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.

  • 9
    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. Apr 17, 2013 at 11:46
  • 2
    I just checked out LibreOffice Draw, and it butchered the original PDF, and thus editing isn't even worth attempting.
    – virtualxtc
    Aug 4, 2014 at 15:48
  • 1
    Didn't have any problems with a complex two pages PDF using LibreOffice Draw .
    – saveman71
    Jul 3, 2015 at 22:31
  • 4
    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. Jul 23, 2015 at 15:01
  • try Xournal, superuser.com/a/380237/455690 .. works very good..
    – MycrofD
    Sep 20, 2018 at 7:25

14 Answers 14


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:

  • 19
    +1 for Xournal - what a nice tool! I like it!!!
    – antivirtel
    Apr 4, 2011 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, 2012 at 6:56
  • 1
    All images in this post are dead. Sep 30, 2015 at 19:52
  • This answer has the most votes because of Xournal. That is exactly what I needed.
    – Carson Ip
    Apr 26, 2017 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. Apr 27, 2017 at 9:29

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.

  • 2
    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, 2010 at 20:23
  • 7
    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. Apr 18, 2013 at 6:59
  • 2
    horrible editor ...
    – Timmy
    Feb 18, 2014 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, 2016 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, 2016 at 13:22

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.

  • 1
    Thank you, it seems to be working so far. It opens the file with Draw though.
    – alxlenc
    Dec 8, 2010 at 17:29
  • 1
    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, 2010 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, 2010 at 20:18
  • LibreOffice has the import pdf feature incorporated
    – user47206
    Jun 7, 2012 at 15:50
  • 1
    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, 2013 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, 2014 at 22:42

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

  • 1
    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. Apr 1, 2014 at 18:12
  • ...we can actually edit all elements on the page Apr 1, 2014 at 18:18
  • 2
    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, 2014 at 17:46
  • 1
    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, 2016 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

  • 1
    Had what I needed : erase. And the export is a true PDF.
    – Bryce
    Oct 13, 2016 at 19:02
  • Was able to upload the pdf, do some simple edits; then download. Its all online; worked fairly well. Apr 20, 2018 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. Jul 24, 2013 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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