I want to edit PDFs. Specifically, I want to be able to:

  • Add elements to the (intra-page) PDF structure, from as wide a range of whatever constitutes the internal structure of a PDF. Specifically, add text, images, links, interactive elements (like form fields) etc.
  • Explore the existing (intra-page) structure of my PDF both in a hierarchical non-rendered view and with highlighting "currently-selected" objects
  • Modify parameters and contents of elements in the PDF's structure.
  • Change the style/design of a single or of multiple elements.
  • Perform batch actions, in general and on-each-page particularly


  • When I open a file in the editor, I won't accept it being mangled up in some weird way because it's using a feature my Editor doesn't support.
  • Any edits (and of course opening and saving a PDF without edits) to preserve PDF structure, performing minimal changes as necessary - and it's usually not necessary. (so Inkscape is probably not such a great choice).
  • Decent Unicode support, including right-to-left languages and right-to-left directions of elements.
  • Gratis
  • Libre
  • Works on Linux
  • Works with x86_64 machines

Nice to have:

  • Reasonably low memory footprint
  • Actively developed
  • Multi-platform

Related questions:

  • PDFedit probably comes closest, although I don't know if it meets all your requirements. Aug 19 '17 at 18:48
  • Another related question: A PDF editor for Linux
    – John Y
    Apr 15 '19 at 16:05
  • Duplicate, or very nearly so: Free/Libre or Open Source PDF editing software for GNU/Linux
    – John Y
    Apr 15 '19 at 16:08
  • @JohnY: I have multiple requirements which the other question does not. And LibreOffice doesn't begin to meet them. But I will make that clear with an edit.
    – einpoklum
    Apr 15 '19 at 16:55
  • 1
    Fair enough. I find it difficult to tell what the boundary is between "duplicate" and "related". Especially when the same software can be a good solution for multiple not-identical questions. (Or in the case of LibreOffice, an equally poor solution to a whole bunch of not-identical questions. ;) Ultimately, I'm just trying to give exposure to suggestions which might be helpful for other people stumbling upon your question, so calling it "related" serves the purpose.
    – John Y
    Apr 15 '19 at 17:08

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