I would like to add some text and an image to some PDF files − nothing complicated, but apparently software to do this is difficult to find :-/

I tried:

  • LibreOffice, but that mangles some PDF documents in ways that I've seen no other program do.
  • Inkscape doesn't work well with multi-paged documents.
  • PDFedit is based on Qt3, I might be able to get it running by compiling the old Qt3 stuff, but I'd rather not go down that road... I tried the Windows build with wine but that doesn't seem to work (lots of errors, crash).

Open source is preferred, but not required. I don't even mind running Wine (Simple, free PDF editor for Windows? doesn't list any other alternatives though). Watermarks and such are not acceptable.

  • What do you want to edit? Where do the PDF come from (which version of PDF)
    – frlan
    Apr 15, 2016 at 15:18
  • In my experience, crashes in PDFedit happen when it misdetects fonts (or something). If I use "select font from page" it's all fine. I would also recommend this question btw.
    – mirh
    Mar 28, 2019 at 21:53
  • This is almost a duplicate of "PDF editor for Linux".
    – John Y
    Apr 15, 2019 at 16:00

4 Answers 4


There's a number of pieces of PDF software for Linux but the Open Source software tend to be outdated in comparison to the commercial software.

Open Source you've got:

  • pdftk
  • qpdf
  • Scribus
  • GIMP
  • PDFEdit

I wouldn't use Wine for PDF editing as the lack of dependencies (and even the .NET framework) can cause you real problems. If you don't mind out-of-date software then PDFEdit is powerful enough for most people.

However if you want up-to-date, commercial software then I'd recommend PDF Studio by Qoppa.

You get all the normal functionality including the ability to make/edit PDF's, create/complete forms, encryption/protection, digitally sign, watermark, OCR, editable text, redaction, optimisation, convert to raster, redaction, linearize, convert to HTML5/SVG, bookmarks etc.

So far it has been the only one which receives regular updates, supports AES-256 on Linux and has a decent GUI. The problem with other Linux software is they're either no longer supported or they provide minimal functionality.

It comes in two editions: Standard and Pro and is considerably cheaper than Adobe Acrobat Pro. You do have to pay for it but it's not expensive and they do offer an academic and 'not-for-profit' discount.

There's a free trial available that you can download to see if you like it. So far I've had no issues with it and there are both 32/64-bit editions available.


Try :


Scribus 1.5 will allow you to import and edit multi-page PDF's. It's open source.

To import just open a PDF file and export to PDF again after you have finished.


It sounds like you are trying to do things like watermarking/stamping pages for this I would normally use pdftk Server.

  • Linux Yes & Windows/OS-X/Source
  • Gratis Yes unless you need commercial support or wish to redistribute
  • Watermark all pages the same Yes create a single page pdf and use the background command to have it used as a watermark on every page, e.g. pdftk in.pdf background back.pdf output out.pdf will use the first page of back.pdf as a watermark for every page.
  • Watermark pages differently Yes create a multi page pdf and use the multibackground command to have the first page used as a watermark on the first page, etc, e.g. pdftk in.pdf multibackground back.pdf output out.pdf will use the first page of back.pdf as a watermark for the first page the last page of back.pdf is used for any extra pages of in.pdf.
  • Stamp pages Yes the same as above but using the stamp/multistamp commands.
  • You can also add/insert/remove/reorder/rotate pages.

The pages that you wish to add or overlay can be generated with any pdf creator such as LibreOffice or InkScape.

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