PDF or Portable Document Format is usually our first choice when it comes to printing, sharing, and sending documents, especially larger documents. On Windows and macOS, you probably are familiar with and rely on the widely used Acrobat products for viewing and editing PDF files. Unfortunately, there is no standard PDF editor on your Linux systems. However, you can install Acrobat products via Wine on Ubuntu or use a variety of other Linux-based PDF viewing and editing programs. Although these products are nothing like the many useful Acrobat tools, they can help you with basic PDF editing.
Below is a list of products we’ve researched and found some readily available and free for your purpose:
- LibreOffice Draw (free and available by default on most Linux distros)
- Inkscape (Free, available on the snap store)
- Qoppa PDF Studio (Non-free, free trial available)
- Master PDF Editor (Non-free, a basic free version available)
- Okular (free)
- Scribus (free)
- PDF Escape (online, browser-based and free)
- Gimp (Free)
- Foxit Editor (Non-free, free trial version available)
In this article, we will explain where to find the free ones and how to download them to your system for simple pdf editing.
We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu system.
Edit PDF Files with LibreOffice Draw
If you are looking for basic pdf editing functions such as editing of text, LibreOffice Draw is the right tool for you. It is part of the LibreOffice package and is mostly available by default in most Linux distros. If your system lacks it, you can easily install it from the Ubuntu Software Manager:
In order to edit a pdf file, launch LibreOffice Draw from the system Dash as follows:
Then open the pdf file you want to edit from the File menu:
Then, make the alterations to your file; I have added some random text to my Dummy PDF file:
You then need to export the edited file to pdf by using the following icon:
This will save the output as a pdf file.
If you get an input/output error while exporting the file, you can save the file by some other name. When you close the file, you do not need to Save the file when you get the following message:
Click the Don’t Save button and your file will be saved as a pdf file only.
Edit PDF files with PDF Editor
A very simple tool for PDF editing is the good old PDF Editor.
You can install it through the following method:
Open your Ubuntu command line, the Terminal, either through the system Dash or the Ctrl+alt+T shortcut.
Then enter the following commands as sudo as only an authorized user can add/remove and configure software on Ubuntu:
$ cd /tmp $ wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/l/lcms/liblcms1_1.19.dfsg-1ubuntu3_amd64.deb $ wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/libm/libmng/libmng1_1.0.10-3_amd64.deb $ wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/libp/libpng/libpng12-0_1.2.54-1ubuntu1_amd64.deb $ wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/main/q/qt-x11-free/libqt3-mt_3.3.8-b-8ubuntu3_amd64.deb $ wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/universe/p/pdfedit/pdfedit_0.4.5-2_amd64.deb sudo dpkg -i *.deb
You can clean up the created folder as follows:
$ rm *.deb
You can then launch the pdf Editor from the Dash search as follows:
Open your pdf file in the tool and edit it accordingly as follows:
Simply saving the file will save it as a pdf file.
If you uninstall the tool, you can do so by running the following command:
$ sudo apt autoremove liblcms1 libmng1 libpng12-0 libqt3-mt pdfedit
Edit PDF Files with Inkscape
Inkscape is an illustration editor which has everything needed to create professional-quality computer art. You can use it to make diagrams and illustrations, technical drawings, web graphics, clip art, and icons and logos. A collection of hands-on tutorials show you how to combine lines, shapes, and text of different types and styles to build up a picture. You can use this tool to edit your pdf files as follows:
Install it from the snap store or the Ubuntu-bionic-universe repository, both through Ubuntu Software Manager or the command line.
You can enter the following commands in your Terminal in order to install the tool:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:inkscape.dev/stable $ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install inkscape
Launch the tool either through the command line or the system Dash and open your file in Inkscape:
It provides rich functionality to edit your pdf files. After that save the file as pdf with customizable settings.
If you want, you can remove the software from your system as follows:
$ sudo apt-get remove inkscape
Edit PDF Files with GIMP
GIMP is an advanced picture editor. You can use it to edit, enhance, and retouch photos and scans, create drawings, and make your own images. It has a large collection of professional-level editing tools and filters, similar to the ones you might find in Photoshop.
GIMP can be installed through the Ubuntu Software Manager from the ubuntu-bionic-universe repository or through the Snap Store.
You can also run the following command as sudo in order to install the software through the Ubuntu command line, the Terminal:
$ sudo apt-get install gimp
The system might prompt you with a y/n option to confirm installation. Please enter Y and hit Enter after which the software will be installed on your system.
You can launch the software through the command line by entering the following command:
Or, through the system Dash as follows:
In order to edit your pdf file, open the file in GIMP as follows as use it’s rich Toolbox-tool options in order to edit your file.
If you wish to remove the software, you can do so through the Ubuntu Software manager or by using the following command in the Terminal:
$ sudo apt-get remove gimp
Using PDF Escape to edit PDF Files Online
PDF Escape is a browser-based pdf editor that you can use directly from the following website:
Simply add the file to the website through the Browse button or just drag the file to the “drop here” section.
Then click on the Save and Download icon from the left toolbar in order to save the edited file back to your system.
These were some tools that you can easily install and use to edit your pdf files. When there are such free applications available, and they serve your purpose well, why go for the costly ones!