A good Linux PDF editor is hard to find unless you test them all, and that's exactly what we've done. After reviewing several popular and lesser-known free PDF editors for Linux, we've curated the Top 5 Best Free PDF Editors for Linux. We're also showcasing a powerful and absolutely free PDF editor for Windows and Mac - UPDF.
Qoppa PDF Studio is a professional PDF editor for Linux, Windows, and Mac that lets you manipulate PDF content, add annotations, secure PDF files with passwords and digital signatures, and compare PDFs for differences.
PDF Studio is not free but you can take it for a test run during the free trial period, after which an upgrade is required. It works with Ubuntu and other distros so you can test it out on whatever you're using. It's easy to master this PDF editor for Linux since the interface has a very native feel to it. It might take a while for first-time users to get the hang of the navigation, but the ribbon-style toolbar layout is ideally suited to Windows users.
- Full-fledged PDF editing
- Extensive annotation tools
- File conversion, batch processing, and other advanced features
- Not a free Linux application
- The interface takes a little getting used to
This powerful PDF editor can be used free with a watermark but can be upgraded to unlock the full feature set without a watermark addition. This includes PDF editing, annotations, PDF creation, and even advanced capabilities such as editing a scanned PDF file using OCR conversion.
A Major drawback of this Linux application is that it does not support the conversion of PDFs into various other file formats. However, you can create PDF documents and forms, etc from other sources. The standout feature is the OCR module, which can be used to convert scanned PDFs into searchable or editable PDF files.
- Advanced feature set for editing, creation, and OCR conversion of PDF files
- Useful PDF tools - bookmarking, PDF file and page management, annotations, form-creation and form-filling, digital signatures, etc.
- Cross-platform support - Windows, Mac, and Linux
- Not a free Linux utility
- PDF file conversions are not extensively supported
Strictly speaking, Scribus is not a full-fledged PDF editor. However, it can be used to move existing text blocks or resize them within a PDF file. It can also be used for annotations, page organizing, content highlighting, text box addition, and other PDF tasks.
The stark interface is neatly laid out and quite intuitive for a first-time user. However, the iconography takes a little getting used to - or you can use the tooltips to make your way around the UI. Scribus is more of a barebones desktop publishing tool for minor PDF edits, content addition, and so on.
- Free open-source tool
- Multiplatform support
- Easy to use
- No extensive PDF tools
- No advanced features such as OCR, etc.
This Linux PDF editor from KDE is actually a document viewer rather than a full-fledged PDF editor, but it does have some very useful features and it's absolutely free. One of these is intelligent text selection, which can be used to select and copy or magnify PDF text content.
The lack of PDF editing is somewhat offset by a full array of annotation tools to mark up your PDF workflows. Other features include convenient content views such as the Content Panel and Thumbnail Panel, as well as digital signature creation, addition, and validation. The standout feature is that it also supports viewing other formats such as documents, images, comics, etc.
- Easy annotation tool
- Convenient for selecting and copying text
- Text magnifier for reading the fine print
- No PDF content editing
- No advanced features such as file conversion, batch process, OCR, etc.
#5: LibreOffice Draw
Another useful Linux PDF editor is LibreOffice Draw, which is part of the LibreOffice suite of document tools. The software can be used to edit PDF text or manipulate content any way you want, but its other capabilities are limited to PDF creation and content addition. Nevertheless, if you're using any of the other LibreOffice tools, you already have this installed on your Linux distro so why not use it? If you need a solid Linux Mint PDF editor, for instance, this is the application you may be looking for.
- Edit PDF text
- Add content - text, images, etc.
- Create PDFs
- No extensive editing tools
- No advanced PDF features such as file conversion, OCR, etc.
Since a lot of the PDF software applications for Windows and Mac are commercial utilities, you won't find that many full-featured PDF editors that are free. That has now changed dramatically with the introduction of UPDF into the market.
- 100% free premium PDF editor - no watermark, no ads, no limits
- Full suite of PDF tools - read, edit, annotate, organize, etc.
- Fast and responsive software
- Add annotations and comments to the PDF
- Organize the pages in a PDF document
- Modify the text and images in the PDF document
Most premium PDF editors do have free versions, but they are either feature-limited, give you a watermarked output file, or the free version expires after a few days. UPDF is the only premium PDF editor that is free forever. There are no limitations on any of the features and every utility is fully unlocked as soon as you download and install the product. OCR conversion is highly accurate, as is the conversion engine that supports converting PDFs to and from other file types. The output is of high quality and most processes can be completed in seconds, even with heavy PDF workflows. The software has taken cues from the world's top premium PDF editors and replicated their performance in a product that's completely free, easy to use, and extremely useful for Windows and Mac users looking to up their PDF game and become more productive without having to spend hundreds of dollars toward a subscription or a perpetual license.
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