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Best Open Source Pdf Tools

We live in an era where information is stored digitally and we can access it from our desktops, laptops, tablet computers or even smart phones. We are constantly creating reports, PDF letters, case studies or other documents in the form of a PDF file and sharing them with others. If you have just started working on your own computer then you must be wondering what software you should use to create a document in a PDF format. This article will help you to find best open source pdf tools.

PDF is one of the most useful formats for storing and sending data, but it is a proprietary file format that is beyond the reach of many people. That’s why there are a number of open-source PDF tools available today. These free, open source programs offer users an alternative to costly commercial products and can be used on multiple platforms.

Best Open Source Pdf Tools. Open-source software (OSS) refers to software that is developed, tested, or improved through public collaboration and distributed with the idea that free sharing of ideas makes for better programs.Free office suite, open source, and compatible with .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx files. Updated regularly – download for free.

There are many websites offering free examples of PDFs. So why is that you may presume, the need for open source pdf tools? Well, firstly by looking at the high quality output of paid softwares, we can easily reach to this presumption. But as far as your work is concerned, it might be important for you to have such ‘open source’ tools.

Why is PDF Software Essential for Work?

Many benefits can be generally associated with PDF software since the tool successfully influenced a very diverse set of industries throughout its inception. Any PDF software is considered beneficial for work due to the following benefits:

Ensuring File Security

Many businesses manage their customers’ sensitive information across PDF software. To protect these files from illegal access, the users are advised to protect their content with passwords, which keeps the PDF files secure from all kinds of thefts.

Compress Your Files Immediately

Rather than shifting yourselves to different file formats for compressing the file size, PDF software provides you with a complete option of compressing files unconditionally. Users can convert their PDFs into different qualities of compressions if they are working across limited storage.

A Consistent Tool

As a file format, PDFs have set their standards as one of the official methods of sending professional documents. To manage PDFs, PDF editors and software are necessary. Thus, it is very likely that this file format and software will not leave the market any soon. They would set up to be a very good investment for the developers.

Document Sustainability

PDFs are remembered to protect one important trait of any document, its format. PDFs became popular because they were able to sustain the formatting of any document and keep it intact across every platform. The PDF format allowed businesses to show well-organized and structured files to their clients to gain their attention.


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

Website: LibreOffice


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

Website: Inkscape

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

Website: PDFSam

 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.

 PDFCreator (free and open source)

PDFCreator is a free online PDF editor software that enables to convert every printable document to PDF and many other formats. The users can create PDF files from any application with this open source online PDF file software. 

The professional features of this online PDF file editor software allow users to control and secure the output to achieve the desired results. This easy-to-use software is free forever.


(Source: PDFCreator)

Core functionalities:

  • Annotations
  • Content Editing
  • Convert to PDF
  • Digital Signature
  • Encryption 
  • Merge/Append
  • PDF Reader
  • Create PDF Files
  • Secure PDFs
  • Digital signatures
  • Archive-ready with PDF/A (Portable Document Format/ Archiving)
  • Easy Access
  • Automatic Saving
  • Merge and rearrange
  • Tokens and actions
  • COM interface
  • Multilingual

PDFedit (free and open source)

PDFedit is the free online PDF editor that helps in manipulating PDF documents. This open source PDF editor software is widely used. The software can be used as a minimalistic PDF viewer. This online PDF file editor software can support deleting specific text, image, or chart from PDF. 

The user can select the part or sections to edit and then can edit it effortlessly by employing PDFedit. The software is used to add text and images into a PDF file.

PDFedit(Source: PDFedit)


  • Conversion of files
  • Password protection
  • Personalization tools
  • Multi-platform support
  • Advanced options
  • Annotations
  • Content Editing
  • Convert to PDF
  • Encryption 
  • Merge/Append
  • PDF Reader
  • PDF manipulating Library based 

 PDFlite (free and open source)

PDFlite is the free and open source PDF software that enables the user to convert any document or image to a PDF file. The software can create PDFs from almost any format. The user can easily create PDFs by making use of the user-friendly design of PDFlite.

The user can quickly and easily view PDF documents with all the common features such as search, print, and zoom. It happens with the help of PDF Reader. This application enables to convert the doc to PDF and jpg to PDF easily.

PDFlite (Source: PDFlite)


  • PDF Reader
  • PDF Converter
  • Create PDFs
  • Annotations
  •  Content Editing 
  • Encryption
  • Merge/append

Sumatra PDF (free and open-source)

Sumatra PDF is the open source PDF software that has a simple user interface. This free PDF software is powerful and portable.  This online PDF file editor software starts very quickly. 

The software serves as the free PDF, eBook, and reader for windows. It is apt for small size businesses. The PDF reader can be optimized for speed and ease of use. 

Sumatra(Source: Sumatra PDF)


  • PDF Reader
  • Annotations
  • Content Editing
  • Powerful and Portable
  • Simple user interface
  • Quick and easy viewing of PDFs

Although the above mentioned free and open source PDF software is of top-notch quality and can competently edit, combine, transform, and organize PDFs with ease, there is also one more PDF software –  Acrobat Reader DC that is gaining popularity in the market. Let’s move ahead to know the core functionalities of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC:

Acrobat Reader DC (POPULAR)

If you are looking for popular PDF software, then Acrobat Reader is the apt choice for you. This online PDF file editor software can view, sign, collect, track feedback, and can efficiently share PDFs. 

It is easy to edit, export, and send PDFs for signatures with the help of Acrobat Reader DC. The user can efficiently annotate and collaborate on PDF files. With the help of Acrobat Reader DC software, you can work on documents from anywhere. This cloud-based software is packed with all the essential tools needed to convert, edit, and sign PDFs. 

Acrobat Reader DC(Source: Acrobat Reader DC)


  • Annotations
  • Watermarking
  • PDF Reader 
  • Merge/Append
  • Encryption
  • Content Editing
  • Convert to PDF
  • Digital signature

Which is the Best Open Source PDF Editor Software?

As discussed in this article, there is a very diverse set of options available while finding the best open source PDF editor for you. These options can range from offline Windows editors to online editors, considering the amount of work that needs to be associated with these tools. Conclusively, offline editors tend to hold more control over the diversity of features than online editors.

While searching for the best alternative to Adobe Acrobat open source PDF editor, you may come across PDFelement. Over consistent usage and detailed analysis, it is clear that PDFelement is the best option that may come in sight of any user who is looking for an impressive open-source PDF editing software for their work. This is majorly due to the diversity of features offered by the tool across a very simple and effective user interface.


Open-source software (OSS) has been released under an open-source software license, which gives everyone the rights to modify and distribute with few restrictions. Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner. There are many advantages to using open-source software over proprietary software, one of them being access to source code – giving users the freedom to edit and adjust it to suit their own needs.

Different people use different tools for getting their work done. With the rapid rise of open source software and projects, an individual can easily find a tool to perform any specific task with ease. One such very common task is to deal with PDF files in our daily life. Whether it is merging two PDFs into one or extracting pages from one or changing the security settings on PDF, it is not wrong to say that dealing with PDFs is a difficult task.

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