2017-02-19: Tumble is now hosted on github.

2003-12-09: Tumble release 0.33 is now available for download. Release 0.33 adds preliminary support for pbm files, and a CTL_LANG conditional in the Makefile which may be disabled on platforms that don't have Flex and Bison.


Tumble is a utility to construct PDF files from one or more image files. Supported input image file formats are JPEG, and black and white TIFF files (single- or multi-page). Black and white images will be encoded in the PDF output using lossless Group 4 fax compression (ITU-T recommendation T.6). This provides a very good compression ratio for text and line art. JPEG images will be preserved with the original coding.

The current version of Tumble will only work on little-endian systems, such as x86, VAX, and Alpha. The byte order dependencies will be fixed in a later release.

The input and output files can be specified on the command line. Alternatively, a control file, typically with a ".tum" suffix, may be used which allows for more control over the files and options.

The general command line syntax is:

tumble [options] <input>... -o <output.pdf>

The options in this mode are:

-v verbose
-b <fmt> create bookmarks

If the "-b" option is given, bookmarks will be created using the format string, which may contain arbitrary text and/or the following format specifiers:

%F file name, sans suffix e.g., "foo.tif" will just appear as "foo"
%p page number of input file, useful for multipage TIFF files

There is currently no documentation for the control file syntax, as it is still being refined, and many of the options planned for use in control files are not yet fully implemented. Features that will be available in control files include:

As compared to some other utilities, Tumble has fewer restrictions on the B&W TIFF files provided as input. The compression method and number of rows per strip does not matter, as Tumble decompresses each image from the TIFF file then recompresses it using an efficient G4 compressor. The only known limitation is that TIFF files encoded as tiles rather than strips are not supported, but in practice this is rarely done.


tumble is made available under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's General Public License, Version 2.

Source code is available from github.

Similar programs

Last updated February 19, 2017

Copyright 2003, 2017 Eric Smith


Best Viewed With Any Browser Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!

check now

check now