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, Acrobat.com, 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 PDFStudio_install_linux.sh.
  4. Issue the command sudo ./PDFStudio_install_linux.sh.
  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.

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....