Linux PDF editor for manipulating PDF documents

Posted on in Categories Download of the day, FreeBSD, Howto, Linux, Linux desktop, OpenBSD, OS X, UNIX, Windows last updated December 19, 2007

Adobe Acrobat is a commercial tool for manipulating PDF files. Earlier I was using CUPs – printing system, to export PDF files. I’ve also tried out gv for the same purpose. However, I needed complete editing of pdf documents. My search ended with PDFedit software, which is free and open source editor for manipulating PDF documents. The software available in both GUI and CLI (commandline) interface.

This software also supports scripting and almost anything can be scripted. PDFedit is a low-level tool for users. You can use this software:
=> To write / create / edit PDF files.
=> Print PDF files.
=> Save PDF files.
=> Export PDF files to XML etc.

Install PDFEdit

If you are using Debian or Ubuntu Linux, enter:
$ sudo apt-get install pdfedit

Start Editing PDF Files with PDFEdit editor

To start PDFEdit, type:
$ pdfedit /path/to/pdf.file &
$ pdfedit &

PDFEdit Linux freeware pdf writer software
( Fig 01: PDFedit ~ Linux PDF maker in action [click to enlarge the image] )

Other Linux pdf maker / writer software

During my research I came across other apps to edit PDFs. I hope you will find following tools useful:

=> scribus – Open Source Desktop Page Layout / desktop publishing (DTP) application software. It works under Linux, Mac and Windows computer. This software is another good alternative to PDFEdit. Just open file using open option and you can edit PDF file. You can install scribus using apt-get command:
$ sudo apt-get install scribus

To use scribus to edit PDF files:
Start scribus > New File > Insert > Image > Double click > Select PDF file

=> flpsed – a WYSIWYG pseudo PostScript editor. This software is very fast and light weight. To install flpsed, enter:
$ sudo apt-get install flpsed
To edit file, enter:
$ flpsed /path/to/pdf-file.pdf &

=> Gimp – I’ve also used gimp for editing pdf files. However, you need basic knowledge of gimp itself for editing pdf files. GIMP is almost installed on all Linux distribution. Please note that GIMP is not elegant solution for editing pdf files.

Online PDF manipulation tool

Finally, you can always use the Internet to modify PDF files using a web browser. []


PDFEdit is the best free open source software for for Linux / Unix-like operating systems. However, it does not support editing protected or encrypted PDF files.

Further readings: