We have covered PDF editors in great detail before, whether you are looking for an open-source PDF editor or one that is worth your hard-earned money, there is one just for you. Today, I am going to take a look at the ever so popular Linux platform, and its equally famous sibling, Ubuntu. As both of them are used by thousands of developers and programmers across the world, we wanted to know which PDF editor are they using to get the job done.
As it turns out, their choices are not so different than our own. Some of these PDF editors are even popular in the TW office. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best PDF editors for the Linux and Ubuntu platform, both free and paid.
Note that while Adobe has a product, Acrobat Pro, for the Windows and Mac platform, the company that pioneered the PDF standard has failed to support the Linux platform for some reason. While expensive with a subscription plan, Adobe Acrobat Pro is still one of the best PDF editors in the town on any given day.
Best PDF Editor For Ubuntu
1. LibreOffice Draw
Don’t let the name fool you. Though it may seem that LibreOffice Draw is only good for drawing and annotating, it is also equally good at editing PDF files on the go on Linux distros. Most Linus distros like Fedora and Ubuntu come with LibreOffice pre-installed. Yes, it is that popular, trusted, and open-source.
One limitation is the fact that LibreOffice Draw cannot edit scanned PDF files. So, if you scanned a document using your smartphone, which many of us do nowadays, you are out of luck because that would need OCR tech as the scans are originally images.
You can edit text, add/remove pages, fill-in forms, annotate, and do a lot more with LibreOffice Draw. While LibreOffice works right out of the box most of the time, if you are dealing with complex PDF files, it may scramble the fonts, only sometimes, or render the output all wrong. This is why I will be looking at some other PDF editors below.
- Free and mostly pre-installed
- Dependable and easy to use
- Cross-platform support
- Can’t edit scanned PDFs
- Can’t handle very complex PDFs
Download LibreOffice Draw (Free, open-source)
Different people have different needs and we understand that. For example, a lot of people are just looking for a fast and efficient tool to split and merge PDF files. What’s more? They want to be able to do it using the command line because that is where Linux really shines. Once you learn to work with it, it’s beautiful. For you guys, I would suggest PDFtk (toolkit – in case you’re wondering).
Also Read: 9 Best PDF Editors That Are Worth Your Money
PDFtk will let you merge two or more PDF files on the fly with minimal effort. Want to remove a page you don’t like from the final report before submission? PDFtk will remove it in a jiffy. The free version works fine with the command line and if you need GUI, pro version will cost only $3.99.
- Really fast
- Free (command line users)
- Only good for splitting/merging PDFs
Download PDFtk (Freemium)
Try Inkscape which is a free and open-source PDF editor that also doubles as an excellent graphics editor. You can import and edit PDF documents, but only one page at a time. A lot of users still prefer and recommend Inkscape because it can redact text, annotate, and handles fonts correctly most of the time.
It is very similar to LibreOffice Draw that we covered earlier and GIMP which is another image editor capable of handling PDF files.
- Free and open-source
- Can edit and handle fonts nicely
- Cross-platform support
- Multi-page support missing
Download Inkscape (Free)
4. PDF Studio – Qoppa
Looking for something more professional? A full-fledged PDF editor? Qoppa offers PDF Studio is two different flavors and both are paid. I guess you do get what you pay for. While above-mentioned PDF editors are image/vector editors first, PDF Studio was built from the ground up to offer advanced PDF functions on all platforms including Linux.
You can not only edit PDF files but also scan and create new ones. Other features include annotation, form-fill, add/remove pages, watermarks, and create ToC. The Pro version adds more functionality like the ability to redact text, edit inline text, OCR to edit scanned pages, split/merge, and batch processing which will save everyone a lot of time.
- Advanced editing features
- Not free
Download PDF Studio – Qoppa (Starts at $89)
5. Master PDF Editor
Master PDF Editor is probably one of the oldest PDF editor software designed for the Linux platform. There are two versions to choose from. The unregistered version, which is free, will let you create new PDF files, edit old ones, add/remove pages, split or merge PDF files, and annotate and comment on the same. The free version should be good enough for most users.
The Commercial version, more suitable for companies or small startups, will allow buyers to add watermarks, support 256-bit encryption for added security, sign documents digitally, and optimize PDF files to save valuable space and bandwidth. It will cost you $69.95.
The UI is a little dated and not very intuitive but will get the job done easily and effectively.
- Easy to use
- Free version good enough
- Un-intuitive UI
Master PDF Editor (Free or $69.95)
Also Read: 5 Best PDF Editor Apps For Android
6. Apache OpenOffice Draw
Notice how so many PDF editors have the word Draw in their name? This is because these are graphics editors that can also handle PDF files. This shows how Linux, though widely used, is still lagging behind the likes of Windows and Mac which are more user-friendly and with much better options. Apache OpenOffice is more comparable to LibreOffice in that it is a full office suite.
OpenOffice Draw can be used to change PDF objects, sign and fill documents, and annotate with a number of options. There are some external plugins available for OpenOffice that can further let you create new PDF files.
- Comes with plugins
- Not as robust as paid solutions
Download Apache OpenOffice Draw (Price)
Unlike OpenOffice, PDFedit, which is also a free and open source PDF editor, will let you edit text also with ease. You can easily add or edit text, images, and other objects inside PDF files. Other basic features are all there as a sign, fill, annotation but because it is free and open-source, there is no cloud storage support.
Note that PDFedit has not seen active development for the past two years. Though the Linux PDF editor still works, I would recommend giving others a try.
- Easy to use
- Free and open source
- Not in active development
Download PDFedit (Free)
Okular is a popular KDE PDF editor for Linux platform but is also available on Windows and Mac. You can easily select a part of the text to edit it in the Clipboard section. Not the best way to edit a PDF document but gets the job done and you will quickly get used to the concept. Other than that, it is also a good tool for drawing which means more options for annotations.
Okular is a very good PDF editor but if you are looking for advanced features or work with PDF files day in and day out, there are better solutions listed in this very guide.
- Free, open source
- Full-text editor
Download Okular (Price)
Which is the best PDF Editor for Ubuntu?
If you are looking a simple PDF tool that can quickly help you with splitting and merging PDF files then PDFtk is a light-weight editor that will work the best for you.
If you want a decent PDF editor for Linux or Ubuntu that can do more like edit text, sign, annotate, and so on, then LibreOffice Draw or Okular are good solutions. They are also free and open-source.
If you are willing to pay money and want a feature-rich solution that is scalable then Qoppa is a powerful PDF editor.
Pick your PDF editor or let us know which one are you using and why? Did we miss anything?