Here we review and compare some of the best Open Source PDF Editors available along with the top features and pros and cons of each one:
Finding a free PDF editor is difficult, especially if you are looking for an open-source PDF editor. But you don’t have to worry about doing the research and analysis for searching the PDF editors online because we have done that part.
We have listed a few amazing open-source PDF editors in this tutorial that you can try. We will also tell you which platforms they are compatible with and what functions they offer.
What You Will Learn:
- Open Source PDF Editor Review
- Frequently Asked Questions
- List of the Best Open Source PDF Editors
- Comparison of Top Open Source PDF Editors
- #1) Qoppa PDF Studio
- #2) pdfFiller
- #3) Soda PDF
- #4) PDFSimpli
- #5) LightPDF
- #6) PDFLiner
- #7) LibreOffice
- #8) Inkscape
- #9) PDFSam Basic
- #10) Apache OpenOffice Draw
- #11) PDFescape
- #12) PDF Architect
- #13) PDFedit
- #14) PDF Xchange Editor
- #15) Smallpdf
- #16) PDFElement
- #17) Okular
- #18) Scribus
- #19) Sejda PDF Editor
- #20) Skim
- #21) Google Doc
Open Source PDF Editor Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) Are there any open source PDF editors?
Answer: Yes, there are many open-source PDF editors available. PDFSam, Sejda, SmallPDF, Adobe Acrobat are some examples.
Q #2) What is the best open source PDF editor?
Answer: Adobe is considered the best open source PDF editor. However, it is not free. If you want free editors, go for Sejda, SmallPDF, Google Doc, etc.
Q #3) Is there a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat?
Answer: Yes, there are many. Google Docs, for example, is the best free alternative to Adobe. You can also check out ilovePDF, Sejda, SmallPDF, etc as free alternatives to Adobe Acrobat.
Q #4) Can OpenOffice open PDF?
Answer: Yes, it can. Install the PDF Import Extension to open a PDF file in OpenOffice. The editable texts will be shown in a textbox.
Q #5) How can I edit a PDF in Chrome for free?
Answer: You can use Google Drive to edit a PDF in Chrome for free. Go to Google Drive and click to New. Select the Upload a File option and select the PDF file you want to edit. Right-click on the uploaded file, select Open With, and click on Google Doc. Edit the document, go to the File option, click on Download and select the file format to save the document to.
List of the Best Open Source PDF Editors
Here is the list of the most worthy and popular PDF editor open source:
- Qoppa PDF Studio
- Soda PDF
- PDFSam Basic
- Apache OpenOffice
- PDF Architect
- PDF Xchange Editor
- Sejda PDF Editor
- Google Docs
Comparison of Top Open Source PDF Editors
|Tools||Top 3 Features||Price||Our Rating( Out of 5 Star)|
|Qoppa PDF Studio||• Convert to PDF from Multiple File Formats, |
• Split & Merge PDF Documents,
• Add Annotations or Markups
|Free Trial Version, |
PDF Studio Standard: One-time Fee of $99,
PDF Studio Pro: One-time Fee of $139.
|pdfFiller||• Edit PDF|
• Convert PDF
• PDF OCR
|• Basic plan: $8 per month|
• Plus Plan: $12 per month
• Premium Plan: $15 per month (Billed Annually)
|Soda PDF||• Edit Existing Text.|
• Filling PDF Forms
• Redacting Text
|PDFSimpli||• PDF Compression,|
• PDF Splitting, and Merging,
• Add Digital Signature
|Free to use|
|LightPDF||• Convert PDF|
• Compress PDF
• PDF Reader
|Free edition available, |
Personal Plan: $19.90/month and $59.90/month
Business Plan: $79.95/year and $129.90/year
|PDFLiner||• Annotate PDF|
• Split PDF
• Edit PDF file
|Free 5 day trial, |
Basic plan costs $9/month,
Pro plan costs $19/month,
Premium plan costs $29/month.
|LibreOffice||• Edit Existing Text.|
• Signing PDF
• Watermarking Document
|Inkscape||• Edit Existing Text|
• Add Images
|PDFSam Basic||• Easy to use|
• Split and Merge PDF
• Rotate and Save One or Multiple Pages
|Apache OpenOffice Draw||• Spellcheck|
• Split PDF
• Add Images
|PDFescape||• Options for Online Editing|
• Add Text and Images
• Add or Delete Pages
Let us review the editors.
#1) Qoppa PDF Studio
Best for Editing PDFs, adding markups or annotations, and converting files to PDFs from multiple formats.
You can download PDF Studio for free with limited features. Users will be able to open PDFs in high fidelity, fill interactive forms, add annotations, and add markups to documents. To obtain the complete version users can purchase PDF Studio Standard or Pro.
Users will have access to more features in standard such as the ability to create PDFs from scanned documents, convert files from multiple formats such as Word and Excel, fast sign PDFs, secure documents, add watermarks, and more.
PDF Studio Pro allows users to access all the previous features mentioned as well as use OCR, edit content in PDF documents, redact text, digitally sign documents, compare documents side-by-side, split and merge documents, automate PDF tasks, and much more!
- Edit PDF Documents
- Convert to PDF from Multiple File Formats
- Split & Merge PDF Documents
- Automate PDF Tasks
- Add Annotations or Markups
- Simple UI
- Jam-packed with editing and PDF-creating features.
- Compliant with Adobe Portable Document Format.
- Not visually appealing.
- The user guide can be frustrating to go through.
Verdict: Apart from a dated design, Qoppa PDF Studio still makes for a feature-rich PDF-creating/editing software that one can use on Mac, Linux, and Windows for an affordable one-time fee.
- PDF Studio Standard: $99 as a one-time fee
- PDF Studio Pro: $139 as a one-time fee
- Free trial with limited features
Best for Edit, convert, split, and manage PDF files.
While not exactly open-source, pdfFiller is simply too powerful a platform to not make it to this list. This is a cloud-based PDF manager that will allow you to edit, convert, compress, store, audit, and collaborate on PDF files with just a few clicks. Its editing capabilities are impressive, to say the least.
You can use this platform to add or remove text from PDF files. You can also add checkmarks, watermarks, and highlight or annotate certain elements in PDF files. You can also turn a PDF file into a completely editable word document using this platform’s converting capabilities.
- Edit, fill, draw, print, or store PDF files.
- Super-fast document conversion.
- Access documents from anywhere and anytime.
- Massive library of fillable PDF form templates.
- Flexible pricing
- Instant chat customer support is only available with an expensive premium plan.
Price: Following are the pricing plans offered by pdfFiller. All plans are billed annually.
- Basic plan: $8 per month
- Plus Plan: $12 per month
- Premium Plan: $15 per month.
- 30-day free trial also available.
#3) Soda PDF
Best for easily editing PDFs with PDF tools and converting to and from PDFs.
Soda PDF 360 offers desktop and online PDF editing tools to edit a PDF document. With it, you can edit an existing text, redact, search, and add text. You can also use it to convert PDF into some other file format and vice versa.
It also allows you to create forms and merge and compact PDF files. There’s a lot you can do with your PDF document with the help of Soda PDF.
- Batch processing
- Built-in OCR
- PDF editing and form filling
- Multiplatform compatibility
- Offline and Online Access
- Lags sometimes
- Registration is required for the Trial version
- Standard: $80
- Business: $200
Best for Free to use PDF Editor and Converter.
There are many aspects of PDFSimpli that are just downright praiseworthy. It is incredibly easy to use and features an interface that although not visually appealing delivers a very user-friendly experience. It truly excels with regard to its features. Simply upload documents from your system and you are re-directed to an online editor.
Here you can add text or images, erase content or highlight it, add a watermark or remove it, and do much more. Besides editing, PDFSimpli is also great if you wish to convert files. In just a few easy steps, you can convert any file into PDF and vice versa. You can use PDFSimpli to also compress a PDF file, split or merge it, and add a digital signature to it.
- PDF Compression
- PDF Splitting and Merging
- Add Digital Signature
- Online PDF Editing Dashboard
- User-friendly UI
- Free to use
- Very fast in its conversion capabilities
- No software download required
- The messy look of the editing dashboard can take some time to get used to.
Verdict: PDFSimpli offers everything you want from an online PDF editing/converting platform. It is user-friendly, fast, and free to use. You can use this software anytime, anywhere, from any device you wish to work on a PDF document.
Best for Editing, Converting, Compressing, and Encrypting PDF files.
LightPDF is both equal parts powerful and user-friendly. This is a cross-platform PDF editor that you can download for free on your system to edit PDF files in just a few clicks. The software provides you with a plethora of tools alongside an intuitive PDF editing interface to make adding text, and images, highlighting content, changing the header, and modifying many other aspects of a PDF file look easy.
Using LightPDF to change the entire design layout of a PDF document is as easy as a walk in the park. Besides this, LightPDF also serves many other key PDF processing functions. You can use this software for effective file conversion, PDF splitting/merging, Watermark removal, PDF protection/decryption, and much more.
- Full-Featured PDF Editing Interface
- OCR to convert PDF into an editable document
- Protect PDF with a password and decrypt it with a single click.
- Convert PDF files into other formats and vice versa.
- User-friendly and immaculate editing interface
- High-quality PDF File conversion
- Multiple Platforms supported
- Free to download
- Free edition only for the Web app.
Verdict: LightPDF comes loaded with features and capabilities that all PDF processing tools must possess. It possesses an impeccable user interface and provides a ton of tools to edit, compress, convert, split, and merge PDF files in just a few clicks.
Price: LightPDF offers 2 pricing plans. The personal plan will cost $19.90 per month and $59.90 per year. The business plan costs $79.95 per year and $129.90 per year.
Best for Quick and Easy Web-based PDF Editing.
While not technically open-source, PDFLiner is so popular among users today that it would be criminal to not mention it on our list. The software is impeccable with regard to its features and editing interface. In just three steps, you can edit a PDF file in multiple different ways.
You can add text to it, add images, redact or highlight content, comment or annotate a PDF file, add a signature to it, and much more. Apart from editing, PDFLiner also excels at performing other imperative functions as well like converting a PDF file into JPG, splitting a PDF document, and password-protecting it.
- Create Digital Signatures for PDF
- Annotate a PDF File
- Redact Content from a PDF
- Add Fillable Forms to a PDF Layout
- Simple UI
- Tons of PDF customization options
- No need to download or install software
- Can only convert PDF files into PNG or JPG format
Verdict: If simple, feature-rich PDF processing is what you seek, then PDFLiner is a software we cannot recommend enough. It performs almost every editing function you’d expect from a powerful PDF editor of today.
- Free 5 days Trial
- Basic plan costs $9/month
- Pro plan costs $19/month
- Premium plan costs $29/month
Best for editing existing text in PDF.
LibreOffice is one of the most amazing open source PDF editors for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It was created by MS Word to open and edit PDF files and hence is as reliable as Word. You can edit texts and images and whiteout the section of text you want to redact and type on top of it.
Although it is an advanced word processor, it can’t edit PDF documents that well. But it can let you do the basic editing.
Pros of LibreOffice:
- It can open PDFs easily.
- You can also edit other file formats and save them as PDF.
- You can add a digital signature.
- It allows you to add or delete pages in a PDF document.
Cons of LibreOffice:
- There is a limited amount of editing you can do.
- Working with large PDF files can be troublesome.
Best for removing and adding text in a PDF file.
Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor, very much like Corel Draw, Xara X, Adobe Illustrator, etc. It is, so far, one of the best open-source PDF editors we have come across.
You can use Inkscape to view and edit your PDF. You can remove and add texts, images, and links as well. With Inkscape, you can also split the pages of the document, annotate, add comments, and do a lot more.
Pros of Inkscape:
- You can edit every part of your PDF document.
- Scripting tools can give you added functionalities.
- You can save the PDF and PNG file
- Doesn’t take much storage space.
Cons of Inkscape:
- Sometimes it lags and crashes.
- It is a little unintuitive and slow.
- Doesn’t come with many PDF editing tools.
- It could be a little complicated to use.
#9) PDFSam Basic
Best for splitting and merging PDF.
This is one of the best open-source PDF editors for Mac, Windows, and Linux. With it, you can edit, sign, mix, and merge PDF documents. You can also split, extract, delete, or rotate pages in your document. With PDFSam, your document remains private. If you are a professional, you can also use the Enhanced or Visual versions of PDFSam.
Pros of PDFSam Basic:
- Very easy to use.
- You can organize the pages visually.
- It allows you to reorder the PDF pages.
- You can also mix, merge, split, or extract PDF pages.
- You can rotate and save one or multiple pages.
Cons of PDFSam Basic:
- It could malfunction sometimes.
- Your device should have Java.
- It can be confusing for beginners and you might take time to get used to it
#10) Apache OpenOffice Draw
Best for adding images and splitting PDF files.
This is yet another wonderful open source PDF editor that you can use on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is primarily a graphics editor, but it can efficiently edit PDF files as well. To edit a PDF, add the PDF Import extension and then edit the PDF files and save them as a new document.
Pros of Apache OpenOffice Draw:
- It works on multiple platforms.
- Apache comes with many editing features.
- It can spellcheck.
- You can add graphics to PDF.
Cons of Apache OpenOffice Draw
- It slows down with a large PDF.
- Certain functions, like Excel, can slow down your workflow.
- You can encounter some errors.
Website: Apache OpenOffice Draw
Best for editing PDF online and adding text.
PDFescape is an online open-source PDF editor that allows you to edit PDF for free unless they have more than 100 pages. You can’t change a text or image, but you can add yours. It has an efficient text tool and you can also draw on the PDF, redact information, add sticky notes, etc.
You can also add, delete, rotate, reorganize, and crop pages from the PDF. You can upload your PDF, use the online link, or create a PDF as well. To edit and download the PDF file, you don’t even need a user account. You can use its site across all Operating Systems, but its desktop version runs only on Windows 7 and newer ones and it’s not free.
Pros of PDFescape:
- You can do all the work online.
- Has many tools.
- Can add your own text and images.
- Delete or add PDF pages.
- No need for a user account.
Cons of PDFescape:
- You can’t edit existing texts
- Limits the size of PDF and length of its pages.
- The desktop version is only for Windows and not free
#12) PDF Architect
Best for editing scanned PDF documents.
PDF Architect is a free PDF editor open source for Windows. You can convert more than 300 file formats like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc to PDF with this pdf editor. It is an extremely efficient open-source editor that allows you to revise PDF documents according to your need. It is available for Windows 7 and above.
Pros of PDF Architect:
- It comes with advanced editing features.
- With OCR, you can make scanned documents editable and save them as PDF.
- You can add a digital signature to the document.
- It allows you to create PDF forms along with filling and editing existing ones.
- You can merge many PDF files together.
- You can also make your document secure by editing its metadata.
Cons of PDF Architect:
- The free version will leave watermarks on your document. Go for the Premium version to avoid watermark and enjoy other features.
Price: Free Version Available
- Standard: USD $69/year
- Professional: USD $69/year
- Pro+OCR: USD $129/year
Website: PDF Architect
Best for deleting or adding text and images in PDF files.
PDFedit is a cross-platform open-source PDF editor. It can be used as a PDF reader and editor both. You can delete or add text and images to the file by choosing the part or section of the file you want to edit.
Pros of PDFedit:
- It is a lightweight app.
- It offers multi-platform support.
- You can personalize the PDF file.
- You can convert files to other formats.
- It allows you to password-protect the file.
- It has many more advanced options available.
Cons of PDFedit:
- You can face technical issues.
- Some features might not work.
- Sometimes you might get error messages.
Further Reading => A Perfect Review of the UPDF PDF Editor
#14) PDF Xchange Editor
Best for editing photocopied PDF documents.
PDF Xchange editor is a free open source PDF editor for Windows. It has a little more complex interface than other open-source editors. One reason we have put it on this list is its inbuilt OCR.
OCR allows the application to recognize the text from the photocopy and let you edit it. With it, you can also reformat text and convert it into other fonts, even if they are not on your system. You can also split or merge or stamp it with the PDF Xchange editor.
Pros of PDF Xchange Editor:
- Its OCR allows you to edit photocopied documents.
- You can convert other file formats to PDF.
- It allows you to edit the text in PDF.
- You can annotate the document and add comments to it.
Cons of PDF Xchange Editor:
- A little complicated to use.
- The free version watermarks the document.
- PDF-XChange Editor: USD $46.50
- PDF-XChange Editor Plus: USD $59.50
Website: PDF Xchange Editor
Best for editing PDF files online.
Smallpdf is one of the quickest open-source PDF editors that allows you to add text, images, signature, shapes, etc in your PDF. You can upload the file from your system, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Its text toolbox doesn’t allow you to change the fonts, but you can change the size and color of the font.
You can also extract pages from your PDF. When you have edited your PDF, you can save your PDF wherever you want, on your system or your Dropbox account. You can also share the link for downloading the PDF, but the link will stay valid for only two weeks.
Pros of Smallpdf:
- It’s free.
- You can redact or add text.
- It allows you to import images.
- You can load and save PDF from various sources.
Cons of Smallpdf:
- You can’t edit existing text.
- You can only edit two PDFs per day.
Best for editing and converting multiple PDF files.
PDF Element is one of the best open-source PDF editors available. It has built-in OCR and the ability to distribute forms. It has a simple user design and interface.
It supports batch processing and can edit and convert multiple PDF files. And it is compatible with almost all Operating Systems.
Pros of PDFelement:
- It is as powerful as Adobe Acrobat.
- It has a simple user interface.
- You can create fillable PDF forms with one click.
- It is accurate in its task and extremely easy to use.
- PDFElement is highly secured and is heavily encrypted.
Cons of PDFElement:
- Doesn’t work well with scanned documents.
- Sometimes you will lose the formatting in converting large MS Word documents to PDF
- Merging a huge number of documents could be a little problematic
- PDFelement Pro (for Windows only): USD $79.99/Year
- PDFelement Pro Bundle (for Windows and iOS): USD $99.99/Year
Best for taking notes on PDF-formatted e-books.
Okular is a cross-platform PDF editor that is extremely easy to use. If you frequently transfer work between work and home computer, it could be an extremely attractive option for you. And it is also useful for those who take notes on PDF-formatted e-books. It comes with a handful of innovative capabilities similar to any enterprise PDF editor.
Pros of Okular:
- It is available in multiple languages.
- It supports touch interaction.
- There are many features.
- Easy to use.
Cons of Okular:
- It has poor HiDPI support.
- It needs many KDE libraries.
- There isn’t a “fit to page” option.
Best for adding new content on PDF files.
You can use Scribus for creating interactive PDF files and editing them. It is used primarily for designing magazines and desktop publishing. But you can also use it for editing an existing PDF file.
You can’t replace the original content but add new ones. Go to the main toolbar of Scribus to find all the editing tools. You can use this for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Pros of Scribus:
- It is a cross-platform open-source PDF editor.
- There are various editing options available.
- You can export the edited document in its native format.
- It is extremely easy to use.
Cons of Scribus:
- You can’t edit original texts in a PDF file.
- Its Graphical User Interface could be better.
#19) Sejda PDF Editor
Best for editing PDF online.
For editing PDFs, the first name that hits you is Sejda. You can edit your PDF in this open-source PDF editor without adding a watermark and it is online, so you can use it on all kinds of OS. You can use the Desktop version and can also download the app for Android but not for iOS.
The online version of Sejda supports more fonts and has other cool features, like a web integration tool that provide a link to the users for opening the PDF file directly in this PDF editor open source. After two hours, the site deletes the uploaded files automatically. Its desktop version runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Pros of Sejda:
- You can load files from other websites.
- It allows you to add hyperlinks.
- It has a signature tool.
- You can insert blank pages into the PDF.
- You can delete PDF pages.
- It allows you to redact information.
- You can insert images, words, and texts.
Cons of Sejda:
- You can edit only three PDFs in an hour.
- It doesn’t allow you to edit files larger than 50 MB.
- You will only be able to edit docs fewer than 200 pages.
However, if you take the premium account, you can overcome these cons.
Best for adding comments on a PDF on macOS.
Skim is an open-source PDF editor exclusive to Mac that allows you to modify the document in any way you desire. You can also review a file and add comments to it and take snapshots for reference. You can also highlight texts and use the table of content to navigate between the pages.
Pros of Skim:
- It is easy to use.
- It has an amazing cropping tool.
- You can add notes and bookmarks.
- It has a mode for presentation.
Cons of Skim:
- It is only available for macOS.
- There are no advanced features like OCR.
- It has a very basic feature set and UI.
#21) Google Doc
Best for editing existing text, adding new text and images.
This is a truly free way of editing your PDF. Just open your file in Google Doc from the files option and give it a second to convert. Make all the changes you want to and then go to File, select Save as to save it in PDF or any other format you want.
Pros of Google Docs:
- It is very easy to use.
- It is available across all OS and devices.
- You can do pretty much everything with your PDF.
- It allows spell-checking.
Cons of Google Docs:
- A little complex formatting.
- Needs an Internet connection.
Website: Google Docs
Which is the best open source PDF editor for you will depend on what kind of editing you want to do. If you need to change the existing text and add new ones, pick one that allows you to.
LibreOffice PDFedit, PDFelement, these are some amazing options to edit PDF open-source but you might not find all the features in one place. In that case, try using a mix of them for the best results.