List of PDF Editing tools for Ubuntu

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This tutorial will give some useful pdf editing tools for ubuntu users.


flpsed is a WYSIWYG pseudo PostScript1 editor. “Pseudo”, because you can’t remove or modify existing elements of a document. But flpsed lets you add arbitrary text lines to existing PostScript 1 documents. Added lines can later be reedited with flpsed. Using pdftops, which is part of xpdf one can convert PDF documents to PostScript and also add text to them. flpsed is useful for filling in forms, adding notes etc. GsWidget is now part of flpsed.
flpsed is released under the GPL.


* Add arbitrary text to existing PostScript documents.
* Reedit text, that has been added with flpsed.
* The overall structure of the PostScript document is not modified. flpsed only adds the additional text.
* Batch processing (no X11 required) to modify tagged text lines that have been entered interactively with flpsed before. This is very useful for repeatedly filling in forms.
* Text lines can be imported from other flpsed-modified documents.
* Import and export PDF. Therefore it can be used as a PDF editor as well.

Install flpsed in ubuntu

sudo apt-get install flpsed


If PDF is electronic paper, then pdftk is an electronic staple-remover, hole-punch, binder, secret-decoder-ring, and X-Ray-glasses. Pdftk is a simple tool for doing everyday things with PDF documents. Keep one in the top drawer of your desktop and use it to:

Merge PDF Documents

Split PDF Pages into a New Document

Rotate PDF Pages or Documents

Decrypt Input as Necessary (Password Required)

Encrypt Output as Desired

Fill PDF Forms with FDF Data or XFDF Data and/or Flatten Forms

Apply a Background Watermark or a Foreground Stamp

Report on PDF Metrics such as Metadata, Bookmarks, and Page Labels

Update PDF Metadata

Attach Files to PDF Pages or the PDF Document

Unpack PDF Attachments

Burst a PDF Document into Single Pages

Uncompress and Re-Compress Page Streams

Repair Corrupted PDF (Where Possible)

Pdftk allows you to manipulate PDF easily and freely. It does not require Acrobat, and it runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and Solaris.

Install pdftk in ubuntu

sudo apt-get install pdftk


Merge Two or More PDFs into a New Document

pdftk 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf cat output 123.pdf

or (Using Handles):

pdftk A=1.pdf B=2.pdf cat A B output 12.pdf

or (Using Wildcards):

pdftk *.pdf cat output combined.pdf

Split Select Pages from Multiple PDFs into a New Document

pdftk A=one.pdf B=two.pdf cat A1-7 B1-5 A8 output combined.pdf

Rotate the First Page of a PDF to 90 Degrees Clockwise

pdftk in.pdf cat 1E 2-end output out.pdf

Rotate an Entire PDF Document's Pages to 180 Degrees

pdftk in.pdf cat 1-endS output out.pdf

Encrypt a PDF using 128-Bit Strength (the Default) and Withhold All Permissions (the Default)

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foopass

Same as Above, Except a Password is Required to Open the PDF

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz

Same as Above, Except Printing is Allowed (after the PDF is Open)

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz allow printing

Decrypt a PDF

pdftk secured.pdf input_pw foopass output unsecured.pdf

Join Two Files, One of Which is Encrypted (the Output is Not Encrypted)

pdftk A=secured.pdf mydoc.pdf input_pw A=foopass cat output combined.pdf

Uncompress PDF Page Streams for Editing the PDF Code in a Text Editor

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.clear.pdf uncompress

Repair a PDF's Corrupted XREF Table and Stream Lengths (If Possible)

pdftk broken.pdf output fixed.pdf

Burst a Single PDF Document into Single Pages and Report its Data to doc_data.txt

pdftk mydoc.pdf burst

Report on PDF Document Metadata, Bookmarks and Page Labels

pdftk mydoc.pdf dump_data output report.txt


Complete editing of pdf documents is made possible with PDFedit. You can change either raw pdf objects (for advanced users) or use predefined gui functions. Functions can be easily added as everything is based on a scripts.

Scripting is used to a great extent in editor and almost anything can be scripted, it is possible to create own scripts or plugins.

Install pdfedit in ubuntu

sudo apt-get install pdfedit

Using GIMP

Install krita using the following command

sudo apt-get install krita

Open the Gimp, and open the PDF document you wish to edit. For multiple page documents, it is easier on your computer to edit them one page at a time. If you choose more than one page, they will open in individual windows.

Make the necessary changes to the document.Save the document as a Gimp XCF file (you'll have to save several different pages if it is a multi-page document). Close the document, then open the resulting image in Krita.

Printing to PDF with Krita Go to File>Print, then choose Print to PDF. In the same dialogue box, choose the destination folder and name of the output document (such as file1.pdf).


PDF Mod is a simple application for modifying PDF documents.

You can reorder, rotate, and remove pages, export images from a document, edit the title, subject, author, and keywords, and combine documents via drag and drop.


An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.

Install inkscape in Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install inkscape

PDF Import Extension for Openoffice

The PDF Import Extension allows you to import and modify PDF documents. Best results with 100% layout accuracy can be achieved with the "PDF/ODF hybrid file" format, which this extension also enables. A hybrid PDF/ODF file is a PDF file that contains an embedded ODF source file. Hybrid PDF/ODF files will be opened in as an ODF file without any layout changes. Users without this extension can open the PDF part of the hybrid file with their PDF viewer.

The PDF Import Extension also allows you to import and modify PDF documents for non hybrid PDF/ODF files. PDF documents are imported in Draw to preserve the layout and to allow basic editing. This is the perfect solution for changing dates, numbers or small portions of text with a minimum loss of formatting information for simple formatted documents.


* Text attributes like font family, font size, weight (bold, not bold), style (italic, not italic) are imported together with their respective text
* Retain font appearance, when a PDF file uses a font not installed on your system, the font is replaced with the best alternative font
* Converts images and vector graphics
* Each line in a paragraph is converted into one text object
* Import of password-protected PDF files
* Import shapes with default style
* Support for colors and bitmaps
* Backgrounds remain behind other elements

Not supported:

* Native PDF forms
* Proper paragraphs
* Processing layout of LaTeX PDF
* Import of complex vector graphics elements
* Conversion of tables
* Import of EPS graphics
* RTL (right-to-left) text/font support

Download PDF Import Extension for openoffice from here


PDF-Shuffler is a small python-gtk application, which helps the user to merge or split pdf documents and rotate, crop and rearrange their pages using an interactive and intuitive graphical interface. It is a frontend for python-pyPdf.

Install PDF-Shuffler in ubuntu

Edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

For Jaunty users add following lines

deb jaunty main
deb-src jaunty main

For Intrepid  users add following lines

deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main

For Hardy users add following lines

deb hardy main
deb-src hardy main

Save and exit the file

Download GPG key

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 4F4EE17E

Update sourcelist

sudo apt-get update

Install pdf-shuffler

sudo apt-get install pdfshuffler

Other tools



If you know some application for editing pdf files in ubuntu please share .

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40 Responses

  1. Lucas says:

    Thank you very much! I didn’t know about pdftk and needed some pages removed from a file – pdfedit apparently has a memory leak issue… pdftk works just fine!

  2. John says:

    Do any of these support the tab order in PDF Forms?

  3. Menner says:

    The Java based tool pdfsam (PDF Split and Merge) is very handy and easy to use. It works with OpenJDK and can be installed on Ubuntu via APT.

  4. Pana says:

    These tools are hardly satisfactory. What desktop Linux users need is something like Acrobat Professional or PDF-xchange. People need to annotate and highlight and save on the pdf. And this should be readable by Acrobat and any other pdf application. The lack of ANY good Linux application to do this is a MAJOR limitation, whatever other virtues Linux may have! In fact there are such applications for Android Linux (foxit reader for smartphone anyone?) How desktop Linux can lack such a basic feature and still advertise itself as an alternative is beyond me. And I’ve been using it forever, with pdfxchange over wine as my solution. That’s a poor solution (with issues) and I am driven straight to MacOSX.

  5. Legion says:

    Xournal is on the post for this features…

  6. Michiel says:

    For commenting PDF files, I find xournal the best tool.

  7. CarlesCM says:

    I searching to split, merge and rotate PDF, and “pdfmod” do all this task in GUI (much easy for a simple users).
    Thanks a lot for this post!!!

  8. Mark Harris says:

    Thanks for this. What I found interesting was that I can open PDFs in LibreOffice Draw in Windows but not in Linux. In the end (after trying GIMP and Inkscape for editing text), it was easier to go back to the source app and generate the PDF again.

  9. Rb Lu says:

    If you are using GIMP (which works well for editing at least some PDFs for me,

    then you can do this after you are done editing:

    in File menu, choose Export As, and in the dialog window, set the file type to Portable Document Format (*.pdf)

    Then you needed to use GIMP only and result is good!

  10. Jasper says:

    I’m using Ubuntu, and LibreOffice Draw works just fine for me, except that it only works on 1 page at a time (the rest of the document just disappears). Using pdftk’s burst and cat functions fixed this problem for me – I split the document into several pages, edited these pages one at a time, and put them back together.

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