Start editing PDF files on Linux distros like Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04; CentOS, Linux Mint Debian, Manjaro, and more using these free but best Linux PDF editor software.
PDF readers and editors are a popular part of our day-to-day work related to documents, ebooks, presentations, whitePaper, and more because of PDF’s portability and security. However, when it comes to reader applications for PDF files, you will generally find a one on Linux desktop systems, easily. However, PDF editors may still need to be installed, which are available only a handful.
Adobe developed the PDF (portable document format) in such a way that it can present the layout in the final document as it is, anywhere, regardless of the OS system or software in which you are going to use it later. Therefore, editing PDF files afterward is not an easy task- apart from the standard note and comment functions. However, Adobe offers a professional PDF editor for Mac and Windows but that also has limited capabilities. This means we can edit all PDF files not thoroughly like we do Word documents.
As PDF is an open format and doesn’t restrict to Adobe only, thus, various third-party paid, free and open-source software emerged to handle it. Some of them can edit files to some extent while others are only capable of merging, splitting, extracting, annotating, and compressing PDF files.
Well, if you ask how to edit PDF files in Linux many people suggest using Adobe on Linux using Wine. However, that still is not the best method because heavy documents often crash the software.
Some best PDF editors for Ubuntu & other Linux
1. Master PDF Editor on Ubuntu & CentOS
It is one of the popular PDF editors available for Ubuntu and CentOS Linux systems. Master PDF offers a variety of functions to deal with PDF documents. However, it is available in the personal and commercial versions, thus, the free version which is personal will have some limitations.
The free version of Master PDF editor for Linux offers:
- Edit bookmarks in PDF files
- Provides the ability to create a new PDF document from a scanner or existing file(s)
- Comment and annotate PDF documents
- Split and merge PDF documents
Whereas, if you want more such as Edit PDF text and images, PDF Form creation, Add/Edit Document Actions; Add Headers and Footers, Watermarks, Backgrounds; 256 bit AES encryption, and more than one has to go for the Commercial version. Learn how to install Master PDF free version on Ubuntu 20.04.
Inkscape is a drawing program and works like Adobe photoshop to deal with PDF files. When importing a PDF document, the user can have the PDF fonts replaced by installed fonts with similar names. Its interface is quite good and lets you easily select text and edit them. Apart from that being a vector graphics program, we can deal with different graphics present in PDF files. However, it is not a multi-page editor program like LibreOffice, thus when you import multiple PDF files it will only select the first one to edit.
You can restrict the export to selected parts of the drawing and convert the texts into paths or lines. Inkscape imported his self-written PDF almost perfectly, only merging the text frames one on top of the other into one large one.
The software is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.
3. LibreOffice Draw for PDF editing
LibreOffice doesn’t need any introduction, it has been around for a very long time and cannot only deal with Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents even support PDF file creation and editing. The office suite of LibreOffice comes with a Draw module that can open and edit PDF files, however, don’t expect much from it other than basic PDF editing. In Draw, the PDF files become temporarily like images, and with the help of various tools one can modify, edit, save, and create PDF files for free.
If desired, bookmarks, comments and a watermark created from any text can be transferred to the PDF. Therefore, it is not a PDF editor for Linux like the Adobe Acrobat (Windows only), however worth trying.
4. Qoppa PDF Studio editor – Free trail
Qoppa is a paid option to edit files in Windows, Linux, or macOS, however, one can try it for free by downloading the trial version. It comes with a good range of features to compete with Adobe Acrobat.
- Create PDFs
- OCR (Text Recognition)
- Digitally Sign PDFs
- Annotate and Markup PDFs
- Fill In & Save PDF Forms
- Secure Documents
- Append / Delete Pages
- Create Watermarks, Headers, Footers
- Supports the new PDF 2.0 standards
- And more…
You can install this PDf editor on Ubuntu or any other Linux by downloading its installation script from the official website and running it using the command
sh ./PDFStudio_linux.sh. PDF studio is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
Although Okular is not a PDF editor like the one mentioned above, however instead a reader with basic editing skills, or rather I say annotating with the help of pop-ups & inline notes; freehand line drawing, highlighter, stamp, and other features.
Furthermore, after opening PDF files in Okular, we can copy text and save images from them. Okular is a cross-platform application and is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Of course, Linux distros deprive of some solid free PDF editors, however, actually, the PDF format itself was developed to keep the layout and other items as it’s so that people couldn’t change things randomly on any file. Yet, the tools given here are enough to edit PDF files, nevertheless, when it comes to editing PDFs of scanned documents, even Adobe Acrobat is not perfect as well.
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