Linux distributions typically come with a PDF viewer like Evince (called Document Viewer in Gnome desktop Environment). However, Evince doesn’t have editing features like adding lines, highlighting text, etc. PDF editors can be categorized in two types:
- PDF editors can edit the content inside a PDF (such as change text, highlight, annotate, add/remove images etc).
- PDF editors let you modify the files by merging, splitting, and extracting pages from files etc.
Top PDF Editors for Linux
In this article, we will take a look at numerous PDF editing software packages through which you can modify the contents inside a PDF file and add/remove and merge pages as well.
1. LibreOffice Draw
LibreOffice Draw is a powerful tool for editing text files inside PDFs. It’s part of the LibreOffice Suite, and it’s best suited for business or office use. With its wide array of features, you can easily manipulate text, images, and other objects within your PDF. You can also add annotations, comments, and bookmarks.
If you need to fill out forms or sign documents, LibreOffice Draw can help you do that, too. Whether you’re a student, a business professional, or anyone who needs to edit PDFs, LibreOffice Draw is the tool for you.
- Edit the text inside a PDF
- Add text/images to the file
- Modify the contents of the PDF
- You can create new PDF files
- Available on all the platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
Scribus is a fully featured open source cross-platform software through which you can highlight text, move around pre-existing text and delete them as well. It can also be used to make advertisement posters, and Book covers.
It is available in the repositories of all the major Linux distributions and therefore can be installed from the software center.
Key Features :
- Add text and various lines, shapes
- Highlighting feature
- Move around the existing text in the PDF document
This application is ideal for making handwritten notes as its annotation feature can be used for highlighting text, drawing diagrams, etc.
It is available in the official repositories of many distributions, if not then this can also be easily installed by .deb file and AppImages are available in their GitHub releases section.
Xournal++ is another free and open-source PDF editor with the following capability :
- Scientific Equations/Formulas support
- Layered annotations
- Enhanced note-taking and
- Shape recognizer
Okular is just another Free and Open source piece of software developed by the KDE team. It is not strictly a PDF editor, but you can use it to highlight text inside a PDF document.
Key features :
- Cross-Platform : Available on Windows, Mac as well as various Linux Distributions.
- Highlighting and extensive annotation features are available
You can also select and copy any text to the clipboard, and you can also save it as an image. Options such as adding pop-up notes, inline notes, freehand line drawing, highlighter, stamp, and other features are available in the Tools > Reviews menu.
This application, however, is also not suitable for advanced levels of PDF editing.
PDFArranger is really useful in the case where you need to merge two PDF documents or remove one or multiple pages from the middle.
Key features :
- Split, merge two files, rotate individual pages in Landscape or Potrait mode
- Cross-Platform (It is available on Windows and all the major Distributions)
- Drag and Drop feature to rearrange pages
This Free and Open Source app is a fork of PDF-shuffler (which is now no longer under development). PDFArranger makes the whole editing process really easy because of it’s drag and drop feature. This is also available in the official repositories of all the major Linux Distributions.
Free and open-source software dominates in the Linux world, and rightfully so. On Windows, we have paid Adobe suite just to view and edit PDFs and Windows users are unaware of any viable free alternative, let alone Open Source. Hopefully, this article helped you find the right PDF editor for your use case.