12 Useful Free and Open Source PDF Manipulation Tools

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 roundups.

We focus on 12 small open source tools. Here’s our rating of the software captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart. Only

Ratings chart

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each tool.

PDF Manipulation Tools
Stirling PDFLocally hosted web based PDF manipulation tool
PDFsamExtract pages, split, merge, mix and rotate PDF files
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
PDF ArrangerMerge, rearrange, split, rotate, and crop PDFs
TabulaExtract data tables inside PDF files
pdftkThe PDF toolkit
pstoeditTranslates PostScript and PDF graphics into other vector formats
img2pdfLossless conversion of raster images to PDF
wkhtmltopdfRender HTML into PDF
PDF ChainGraphical user interface for The PDF Toolkit
kropSimple graphical tool to crop the pages of PDF files
PDFStitcherUtility for stitching together PDF pages

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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.

1 month ago

Curiously, we should add two programs that surprisingly work really well with PDF files and that people expect: GIMP (great for adding marks or signatures to PDF documents) and Libre Office Draw, which allows total modification of this type of document.

Otherwise it is always good to know other alternatives to work with this type of files 🙂