I have a large collection of PDF files and am looking forward to an application that:

  • Is easy to install (Available in repositories)
  • Is portable (migration to other computer running linux or windows should be easy)
  • Allows annotating and tagging/ categorizing the PDFs
  • Allows searching the text of PDFs, metadata, annotations, tags, etc.
  • Allows batch import of PDFs
  • Also allows importing PDFs without requiring to copy the physical files
  • Is preferably open-source
  • Allows backing up of library on-line

Any suggestions? Please mention if your suggestion does not have any features mentioned above.


  • have a look at this question – Anwar Sep 22 '12 at 6:47
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    @Anwar the question discusses PDF readers. I am looking more at PDF managers (Rhythmbox vs. music player that takes a filename as an input and plays it). – deshmukh Sep 22 '12 at 6:55
  • Being portable is not very easy as Windows programs != Linux programs. You can try to find one that is available for both systems and can share a library. – ζ-- Sep 22 '12 at 6:55
  • @ObsessiveFOSS it should be easy to (at least) move form Computer A running Distribution A of linux to Computer B running Flavor B :) – deshmukh Sep 22 '12 at 6:58
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    Cross distro is a bit easier if you use a tar.gz installation archive. It will be harder to Windows. – ζ-- Sep 22 '12 at 6:59

Calibre and Mendeley would come to mind. Nr. 1 is in the official repositories, Nr. 2 available as a .deb package. Both are cross-platform and fulfill most of your requirements.

Another viable option might be Zotero. Here's a comparison to Mendeley.

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    Very impressed with Zotero. Does the job very well. – deshmukh Oct 2 '12 at 6:25
  • Indeed, it does! I just love its integration with Chrome and LibreOffice. – Glutanimate Oct 2 '12 at 12:47

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