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I have some PDFs which are actually forms, with fields to fill. Is there some software that can fill those fields?

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Google Chrome works just fine for filling pdf forms – user381512 Feb 22 '15 at 23:30

10 Answers 10

PDFEdit (Click To Install on 12.04 or earlier)

Just Launch it from application -> Graphics and then click "Add text"

enter image description here

Then just draw a box and type.

enter image description here

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I don't like web sites that try to install things on my computer; so if anybody else was a bit freaked out, you can just install the "pdfedit" package. The web site you linked to is legit, it just spooked me a bit. :) – Windigo Mar 6 '11 at 18:27
@Windigo If you are referring to the Click to install link then that is perfectly fine as it will just fire up your Software Center where you can then click on Install to install the package. – Octavian Damiean Mar 6 '11 at 19:54
He was not asking for tool to edit PDF, but just to fill forms. – gsedej Mar 6 '11 at 19:55
Well you CAN full forms using this even the forms which are unfillable can be filled using this. – Alaukik Mar 7 '11 at 11:38
pdfedit does not have a package anymore in 14.04. Couldn't find it. Theres this website, though: But the last update seems to have happened in 2012. – Hinz Sep 14 '15 at 7:05

Xournal will allow you to draw/write anything on top layer of any PDF document and then export it back to PDF.

Install via the software center

To install it from the terminal, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install xournal
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But it loses the vector information of the original PDF, resulting in a lower-quality image. – Richard Dec 9 '12 at 21:39
Xournal does not actually fill forms. – RolandiXor Feb 27 '13 at 16:06
This software was easy to install and worked for me. I was able to add text and images on top of the PDF and export it back to PDF format. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 23 '15 at 20:45

Document Viewer (Evince) SHOULD be able to fill in forms, IF the document is a fillable form. Not all documents are fillable! If document does not support form filling the form, you should use tools like PDFedit or OpenOffice Draw

You can find them in Software Center

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I don't think evince works. When I save a form I have filled in the information I have entered is lost. okular appears to work however. – felix Jun 6 '14 at 8:12
Indeed, evince doesn't work. – Rho Jun 4 '15 at 14:28
Saved changes are not lost for me in Evince 3.10.3... but the saved changes are not visible in Acrobat :( – Brian Z Jan 11 at 15:45
Evince appears to be able to edit PDF's that are fillable without any issues. This is Evince version 3.16.1 running under Ubuntu 15.10. The application is called Document Viewer ("Evince" shows up under Help/About). – bgoodr Mar 19 at 3:39
Evince 3.18.2 let me very easily put text into a form on a US tax document and save it. Opening the file in xpdf, I can see the edits. Not sure if it's filling the forms the "right way", but the spacing and font look great in this limited test. – Colin Mar 29 at 22:50

I have tried Evince, Okular, PDf Chain and other not so pretty ones. The one that comes closer in the Ubuntu Software Repositories is Okular with an option to "Show Forms" which depending on the form it will or not show. I tried all of those trying to solve this question: How to fill out the forms and save the inputs in this tax report pdf file

The only one that suggest working and has been tested is PDF Edit from here and Acrobat 10 from here

I was actually surprised to learn this since there are a lot of PDF Viewers but less editors and even lesser ones that can perform Form filling and such.

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Quite frankly, even with expensive Windows software like PDF Revu I am unable to edit all forms. Seems the standard isn't clear enough or not enough people stick by it?! – 0xC0000022L Jul 6 '15 at 17:24

Abobe Reader for Linux, not open source but it handles this kind of stuff.

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Adobe has discontinued support for Linux. This link here seems to have information about how to install the Linux version:… – EboMike Nov 3 '14 at 7:13

With PDF Studio you can fill interactive PDF forms (including XFA) or you can use the typewriter tool to add text onto flat forms, then flatten into the document or save as a PDF comment.

PDF Studio 7 was in the top 10 downloads on the Ubuntu Canonical Software Center.

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7 is gone, but here's the new URL: – Hinz Sep 14 '15 at 6:56
This is proprietary software, writing a disrupting watermark on each page when used in Demo mode. – guntbert Jun 23 at 17:17

I have tried all the pdf apps in the Ubuntu repositories. All have been buggy and difficult to use.

If you want simply to fill in the blank boxes on a pdf form (such as many government forms), here is what I do: 1/ import the pdf file into GIMP, then export from GIMP into a tiff file. 2/ open LibreOffice Writer, and do; a/ set the margins to 0.1cm b/ use edit/page/background/watermark and choose the tiff file for your watermark

You will then have a page onto which you can overlay your typing onto the boxes that are now the watermark. By varying your fonts and sizes, you can get the text very close to where you want it.

Save as odt and pdf and you are done.

hope this was simple and helpful.

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Rob, In step 2, do you mean Format/Page/Background/Graphic then choose the tiff file? If that is the case, it does not seem to work. I use Open Office 3.2. Otherwise, I do not see Page under Edit. Neither do I see watermark in Open Office. I hope you tested what you suggest. If you did, please provide the details again. Much appreciated. – user148152 Apr 10 '13 at 0:18
After more than 2 years your first sentence is still mostly true, unfortunately. – Hinz Sep 14 '15 at 6:52

Since (at least) Ubuntu 14.04 Evince is able to fill the pdf with forms.

Then, if you want to save the pdf in a way that the form cannot be modified anymore, ofr example because you need to send the pdf to someone, you can just print to file the document.

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I use GIMP whenever I need to change something in PDF a document.

I know very well that PDF documents with forms – and a whole lot more awkward security holes – can be created and that some people actually use this, but I prefer that people do not send me such documents. That's why I use GIMP.

It's also not very different from printing the document and scanning it as a PDF. I don't understand why people actually do "scan to PDF" without involving OCR or some kind of re-vectorization, but this misunderstanding of the format works in my favor.

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update. "Master PDF Editor 3" enables pdf form fields to be entered by the user. It works well to fill forms, remove/add pages, reorder, add comments, etc. It should be listed in ubuntu software centre, else search for the deb file online.

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