I know that there is a very similar question, but I'm not interested in highlighting. What I'm looking for is some tool in Linux to edit pdf files. I've tried pdfedit which did the work for me, but if freezes after a few edits. I've tried this tool under Ubuntu 9.10 and under KDE Fedora 14 and the same thing happens. I've tried Okular but the notations are too big to fill out exercises from pdf workbooks.

Is there any tool that suits this job? I don't care whether it is open source or I have to pay a reasonable price for it.

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    I have just discovered that LibreOffice Draw does very good job editing PDF files. I have test it with some PDF files created with Adobe InDesign and Illustrator. – Елин Й. Apr 17 '13 at 11:46
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    I just checked out LibreOffice Draw, and it butchered the original PDF, and thus editing isn't even worth attempting. – virtualxtc Aug 4 '14 at 15:48
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    Didn't have any problems with a complex two pages PDF using LibreOffice Draw . – saveman71 Jul 3 '15 at 22:31
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    I must agree with @virtualxtc LibreOffice Draw totally massacres PDF files, text being moved out of alignment. It is NOT currently fit for purpose for PDF editing. – aSystemOverload Jul 23 '15 at 15:01
  • try Xournal, superuser.com/a/380237/455690 .. works very good.. – MycrofD Sep 20 '18 at 7:25

14 Answers 14


For PDF editing I have used a PDF Annotator flpsed Install flpsed . You are able to save edited files in postscript format or in PDF.

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    Simple, but works nicely and smoothly. After you type your annotation it's easy to place it in the right place. It also respected the document layout. – alxlenc Dec 8 '10 at 20:23
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    I can't say I agree with Chuck. I found flpsed to be very slow and most importantly not very gracious in handling PDF files. Exported documents are saved as bitmaps and loose all vector and text information. – Glutanimate Apr 18 '13 at 6:59
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    horrible editor ... – Timmy Feb 18 '14 at 15:37
  • I don't know if they've improved since the above comments but in Ubuntu 16.10 it let me edit the form the bank required quickly and easily, saved the output perfectly as well. – ikt Oct 18 '16 at 10:40
  • Quite basic but really simple and quick editor for filling in form. Doesn't interfere with the original PDF graphics which is what you want when filling in forms. I have used this and then GIMP to add signatures (and export as mng and imageMagick convert mng -> pdf). – gaoithe Dec 20 '16 at 13:22

Option 1:

  • Use calibre to convert the pdf file to rtf.
  • Open the rtf file in OpenOffice.
  • Make changes and then create a pdf out of it.

Option 2:

  • PDF Studio is a complete PDF editor.But you have to pay for the developers as it is a commercial software.

Option 3:

  • Use scribus it might be useful for complex visual edits.

Option 4:

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    +1 for Xournal - what a nice tool! I like it!!! – antivirtel Apr 4 '11 at 19:30
  • calibre's conversion from PDF to RTF failed to reproduce the lines delineating tabular data. This is important since many of the PDF forms that users need to edit, or "fill in", will have grid lines. – H2ONaCl Oct 7 '12 at 6:56
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    All images in this post are dead. – That Brazilian Guy Sep 30 '15 at 19:52
  • This answer has the most votes because of Xournal. That is exactly what I needed. – Carson Ip Apr 26 '17 at 10:27
  • Note that Xournal doesn't really edit PDFs, e.g. it doesn't allow you to modify the text : it uses the PDF as a background and you can write and draw on top. – Skippy le Grand Gourou Apr 27 '17 at 9:29

I frequently use Inkscape, GIMP eg. to fill in forms. (With such utilities like Imagemagic's convert, and pdftk [because they support just a single page only, you may join pages later].)

Also they wrote, that PDF Import extension feature to LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org may do what you want.

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    Thank you, it seems to be working so far. It opens the file with Draw though. – alxlenc Dec 8 '10 at 17:29
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    You should pay attention to big tables incorporated in PDF files. A PDF Import Extension sometimes make some shifts (position distorsion) in text or tables structure. – Vincenzo Dec 8 '10 at 18:18
  • Yeah, there are two details to keep in mind with this extension. First, it changed the document layout because of position shifting. Second, when using Draw to fill out some documents it's hard to position the text in the right place. – alxlenc Dec 8 '10 at 20:18
  • LibreOffice has the import pdf feature incorporated – user47206 Jun 7 '12 at 15:50
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    In Ubuntu 12.04: sudo apt-get install libreoffice-pdfimport.Worked very well for me indeed, allowing me to fill-in a pseudo-form (word-created form for humans, not a real pdf form) exactly at the right places by selecting the line of placeholder dots in the pdf. Better than a typewriter. – mivk Apr 19 '13 at 18:33

You can use pdfshuffler to delete pages and rearrange the pages if necessary.

It is available in software center. To install pdfshuffler, you can do

  sudo apt-get install pdfshuffler

Install via the software center


PDF-Shuffler is a small application which allows one to merge or split pdf documents and rotate, crop and rearrange their pages using an interactive and intuitive graphical interface.



Remove, extract, and rotate pages in PDF documents

PDF Mod is a simple tool for modifying PDF documents. It can rotate, extract, remove and reorder pages via drag and drop. Multiple documents may be combined via drag and drop. You may also edit the title, subject, author and keywords of a PDF document using PDF Mod.

sudo apt-get install pdfmod

Install via the software center

Note: this application may require quite a few dependencies related to mono.

  • I found PDF Mod to work great on some OneNote scans I had from M$ days, PDF Mod rotated them great so this prog worth looking at. – Paul B Nov 20 '14 at 22:42

You can use master PDF editor Master PDF Editor is a good application for this task.

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    Master PDF Editor is excellent! we can select and move all elements on the page! But they broke the latest 1.9.24 version... making it fail to load all images. But the 1.9.00 version works very fine! but there is no download link anymore... so found we can download it directly from here 64bits or here 32bits. – Aquarius Power Apr 1 '14 at 18:12
  • ...we can actually edit all elements on the page – Aquarius Power Apr 1 '14 at 18:18
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    I like the tool. Ubuntu One commerce site is confusing though: it states that this is a free download, yet after downloading it says "Thank you for your purchase." I have no idea if I was charged for it, and if I was, how much. – Bram May 28 '14 at 17:46
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    I was able to open a complex form, edit the text fields and save it without any issues (using the free version). Professional product. The free version has some advanced features locked, but isn't crippled. Worth the price if you need the advanced features. – DavidJ Oct 13 '16 at 14:33

you can do this withPDFzorro - PDF Editor:


here you can edit pdf files online, addcomments and text, draw retangles and lines etc..

delete, add, rotate, sort pages, merge etc..

There also exista Android-App for smartphones and a Google Chrome-Webstore-App for GoogleDrive

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    Had what I needed : erase. And the export is a true PDF. – Bryce Oct 13 '16 at 19:02
  • Was able to upload the pdf, do some simple edits; then download. Its all online; worked fairly well. – AAAfarmclub Apr 20 '18 at 0:56

Even Xournal (available in the Software center) is not bad at all, provides an entire suite of pdf editing (highlight, notes, add text...) with the free option of pdf export! Works really fine!

  • FYI Xournal is already mentioned in @karthik87's answer above. Glad you like it though, It's a great program and one of the first I install. – Tom Brossman Jul 24 '13 at 9:51

I try almost all methods above, and finally find a best method: wine Foxit Reader.

In linux, we need pdf software like adobe acrobat pro under windows. 'wine Foxit Reader' is very light and powerful.

I am now using wine Foxit Reader 2.3 in ubuntu 12.04 x86_64.


The other way would be to use Libreoffice it has a Free PDF Import mod extension


Cropping, specifically, can easily be done with BRISS, a cross-platform PDF editor.


mendeley is good at making notes and manage pdfs, but it is more like a reference manager


Make sure to try PDF Buddy, the online PDF editor- it makes editing and signing PDFs a snap.

(Disclosure: I'm a co-founder)


Personally, I tried PDF Studio and I must admit it looks original Acrobat on its features (the gui, however, is not fantastic).

The only flaw is that it is not free, but I did not regret what I spent (much less than it costs Acrobat, however). Tested on Mint and Ubuntu and it works great! If you want to be picky, the tool "Text" is limited and the interface is less rational than Acrobat's, but all in all, I would say that it is a great substitute.

One last tip: if you do not hurry, version 9 should be out in March, with many other new interesting features. The most important for me is to allow OCR for pages that already have some text content included.

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