in iOS

Is there a shortcut that can be used to add a watermark to each page of a PDF. I use PDF Expert. I can stamp the document- but only one page at a time. If anybody knows of an app (if there are no shortcuts) then I’d appreciate a recommendation on that front too.

A few options to consider.


PDF support in Shortcuts is fairly minimal for anything other than basic generation from a variety of sources where it honestly excels thanks to the content graph engine that underlies it.

But there is an option that will technically produce a watermarked PDF at the end. Here’s a quick example I put together to illustrate how this would work.

Unfortunately, the process involves converting the original PDF pages to images, which means you lose the the text layer and potentially might need to OCR it to recreate it if it is required.

Dedicated App

There are certainly alternative iOS app solutions. The one I use is Brava! Doc Merge. Watermarking is available as a “location” (?) option under it’s banner application features. This can only apply text based watermarks, so in that respect, it isn’t as flexible as Shortcuts, but the text layer does remain intact.

Offload to the Cloud

There are of course a number of web services out there that will process PDFs, including applying watermarks. If you find one with an API, then you could presumably use that with Shortcuts.

Offload to a Private Cloud

If you have an always on Mac for example, you could script some automation on that to watch a cloud sync’d folder (e.g. using Hazel) that runs some other app (e.g. PDFpen Pro, PDF Expert) to apply the watermarks. Then it should just be a case of uploading it to the right cloud storage location and letting it run the update.

You could even use non-Mac machines such as a cheap Raspberry Pi to run a pdftk based action against the file (here’s a reference to pdftk and watermarking) and you could trigger a script using cron periodically, or ad hoc over an SSH connection (e.g. from Shortcuts). There may just be a couple of extra hoops to jump through on getting your PDF onto the box, but that can also be achieved over SSH.

Hopefully there’s some food for thought there.


Hi. Amazing answer. There’s certainly a lot of options. Many many thanks

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