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5 Best Open Source PDF Editors (Features, Pros, Cons)

As a developer, finding the best open-source PDF editor means that you gain access to features that do not exist previously by tweaking the tool by yourself. Additionally, a huge community of other developers is helpful since others tweak the tool for increasing its usefulness.

However, picking the right one can be tricky, and this article aims at exploring the goods and the bads in the top picks according to the features offered, pros and cons.

Part 1. 5 Best Open Source PDF Editors (Tested)

Here are our top 5 picks for the open source PDF editing tools for different operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

1. PDFsam Basic - The Best Free Open Source PDF Editor for Windows, Mac, Linux

PDFsam is a free, open-source PDF editor that provides a number of features for working with PDF files. It is created in Java which is a popular programming language known for its efficiency and portability. PDFsam Basic can function reliably across several operating systems because to Java.

It's an easily adaptable software that works with users of Windows, Mac, and Linux, among other operating systems. While it brings most basic editing features, it lacks advanced features like OCR.

open source pdf editor pdfsam

Key Features:

  • Merge + Split PDFs
  • Extract pages from PDF
  • Mix PDF pages when merging
  • Rotate PDF

Platform Supported

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux


  • User friendly interface
  • Does not add any watermarks
  • Cross-platform compatibility


  • Outdated user interface

It is the best pick for its straightforward usage experience for mainstream PDF editing tasks like merging, splitting, etc.

2. PDFedit  - The Best Free Open Source PDF Editor on Windows

PDFedit is a PDF editing software that is focused on Windows users only. It meets the demands of both power users and beginners by providing a wide range of options for modifying and editing PDF documents. C++ is a programming language known for its effectiveness and speed, and it is used in the development of PDFedit.

It can easily handle complex PDF editing tasks thanks to C++. Even though its interface looks old in comparison to most modern apps, the performance with complex and large files is exceptional.

open source pdf editor pdfedit

Key Features:

  • Text editing and annotations
  • Graphics editing
  • Page organization and manipulation
  • Conversion

Platform Supported

  • Windows only


  • Completely free and open source
  • Comes with advanced editing features
  • Direct PFDF editing


  • Comes with a steep learning curve

It is best for its graphics editing functionalities making it a great choice for users who want more in-depth control over their graphic PDF editing.

3. XpdfReader - The Best Free Open Source for Windows, Linux and Mac

XpdfReader is a very effective PDF reader and editor that works with a variety of operating systems. C++ is used largely in the development of XpdfReader, which is renowned for its outstanding performance and control over system resources.

Hence, C++ makes it it powerful enough to function well on several systems using different operating systems. Even with such great performance claims, it misses some of the most useful and basic features like form filling, image handling, annotations, etc.

open source pdf editor xpdfreader

Key Features:

  • PDF reader/viewer
  • Supports search in PDF
  • Compatible with command line tools
  • PDF text extraction feature available

Platform Supported

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Mac


  • Less hardware intensive tool
  • Excellent performance
  • Simple user interface with support for CLI


  • Annotation features are not available

It is the best choice for its reliability since it has been available since 1965 and is regularly updated making it a mature open source tool.

4. PDF4QT - The Best Open-Source PDF Editor for Windows and Linux

PDF4QT provides users on Linux and Windows systems flexible options for editing PDFs. The integration of this tool with the Qt framework provides a intuitive user interface and strong functionality. C++ is used in the development of PDF4QT, which interfaces with the Qt framework—a well-liked collection of frameworks for creating cross-platform software.

High speed is guaranteed by the combinational usage of C++ and Qt, which helps to create an interface that is easier to use and more aesthetically pleasing while also being highly functional.

open source pdf editor pdf4qt

Key Features:

  • PDF graphics management
  • PDF annotations
  • Support for PDF forms
  • Editing, merging, splitting, etc.

Platform Supported

  • Windows
  • Linux


  • Advanced editing capabilities
  • Allows adding encryption and password based document security
  • Cross-platform support


  • No support for Mac users

It is a great pick since it provides advanced features with a modern interface. It also supports Qt framework for advanced editing capabilities.

5. PDFCreator- The Best Open Source on Windows for Personal Use

PDFCreator brings a quick and simple method for creating PDFs from almost any Windows app. It is created using Microsoft's C#, a cutting-edge object-oriented programming language that is a component of the.NET framework. Because of its stability and simplicity, C# is a great choice for developing reliable and effective Windows apps.

Hence, PDFCreator performs exceptionally well with Windows apps that support print functionality. It is a well-liked option for both personal and commercial usage because of its simplicity of use and interaction with the Windows environment.

open source pdf editor pdfcreator

Key Features:

  • Merge PDFs
  • PDF security
  • Add digital signatures to PDF
  • PDF/A Format supported

Platform Supported

  • Windows only


  • Seamless customization with Windows applications
  • High user interface customization options
  • Regular updates


  • Faces performance issues with larger PDF files

It is the best open source PDF tool for when you need to create a PDF document from any Windows application. It also offers great customization.

Part 2. What Problems to Use Open Source PDF Editor

There are multiple benefits of using open source PDF editors but sometimes the problems outweigh the benefits and that’s why you must be very careful about the negative aspects before picking a tool. The benefits include cost effectiveness, customizations, tweaking, and transparency along with a good community and if you are purely looking for these, you must go for an open source tool. However, here is a list of all the problems that you must consider:

  • This software may lack advanced and powerful features like OCR, etc.
  • The user interface is not very well designed in most cases due to multiple versions
  • · Open source software might come with performance and reliability issues
  • These tools can bring some compatibility integration and security issues
  • There may not be enough documentation available for these tools
  • You don’t get any continuity guarantee for these tools, yet they come with a steep learning curve

With all these problems, even if you invest good time and effort in an open source PDF editing software, you cannot completely rely on one.

Part 3. The Best PDF Editor for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS

Since an open source PDF tool may not be the most reliable option for most users, you must look for one that offers better reliability over the longer run. UPDF is the best choice in this case since it not only excels your productivity for PDF editing tasks but brings a ton of other useful and unique features. One of the best features UPDF offers is UPDF AI which helps you with reviewing, summarizing, translating, rewriting and even generating content for you.

Another amazing quality of UPDF is its dedicated cloud storage that not only organizes your PDFs but keeps all your work synchronized with all your computers and smartphones that are on one UPDF account. UPDF is the right open source PDF tool alternative that you need to download and try editing your documents.  Just download UPDF and check all features with us.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

open source pdf editor updf

Key Features

UPDF offers a wide range of features including the following key ones.

  • OCR
  • PDF Forms
  • Annotations
  • Collaboration
  • PDF Sharing
  • UPDF Cloud
  • Batch Processing
  • 2-way PDF file conversion
  • PDF Compressing
  • PDF protection
  • PDF organizing

To explore more about UPDF in detail you can read this technical review at Tech Advisor or watch this video review to get a better view of everything that you can achieve with UPDF. Since UPDF meets all your PDF editing requirements, you should purchase UPDF Pro to unveil all its premium locked capabilities.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

Final Words

An open source PDF editor is a tool that allows you to tweak the source code for customization and adding other features. These tools come with multiple benefits at the cost of reliability and performance in some cases. So, if you need better reliability from a tool used for PDF editing and other purposes, you must download and try UPDF. With UPDF you enjoy an intuitive interface and lots of useful features all without the need to go through a steep learning curve.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

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