I think that Adobe Acrobat costs way too much. I don't want to pay for a reoccuring subscription for something I'd like to have for the longest time. The desktop version is way too expensive even with a student discount.

Basically, here is what I need:

  • rotate pdfs
  • cut
  • Save as (with my new edits)

Simple, right?


4 Answers 4


PDFSam Basic seems to meet your requirements

  • Free and open-source
  • Can rotate, cut, merge, save

It is available for Windows and Mac OS X.

PDFSam also have an enhanced paid version with more features.

There are also some reviews talking positively about it.

On techsupportalert:

PDFsam (PDF Split and Merge) is well worth trying if you need to visually re-order or recompose multiple pages of PDF files.

You can mix, merge or extract, split and rotate pages by specifying the page numbers. However, PDFsam also lets you re-organize PDF pages in a thumbnail view. In this mode, you can easily work with thumbnails to merge, delete, rotate or re-order PDF pages and save the results as another PDF file.

Since PDFsam is a Java application, it will run on any operating system that supports Java. The basic version of PDFsam is free for use. The installer is bundled with an advertising program OpenCandy but you can get from here a standalone zip file with no such bundle.

Note: I'm not affiliated with PDFSam. I recommend it as a user.


You definitely must try out PDFill Free PDF Tools

functions to merge, split, reorder, delete, encrypt, decrypt, rotate, crop and reformat PDF pages, to add information, header, footer and watermark, to convert images to PDF, PDF to images or PostScript to PDF, to delete, flatten and list form fields, to scan to pdf, to create transparent image, and more.

No watermarks! No pop-up ads! FREE for personal or commercial use! FREE distribution!

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I can state it made my life better... I absolutely love it!

  • It only lacks OCR features or it would have be too much perfect! :-)
    – danicotra
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 10:38

Yes, at least three come to mind (partly copied from my own answer at https://softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/a/31158/22778):


That is the tool I use for larger PDFs and bulk operation. It's great for splitting, concatenating and rotating PDFs. I use krop (see below) for cropping.


Install with apt-get in Linux:

sudo apt-get install pdftk

It is also available for Windows (thanks to @MrWhite).


Checked out pdfcrop: http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/gutsy/man1/pdfcrop.1.html

It is described in more details here: https://askubuntu.com/questions/124692/command-line-tool-to-crop-pdf-files


krop is what I love to use: http://arminstraub.com/software/krop

I use the GUI, but it can be run via CLI as well - maybe that is what you are looking for:

:~$ krop -h
usage: krop [-h] [-v] [-o OUTPUT] [--rotate {0,90,180,270}]
            [--whichpages WHICHPAGES] [--initialpage INITIALPAGE] [--autotrim]
            [--selections {all,evenodd,individual}] [--no-kde] [--no-PyPDF2]

krop: A tool to crop PDF files

Copyright (C) 2010-2015 Armin Straub, http://arminstraub.com

positional arguments:
  file                  PDF file to open

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --version         show program's version number and exit
  -o OUTPUT, --output OUTPUT
                        where to save the cropped PDF
  --rotate {0,90,180,270}
                        how much to rotate the cropped pdf clockwise (default: 0)
  --whichpages WHICHPAGES
                        which pages (e.g. "1-5" or "1,3-") to include in cropped PDF (default: all)
  --initialpage INITIALPAGE
                        which page to open initially (default: 1)                                                                                                                                         
  --autotrim            create a selection for the entire initial page minus blank margins                                                                                                                
  --selections {all,evenodd,individual}                                                                                                                                                                   
                        to which pages should selections apply                                                                                                                                            
  --no-kde              do not use KDE libraries (default: use if available)                                                                                                                              
  --no-PyPDF2           do not use PyPDF2 instead of pyPdf (default: use PyPDF2 if available)  
  • These apps are too complicated for me. Although I really appreciate you sharing this. I will definitely consider them in the future.
    – Aurora A
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 17:10
  • @AuroraAfable: The apps are really not that complicated. However - and that is my mistake - they are not for windows. I am new to softwareecs, so I missed the tag, sorry.
    – Make42
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 19:39
  • @Make42 PDFtk is available for Windows (at least it is now).
    – MrWhite
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 1:46

I am not sure what you mean by "cut" in this context.

I use the free version of PDF-XChange Viewer (PDFX site )which has both installed and portable versions. It is free in a slightly limited version. The PRO features are clearly shown in the menu system labeled as PRO. The linked page indicates that it has been replaced by PDF-XChange Editor which seems also to have both a free and paid version. Both support Windows XP and later.

PDFX is my preferred application for mark ups of pdf files, it also does OCR.

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