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Best Open Source Pdf Software

As you know, there are many word-processing applications which can be used to create professional documents in PDF format. Many people prefer to use Adobe Acrobat software because it’s very flexible and allows you to create all kinds of PDF files, no matter if they contain text or images, or if they need special formatting. But if you want to save some money and don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a PDF tool, you’ll definitely like our list of the best free (yes – I said it, FREE) open source software for creating PDF documents

Many people are turning to open source alternatives, because the high price of commercial software programs. Many old desktop software applications have given way to web-based platforms and cloud-based services. This article will provide you with the best open source pdf software you can download and use in your office, at home or on the go.

We’ve scoured the Internet and put together this list of the best open source pdf software programs for Windows to help you find alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader. We’ve included a range of different types of software, from pdf viewers and readers, to editors and creators, to help you find the one that is perfect for your needs.

Different people choose different tools and applications to use. So that means they are free in price, free in cost which mean the users can use them easily. Well, there is one thing you need to remember that is why it’s free? Most of the open source products are not supported by any companies.

How can I edit a PDF in Chrome for free?

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.


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.

Price: Free


Best for removing and adding text in a PDF file.


[image source]

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.

Price: Free

PDFSam Basic

Best for splitting and merging PDF.

 PDFSam Basic

[image source]

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

Price: Free

PDFelement – Open Source PDF Editor Alternative

There are a lot of open-source PDF editor Windows options in the market that feature a cohesive structure of PDF management. Out of these tools, PDFelement for Windows is known to provide one of the best and easiest interfaces in the market. This platform allows users to easily edit PDF documents as a one-stop solution to PDF management.

The reasons that make PDFelement the best alternative to open source PDF editor in the market are as follows:

  • The tool’s device compatibility is extremely attractive, where it allows users to manage PDFs across Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android with ease.
  • Users can utilize different protection measures across the platform, including password protection, information redaction, and digital signatures.
  • The OCR technology in PDFelement provides users with a clear structure of scanning images and converting them into PDF for convenience.
  • Through its measurement tool, you can measure distance, perimeter, and area in PDF with ease.
  • It also allows you to combine and split PDF files.
  • Batch Compress and Print PDF files at once.
  • Compare two PDF files to find out the differences quickly


However, there are certain limitations to the tool, which can be observed across the following point:

  • PDFelement’s trial version saves its watermark across every edited PDF document.

PDFedit- Free Open Source PDF Editor

PDFedit is a widely used tool. It has all the benefits of a free and open-source PDF editor software. It can be used as a PDF reader and also includes the functions of a PDF editor. The user can detect exactly which sections, words, or phrases they want to edit. It can also be used to add text and images into a PDF file. It also allows the functionality to delete information from the file.

PDFedit free open source pdf editor


  • Lightweight for installation
  • Multi-platform support
  • Includes tools for personalization
  • Allows for conversion of files
  • Has many more advanced options available
  • Password protection is also available.


  • Some of the tools have technical difficulties.
  • Still in beta
  • Some features do not work or
  • show error messages

Apache OpenOffice Draw – Open Source PDF Editor Windows

Apache OpenOffice Draw is popular due to its high quality. It can easily be used as both a PDF reader and an open-source PDF editor. Many features can be found in this software, such as customizing PDF pages, saving them in different available file formats, removing or inserting any text and importing and exporting features, etc.

Apache OpenOffice Draw open source pdf editor


  • A great variety of features
  • Multiple platform compatibility
  • Allows for easy creation of basic charts
  • Provides features for spell checking


  • The user interface looks out of date.
  • Excel users face problems due to their functions.
  • It is slow to start up.
  • There are errors being identified on some windows versions.
  • It can be slow while processing large documents.

Reading PDFs

For reading PDFs, these days many people get by without having to use an external application at all. Both Firefox and Chromium, the open source version of Google’s Chrome browser, come bundled with in-browser PDF readers, so an external plugin is no longer necessary for most users.

For downloaded files, users of GNOME-based Linux distributions have Evince (or Atril on the GNOME 2 fork, MATE), a powerful PDF reader that handles most documents quickly and with ease. Evince has a Windows port as well, although Windows users may also want to check out the GPLv3-licensed SumatraPDF as an alternative. KDE’s Okular serves as the PDF reader for the Plasma Desktop. All of these have the ability to complete PDF forms, view and make comments, search for text, select text, and so on.

For a generic, simple, and fast PDF reader, try xpdf.

Creating PDFs

Personally, LibreOffice‘s export functionality ends up being the source of 95% of the PDFs I create that weren’t built for me by a web application. ScribusInkscape, and GIMP all support native PDF export, too, so no matter what kind of document you need to make — a complex layout, formatted text, vector or raster image, or some combination — there’s an open source application that meets your needs.

For practically every other application, the CUPS printing system does an excellent job of outputting documents as PDF, because printers and PDFs both rely on PostScript to represent data on page (whether the page is digital or physical).

If you don’t need fancy graphical interfaces, you can also generate PDFs through plain text with a few handy terminal commands. Everyone has their favourite, but probably the most popular is Pandoc, which takes nearly any format of document and translates it to nearly any other format. Its ability to translate text formats is staggering, so it’s probably all you really need. However, there are several other solutions, including DocbookSphinx, and LaTeX.

Editing PDFs

Editing is a loaded term. For some people, editing a PDF means changing a few words or a swapping out an old image for a new one, while for others it means altering metadata such as bookmarks, and for still others it means manipulating page order or adjusting print resolution. The authoritative answer nobody ever wants is: don’t edit PDFs, edit the source and then export a new PDF. That’s not always possible, though, and luckily there are some great tools to make all manner of edits possible.

LibreOffice Draw does a fantastic job of editing PDF files, giving you full access to the text and images. There are caveats to this, because of the flexibility of the PDF format. If you haven’t installed the fonts used in the PDF, then the flow of text could change due to font substitution,. If the PDF was created from a scan, then you’ll only have images of text and not editable text.

Inkscape, too, does a good job with opening documents created elsewhere, and may be a more intuitive choice if your document is heavy on graphics. If you don’t have a font installed, Inkscape (through the Poppler renderer) can trace characters so that the appearance of text is maintained even without the actual font data. Of course, that loses the text data (you have only the shapes of letters, not the selectable text itself) but it’s a nice feature when appearance matters most.

There are standalone tools as well, like the GPLv2 licensed PDFedit, but I’ve had such good luck with Inkscape and LibreOffice that I haven’t had to use a separate editor in recent years.

If your editing tasks are less about the content and more about presentation, you might find the pdftk-java (PDF ToolKit) command useful. It can extract and inject bookmark metadata, rearrange and concatenate pages, combine many PDFs into one, break a PDF apart, and much more. If you’re not comfortable in a terminal yet, PDFSam has many similar functions, but includes a graphical interface.

Finally, you can adjust PostScript properties directly with the GhostScript command, gs. GhostScript is an open source interpreter for the PostScript, so you can perform very low-level tasks with it, such as swapping one font for another, or adjusting the resolution of images, or dropping images entirely.

Being terminal-based, these are great tools for automated manipulation, too.

What are the features of PDF software?

PDF software generally comes with the following features:

  • Multiple file formats – The PDF software can convert the different file types to PDF that helps in displaying the content correctly. PDF software technology can efficiently work on various platforms and with different applications.
  • Watermarks- The users can make use of watermarks that serve as transparent images, and these images help in indicating branding and ownership. This watermarks functionality serves as the security feature that helps in protecting the copyright of the PDF once the document is distributed.
  • Access to e-books- The PDF software supports multimedia ebooks. The e-books in PDF format can be used on any device like tablets and smartphones from any location. The reader can use e-books in PDF that have features like annotations, audio, video files along with hyperlinks that help in further learning. 
  • Collaboration tools- The PDF software enables to work together by allowing to edit text, comment, embed links and media, create and change layouts as a group that helps in gaining collaboration in the team.
  • Optical character recognition (OCR) – This functionality allows to turn PDF into a document that can be edited. The OCR functionality can scan the document and locate the text within it. The user can modify the text after the completion of the scanning process. Within the PDF, the image of the text can be converted into the editable text, which the user can edit easily.
  • Redaction – The redaction functionality serves as the security feature which users use to remove the sensitive information within the document. It can entirely remove the area of the text. 
  • Interactive forms and digital data collection- The interactive forms allow users to type directly into, sign digitally, and send back. This functionality helps in reducing errors by eliminating manual data entry. These days, institutions rely on digital documents and forms. 
  • Password protection – All confidential files or files with sensitive information need the functionality of password protection that helps in guarding the document from being edited by anyone. 


In today’s world, technology dominates the lives of average Internet users. This much is evident if you take a look around and see the number of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones that are used by people from all walks of life. Writing an essay or creating presentations seems to be an impossible task without the help of a computer.

You must be looking for Best Open Source Pdf Software then here I can tell you that PDFTK is the Best open source pdf software. It is a free open source pdf editor and browser capable of editing existing pdf files, converting them to other formats, and creating new pdf documents from scratch.

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