I have a pdf file shown upside down. So I use Okular to rotate it and it looks good. The problem is, The next time I open it with other software, it's still upside down. If I open it with Okular, it is not.

I am wondering what's happening underhood.

  • I do have write permission on that file.
  • I tried "save a copy to", but no effect. Actually, there is no save operation needed to be done. The file seems not even been modified after I rotate in Okular.
  • there is also PDFsam which the basic version seems to be Free and Open Source. it is also cross platform! – Foad Dec 9 '18 at 12:17

According to the man page for pdftk, one of the operations is rotate and you can save the rotated file:

The page rotation setting can cause pdftk to rotate pages and
documents. Each option sets the page rotation as follows (in
degrees): north: 0, east: 90, south: 180, west: 270, left:
-90, right: +90, down: +180. left, right, and down make
relative adjustments to a page's rotation.

However, pdftk is quite powerful and it's better that you read the man pages and use pdftk --help to meet your exact needs.

If you want to take a look at man pdftk without installing it, here's a link for 13.10: http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/saucy/en/man1/pdftk.1.html

  • 3
    Thanks. "pdftk A.pdf cat 1S output B.pdf". Now, the new pdf file is rotated, no matter opened by any tool. – Peng Zhang Jan 24 '14 at 3:31
  • Thanks for pointing out that even cat can rotate! – user25656 Jan 24 '14 at 3:35

Another great and tiny program for this is PDF-Shuffler.

merge or split pdf documents and rotate, crop and rearrange their pages using an interactive and intuitive graphical interface


You can install it from the software center, or through the command-line:

sudo apt-get install pdfshuffler


0.6.0 on Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela

Rotate a page

  1. open a PDF (click the + button) ;
  2. select the page you want to rotate ;
  3. click the rotate icon or (or use the menu) ;

Rotate several pages

If you want to rotate all pages, click on one, then press Ctrl+a to select all.

Or you can select as many as you want individually by holding down Ctrl as you select.

  • 2
    Perfect, especially for anyone trying to avoid doing this in a terminal. It can also be installed from the Ubuntu Software Center. – Garrett Apr 18 '15 at 0:09
  • The rotate functions do not work in version 0.6 (Ubuntu 15.04). – Luís de Sousa Jul 8 '15 at 9:24
  • @LuísdeSousa do not work is rather vague. What happens? It's working in 0.6 for me on 14.04. Have you tried another PDF, perhaps a very simple one? – Nateowami Jul 8 '15 at 10:42
  • Do not work == produce no effect at all. – Luís de Sousa Jul 8 '15 at 13:42
  • 1
    @LuísdeSousa You have to select a page to rotate. If you want to rotate them all, click on one to select it, then press Ctrl + A to select all, and finally click rotate. Does that work for you? – Nateowami Jul 8 '15 at 23:33

To clarify, this is what you use to rotate 180 degrees:

   pdftk input.pdf cat 1-endsouth output output.pdf
#        \_______/     \___/\___/        \________/
#        input file    range  |          output file
#                           direction

Where direction can be any of these:

  • north
  • south
  • east
  • west
  • left
  • right
  • down

Okular and other PDF viewers like Evince (part of GNOME) or Atril (part of the MATE desktop) rotate only the view of the PDF and when saving, the changes are kept in the Application settings but the PDF itself is not rotated.

There are other Desktop applications like pdf-shuffler and pdfmod and command line tools like pdftk that allow you to do what you want.

  • This information already present in other answers – Anwar Sep 6 '16 at 10:58
  • 1
    @Anwar Actually no, this answer contains the crucial information about why Okular does not offer the option to save the rotated PDF, and what it is really doing under the hood, which is not present in any of the other answers. – David Z Dec 23 '16 at 10:16

There's also PDF Mod. Looks to be very similar to pdfshuffler, but I've never used pdfshuffler. I've been using PDF Mod for years.

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