October 21, 2009 · General · Email This Post

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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 OpenOffice.org 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 http://ppa.launchpad.net/pdfshuffler/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/pdfshuffler/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

For Intrepid  users add following lines

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/pdfshuffler/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/pdfshuffler/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main

For Hardy users add following lines

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/pdfshuffler/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/pdfshuffler/ppa/ubuntu hardy main

Save and exit the file

Download GPG key

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --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 Comments to “List of PDF Editing tools for Ubuntu”

  1. Grim says:

    What about xournal? the most friendly pdf tool I met so far – and it’s in the repositories.

  2. Steve says:

    What about the PDF import extension for OpenOffice. I have found this to work very effectively. There is also PDF Split & Merge, the latest version (not in repos yet) has graphical reordering etc.

  3. Biji says:

    I use pdfedit

  4. Simon says:

    Xournal is not primarily a PDF editor, but it is easy to use for PDF annotating etc…

  5. dfb says:

    Open Office 3 has a plugin. I find it clunky, but it is a start. It is also the best thing I’ve seen for linux so far. http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/pdfimport

  6. oriolsbd says:

    With PDF-Shuffler (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=ca&sl=ca&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Falliberats.cat%2Fmanipulacio-de-fitxers-pdf%2F) you can do the same operations as with “pdftk”, but graphically. It has a PPA repository (https://launchpad.net/~pdfshuffler/+archive/ppa) in order to install it.

    In order to edit the pdf files (not only its pages, but also its content) I use the “PDF Import” extension for OpenOffice.org (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=ca&sl=ca&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Falliberats.cat%2Fedicio-de-fitxers-pdf-amb-openofficeorg%2F).


  7. Biji says:

    using pdf import (openoffice) would alter the formating of pdf when exported again
    sometime we only want to change text or number in the pdf

  8. admin says:

    @Thank you guys i have updated main article with your recommended tools

  9. Bart says:

    ImageMagick can handle pdf’s just as if it where an ordinary image files.

    Only drawback is that it rasterizes the pdf in the process.

  10. Andy says:

    Is this section a typo? It seems to conflate two separate programs.

    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).

  11. Ray says:

    pdf-Shuffler is not pdftk 😉
    Yes, pdf-Shuffler is great for simple manipulation of pages, but with pdftk you can a lot more.
    For example, decompress a pdf and edit it using a simple text editor then compress it back. A simple search-replace is sometimes all you need to edit the pdf.

  12. logik says:

    Don’t forget about PDFSam (split and merge) written in java
    sudo apt-get install pdfsam

  13. Has anyone tried Scribus? Not sure how the editing of an existing PDF goes, but as a desktop publishing app it creates very nice PDF output.

  14. josh says:

    PDF-Xchange Viewer(windows free app) with cxoffice is great to marked lines in pdf. try is easy to install.

  15. Required name says:

    I frequently have a need to compile multi-page PDFs from JPG files, either scanned or from a camera.

    I simply open them in the same directory with GQview, renaming them if I need to (this also is a way to organize them by name, say, by numbering them.)

    I then print them from GQview to a postscript file. Any individual highlighted file becomes part of a multi-page postscript document with the file names on the page bottom.

    I open the postscript file in KPDF and then print it to a PDF file. Done.

    Most of the PDF files I’ve made this way are around 50 pages.

    GIMP will also open existing PDF files as pages, which then can be converted to image files. You can then edit them as you see fit and then go through the postscript-to-PDF process outlined above.

    I’m sure there are other ways to do this, but just showing there are alternatives to a specialized PDF editing program.

    To create from scratch, I usually go the PDFLaTeX route.

  16. We’ve used Scribus successfully to edit PostScript files, which can be converted to/from PDF.

    We found this very useful for some legacy graphics and logos. The were supplied to us only as images, and they were produced so long ago that even if we had the source files, the (commercial, Mac) graphics program the designer used might not exist any longer.

  17. John M says:

    I’m going to have to try out a few of these alternate PDF tools. I use flpsed sometimes and tried to use Pdfedit on my netbook, but Pdfedit is just so slow it makes me want to tear my hair out just waiting for it to respond. I use the import feature in OOo instead right now and it works OK, but it could be better. It would be nice to have a really good, responsive PDF editor and hope one of these others will work for me.

  18. Mårten Svantesson says:

    Pstoedit is a useful tool to convert PDF (and Postscript) to various formats. I have in the past used it to convert to FIG-format, that I then could edit in XFig.

    I have also occasionally converted PDF to Postscript using pdf2ps (from Ghostscript) or pdftops (from XPdf) and then pasted the Postscipt file in XFig to be able to add elements.


  19. Satya says:

    I have tried pdftk. It’s the perfect tool I was looking for! Thanks for the information.

  20. exkludge says:

    The PDF Import Extension for Openoffice worked for me… thanks!

  21. L.R. says:

    There are no free PDF tool that can do it all on Ubuntu. I use PDF Studio, very complete and affordable.

  22. Deepak says:

    I like pdfsam for adding and removing pages as well as shuffling pages arounf in a pdf file.

  23. Josh Dillon says:

    I made a wrapper of some of these tools for quick and easy pdf margin cropping (faster than pdfcrop, for example). There is also a version that turns two-column pdfs into kindle sized pages.


  24. robert leleu says:

    I just installed flpsed in ubuntu 10.04.
    It comes in the graphic section of the menu, under the appelation of “flpsed PDF annotator” and indeed opens PDF files….and annotates

  25. John M. says:

    Should the title of this article really be “list of free PDF editing tools for Ubuntu”? Because if it’s not only the free tools you’re talking about, I don’t understand how PDF Studio didn’t make the cut. It’s definitely the most user friendly and best PDF tool on Ubuntu.

  26. Silvio Levy says:

    My vote for xournal. I was looking for something quick
    to allow me to scribble on an article. Tried inkscape and could only open one page. Then tried xournal and it worked immediately.

  27. sena says:

    fllpsed is really great. Simple but very effective. This is what I have been search for. Thanks for sharing

  28. Cedric B. says:

    Have you tried Qoppa PDFStudio Pro 7?
    It’s the best alternative for Adobe Writer under Ubuntu/Linux

  29. Launcher says:

    Xournal together with PDF Shuffler are the best.
    PDF shuffler only for appending pdfs and deleting pages which is not possible with Xournal.

    Okular does not have UNDO option,which is very important.

    The rest is worthless.

  30. Hamza says:

    You can also use LibreOffice Draw. It comes with Linux, and usually doesn’t require downloading. Plus, it’s simple!

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