10 Useful Free and Open Source PDF Manipulation Tools

Last Updated on May 23, 2022

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 for document exchange. The format includes a subset of the PostScript page description programming language, a font-embedding system, and a structural storage system.

Over the years PDF has become an extremely important file format. If you want to create documents that can be viewed under all major operating systems, PDF is the ticket, as it maintains the overall look and feel of documents regardless of what platform they are viewed under.

There is a large range of PDF-related software available with many different applications available that can both output to and open files. Many open source software save documents to this format such as LibreOffice and GIMP.

The purpose of this Group Test is to highlight high quality small tools that are designed to manipulate PDF files. We are not considering PDF editors, PDF viewers, tools that add an OCR layer to PDF files here. This is because these categories are covered by other legendary Group Tests.

We focus on 10 small open source tools. Here’s our rating of the software featured here.

Best Free and Open Source PDF Manipulation Tools

For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action (where relevant), a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

PDF Manipulation Tools
PDFsamExtract pages, split, merge, mix and rotate PDF files
TabulaExtract data tables inside PDF files
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pdftkThe PDF toolkit
pstoeditTranslates PostScript and PDF graphics into other vector formats
PDF ChainGraphical user interface for The PDF Toolkit
img2pdfLossless conversion of raster images to PDF
wkhtmltopdfRender HTML into PDF
kropSimple graphical tool to crop the pages of PDF files
PDF ArrangerMerge, rearrange, split, rotate, and crop PDFs
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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Kawther Hamad
Kawther Hamad
1 year ago

I would like to know if there is a procedure in order to detect PDF file manipulation.