Open Source

Editing PDFs in Linux made possible with PDF Studio

Looking for a good PDF Editor for the Linux operating system? Jack Wallen has finally come across a tool that just might fit the bill. Read on and see what Jack thinks of PDF Editor.

Strangely enough, one of the most consistent questions I get about Linux on the desktop is, "What can I use to edit PDF files?" Linux has tons of applications to create PDF files, but the editing of existing PDF documents? Not so much. There is, however, a proprietary solution that can be purchased and offers a lot of what many Linux desktop users lack. That tool is PDF Studio. And with that tool you can get your fingers seriously dirty with PDF documents.


With PDF Studio (Standard version), you can do the following:

  • Review and Annotate Documents
  • Scan-To-PDF
  • Fill In & Save PDF Forms
  • Secure Documents with Passwords and Permissions
  • Merge/Split/Assemble Documents
  • Add Bookmarks, Watermarks, Headers and Footers
  • Integrate with documents services such as Google Apps,, and SharePoint.

With PDF Studio (Professional version) you have all the above, plus:

  • All Features of PDF Studio Standard, Plus...
  • Batch Process Multiple PDFs
  • Advanced PDF Splitting & Merging
  • Precision Measuring Tools
  • Digitally sign PDF
  • Preflight PDF with PDF/X Profiles

Although there are some users that might balk at the thought of purchasing a piece of Linux software, if you have to edit PDF documents (and you want to do so in the Linux environment) PDF Studio is an outstanding choice.


The installation of PDF Studio is quite simple. I will demonstrate the installation on an Ubuntu-based machine.

  1. First download the version of PDF Studio that fits the architecture of the target machine from the PDF Studio download page. Save the file in the ~/Downloads directory.
  2. Open up a terminal window and change to the ~/Downloads directory with the command cd ~/Downloads.
  3. Issue the command chmod u+x
  4. Issue the command sudo ./
  5. Walk through the GUI installation wizard.
  6. If prompted to install the JVM, allow this installation.

Once installed, PDF Studio will be found in either your Applications | Other or Applications | Office. For the demo version, when you first start PDF Studio, there will be a screen asking which version to start (Standard or Pro). This screen will continue until a PDF Studio license is entered. (NOTE: All documents will also include a watermark until the software is registered.)


Figure A

Figure A

One of the things I like most about PDF Studio is the annotation tools. Figure A shows some of the different annotation tools in action (click to enlarge).

Although it might seem like you can't delete text, I discovered a way around this. Here's how.

  1. Right-click the Square tool.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Change the Outline and Fill colors to match the background of the PDF document.
  4. Draw the square over the text to be deleted.

With the text blocked out, now click on the typewriter icon and then enter the new text. There are only two flaws in this solution:

  • This only works with a solid color background.
  • Getting a perfect font match can be challenging.

Outside of the difficulty of removing specific text, you won't find PDF Studio challenged in many other ways. With this tool pages can be removed, added, merged, moved, rotated, reversed, and more. Text can be extracted into a .txt file. Images can be added or extracted, pages can be scanned into. Headers/footers can be added to documents. Documents can be secured. The list goes on and on.

Ultimately, however, PDF Studio is a great way to collaborate on PDF Design. With powerful annotation tools, it is incredibly easy to share notes with other designers using PDF Studio.

Final thoughts

If you are looking for a solid PDF editing tool for the Linux operating system (and yes this is also available for Mac and Windows), I highly recommend you take a look at PDF Studio. Give it a solid shakedown before you make the purchase, so you know for sure this is the right tool for you. And remember, PDF Studio is a PDF editor. If you are looking for a tool to create PDFs, don't forget to Scribus a try.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


Really PDF Studio suits for all kinds of PDF related work and sometimes I found it better than other PDF softwares. Will recommend it for sure to all users to atleat give it a try. Also very fast when combining multiple images into one pfd file. Easy to edit and all...


Using linux as my operating system has many advantages, one disadvantage is reading pdf files. Linux users can find reading pdf files to be a miserable task since Adobe does not resale a version above 9.0 for the penguin OS. Luckily PDF Studio is out there. PDF studio has the ability to properly highlight sections, add comments, all what we need.


I know this is a necropost, but I after searching for a way to edit text within a PDF I finally realized that LibreOffice (and probably has that functionality.. Just open the pdf in Libre office and use the text tool. So easy.


I've used PDF Studio for several years now and am very satisfied with its performance. It is responsive and fast and for years was and perhaps still is the best PDF editor for Linux. PDF Studio allows full editing of PDFs in Linux including highlighting and notes. The program can be used in Linux, Windows and Mac so if you switch between several computers and operating systems, you can continue to use PDF Studio. A new feature that I appreciate is the new version 6 supports Chinese fonts. I've found it highly intuitive and easy to use. I've found situations where Acrobat is unable to open a PDF, but PDF Studio is able to open it without any problem. The application's drawback is the lack of OCR that enables the user to create a Image on Text machine readable PDF document. I've found it an invaluable tool- PDF Studio is easy to use, allows me to add highlighting and notes to PDF documents. There is a version for Blackberry Playbook that allows me to markup and highlight PDF articles while riding the subway, and when I get home, simply upload the edited PDF to my PC for further analysis in CAQDAS software.


I searched for a while a PDF editing solution when I came across Inkscape. Yes, it is vector drawing, but PDF editing is amazingly precise All the document I edit are made with inkscape The solution you propose seems to be less powerful in pure edition, but should be useful in peer reviewing Pdf docs. I'll give it a try, thanks for the tip


First of all, Thank you Mr. Wallen for a good job. You should have made your article available as a PDF. You can achieve the same thing using OpenOffice. Bring up your PDF in your favorite PDF reader. Make sure your scale reads 100%, so you can see exactly what the printed output should look like. Also ascertain what the size of the printed medium is (put the cursor in the bottom left of the page until you see a small box with the page format in a small highlight box.). Start up OpenOffice Writer. Define your page as the necessary page size (Format; page). Define your margins and all other necessities to fit the PDF. Not all are 8 1/2 x 11! Copy all the data in the PDF; paste into OOWriter. Do your modifications in Writer. Save as .odt. Save again as .pdf. (File; Export as PDF) and Voila! If you're not satisfied, reload the saved .odt version in Writer and continue with mods; save again as both .odt and .pdf. Of course, it goes without saying that the document you are modifying is either your own or that you have the permission to modify it. For those who prefer, LibreOffice does the same. And it hasn't cost you a penny. And the same can be done with the Windows version of OpenOffice Writer. I have no idea about the Mac as I've never worked with one, but I'm sure if there is a version of OO for the Mac, the above comments can be applied.


OOo / Libre Office will edit PDFs yup but use the Draw app that is a part of the suites and you can edit the original pdf directly.

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