How to create and edit PDF files in Debian 10

Linux PDF Editor

PDF or Portable Document Format is one of the most widely used and well-known file formats used to read, print and exchange documents that do not require any editing. However, sometimes it is necessary to create and edit PDF files. Unfortunately, Linux does not ship with a standard PDF editor; however, you can do some basic editing with the LibreOffice products, which are widely used for Word and spreadsheet applications.

In this article we will explain how you can use the LibreOffice products to create a PDF file under Debian OS.

In this article, we will learn:

  • Create a PDF File
  • Convert a document to PDF
  • Edit PDF Files

PDF Creation/Conversion Through LibreOffice Writer

Using the LibreOffice Writer application, you can export your documents into a pdf format. It lets you create a new PDF document or convert an already existing document to PDF format. LibreOffice Writer is part of the LibreOffice suite and is mostly included by default in almost all of the Linux distros. If it is missing from your system, you can install it easily from Debian Software Manager.

The LibreOffice Writer can be opened either via application launcher search bar or directly from the Applications list.

Libreoffice writer

In order to create a new PDF, create a new word document as you do in any word processor. Enter the text, graphics or whatever you want to add in your new PDF file. Once you are done with all text editing and formatting, click the Export as PDF icon on the toolbar as shown in the following screenshot:

PDF Icon

Alternatively,  go to File > Export as PDF using the top menu bar.

Export as PDF

The second method offers you more choices for creating your PDF file. Configure required settings otherwise leave the default and click the Export button.

PDF options

PDF Editing through LibreOffice Draw

With LibreOffice Draw utility, you can do basic PDF editing and formatting. LibreOffice draw is also a part of the LibreOffice suite which is by default installed in most Linux distributions. In case it is missing from your system, you can install it from the Debian Software Manager.

To launch LibreOffice draw, hit the super key and search for it by typing its keyword as follows:
LibreOffice Draw
From the LibreOffice Draw, go to File > Open and browse the PDF file that you want to edit:
Open PDF File
Click on the text or image to edit the document. If you click the text, text editing tools will appear while image editing tools appear if you click any image.
Editing PDF file
Once done with editing, click the PDF icon as shown in the following screenshot.
Save edited PDF file
Choose a location and name the PDF document. Then click the Save button and your edited file will be saved as PDF.
Overwrite old file with new PDF
You do not need to save the file when you get the following message while closing the file. Press the Don’t Save button to save your file as a PDF file.
Save document
LibreOffice Writer and LibreOffice Draw provide a quick and simple way for creating and editing PDF files. For basic PDF file creation and editing, these are the best suitable options. However, for advanced editing, you will need to go for Adobe products.