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5 Best Open-Source PDF Editors For Windows, Mac, And Linux

In today's digital age, PDFs have become an integral part of both personal and professional communication. Whether you're sharing reports, contracts, presentations, or educational materials, the ability to edit and annotate PDFs efficiently is paramount. This is where open-source PDF editors come into play, offering versatile solutions that cater to the diverse needs of Windows, Mac, and Linux users.

Open-source software embodies the collaborative spirit of the tech community, enabling developers worldwide to contribute their expertise and create tools that are accessible to everyone. In this article, we'll explore the best open-source PDF editors available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. These editors not only empower users to modify PDF content but also offer features for adding annotations, merging files, extracting information, and much more.

Whether you're a student, a professional, or an individual who frequently interacts with PDFs, finding the right open-source PDF editor can significantly enhance your productivity and streamline your workflow. Let's delve into a comprehensive overview of the top contenders, highlighting their features and benefits across different operating systems. By the end of this article, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision about which open-source PDF editor best aligns with your requirements!


While our focus primarily lies on open-source PDF editors, it's essential to recognize noteworthy proprietary solutions that have garnered attention for their capabilities. One such PDF editor that stands out is FormatPDF, a versatile tool that caters to users across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. While not open source, FormatPDF offers a range of features that make it a noteworthy contender in the PDF editing landscape.

Key Features:

  • FormatPDF boasts an intuitive user interface, making it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise. Its feature set encompasses essential PDF editing functionalities, allowing users to modify text, images, and other content seamlessly. The editor's user-friendly layout enables quick navigation and editing, ensuring a smooth experience.
  • One of FormatPDF's standout features is its robust annotation toolkit. Users can add comments, highlights, and shapes to their documents, enhancing collaboration and communication within teams. The tool's annotation capabilities prove particularly useful for collaborative projects, making it a valuable asset for both professionals and students alike.
  • FormatPDF's compatibility across Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems contributes to its popularity. Regardless of the platform you're working on, you can rely on FormatPDF to deliver consistent performance and a uniform experience. This cross-platform functionality ensures that users are not limited by their choice of operating system.
  • Understanding the importance of document security, FormatPDF incorporates encryption options to protect sensitive information within PDFs. This feature ensures that confidential documents remain secure and can only be accessed by authorized individuals.


In the world of open-source PDF editors, PDFForge emerges as a commendable solution that brings together the power of community-driven development and versatile PDF manipulation. Crafted by a dedicated team of contributors, PDFForge offers a robust set of features, making it a valuable asset for users across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Key Features:

  • One of the most noteworthy features of PDFForge is its support for annotations and markups. Users can add comments, highlights, sticky notes, and shapes to their PDFs, enhancing collaboration and communication among teams working on shared projects. These annotation tools prove particularly valuable for both professional and educational contexts, streamlining document review and feedback processes.
  • At the heart of PDFForge lies its open-source philosophy. Developed by a global community of volunteers and developers, the software benefits from ongoing contributions and improvements. This collaborative approach ensures that the software remains up-to-date, refined, and enriched with new features that reflect user needs and evolving technologies.
  • The open-source nature of PDFForge empowers users to customize the software to match their specific requirements. Access to the source code allows developers to make modifications or add new functionalities that align with unique use cases. This adaptability sets PDFForge apart as a flexible PDF editing solution capable of catering to diverse needs.
  • PDFForge prioritizes data security by providing features such as encryption and password protection. These safeguards allow users to keep their sensitive documents confidential and accessible only to authorized individuals, bolstering the overall security of PDFs.

LibreOffice Draw

Amidst the realm of open source PDF editing tools, LibreOffice Draw emerges as a dynamic and innovative solution that enables users to not only modify and annotate PDFs but also explore creative avenues of visual communication. A vital component of the comprehensive LibreOffice suite, Draw extends its capabilities across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Key Features:

  • Unlike many traditional PDF editors, LibreOffice Draw possesses an array of graphic design tools that go beyond conventional text and image manipulation. Users can create intricate diagrams, flowcharts, infographics, and vector illustrations directly within their PDFs. This unique blend of PDF editing and graphic design capabilities offers a well-rounded solution for professionals seeking creative ways to communicate visually.
  • One of LibreOffice Draw's standout features is its support for vector graphics. Vector graphics ensure that designs remain sharp and scalable, making it an ideal choice for tasks that require precision, such as designing logos, schematics, and technical illustrations. The software empowers users to craft high-quality visuals that maintain their integrity even when resized or printed.
  • LibreOffice Draw's layer-based editing approach sets it apart from many other PDF editors. This feature allows users to create intricate designs by overlaying different elements on separate layers. The ability to manage layers simplifies the editing process, offering greater control over the composition and arrangement of various design components.
  • LibreOffice Draw seamlessly imports and exports a wide range of file formats, enhancing its compatibility with other design tools and office software. Users can bring in existing designs or collaborate on projects across different platforms without worrying about compatibility issues.


Within the realm of open source PDF editing solutions, PDFSam emerges as a robust and versatile tool that brings together a variety of features to empower users in editing and manipulating PDFs. Designed with efficiency in mind, PDFSam caters to users across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, offering a distinct set of capabilities that set it apart.

Key Features:

  • PDFSam distinguishes itself by providing users with an intuitive visual interface for rearranging pages within PDFs. This unique feature allows users to preview the pages and effortlessly drag and drop them into the desired order. This visual approach simplifies the process of organizing documents and enhances the overall editing experience.
  • Beyond standard PDF editing tools, PDFSam excels in its ability to rotate individual pages within a PDF document. This feature proves useful when working with documents that contain both portrait and landscape-oriented pages. Additionally, users can extract specific pages or ranges of pages from larger documents, streamlining the process of creating new PDFs from existing content.
  • PDFSam's prowess extends to merging and splitting PDFs with exceptional ease. Users can combine multiple PDFs into a single document, making it particularly valuable for collating reports or compiling research materials. Conversely, the software enables the separation of multi-page PDFs into smaller files, enhancing file organization and management.
  • PDFSam shines in its support for interactive PDF forms. Users can modify and edit form fields within PDFs, empowering them to fill out forms electronically and even add digital signatures. This feature caters to businesses and organizations that frequently deal with forms and contracts, making the editing and signing process more seamless.


Navigating the open source landscape of PDF editors, MasterPDF emerges as a powerful solution that places a strong emphasis on precision and advanced editing capabilities. Designed to meet the needs of users across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, MasterPDF offers a range of features that cater to professionals seeking a high level of control over their PDFs.

Key Features:

  • MasterPDF sets itself apart by providing advanced text editing tools that enable users to modify text with precision. Whether it's changing fonts, adjusting sizes, or aligning paragraphs, the software offers a comprehensive suite of options that mimic the control typically found in word processors. This attention to detail ensures that PDFs can be edited with the utmost accuracy.
  • One of MasterPDF's unique strengths lies in its ability to design and create interactive PDF forms. Users can add form fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, and dropdown menus to transform static documents into dynamic, user-friendly forms. This feature caters to businesses and organizations that require professional-looking forms for data collection and user interaction.
  • MasterPDF extends its capabilities by seamlessly integrating digital signatures into PDFs. Users can sign documents digitally, enhancing the authenticity and security of agreements and contracts. This feature streamlines the approval process, making it an essential tool for individuals and businesses seeking to uphold the integrity of their documents.
  • In addition to traditional PDF editing tools, MasterPDF excels in its support for layered editing and annotations. Users can add text, shapes, and comments on separate layers, allowing for non-destructive edits and preserving the original content. This innovative approach enhances collaboration and simplifies the process of reviewing and approving documents.


Throughout this exploration, we've delved into a selection of remarkable open source PDF editing solutions, each with its unique strengths and features.

From the collaborative prowess of PDFForge to the creative potential of LibreOffice Draw, and the precision of MasterPDF, we've witnessed how open source software has transformed the landscape of PDF editing. These tools empower users to modify content, enhance collaboration, and even delve into graphic design, all while adhering to the principles of open collaboration and customization.

The open source philosophy not only encourages innovation and community-driven development but also ensures that these PDF editors remain adaptable to changing requirements and technologies. As the digital realm continues to evolve, open source PDF editors will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the way we interact with and manage PDFs.

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Meet Maggie, a writer who's made a name for herself in the world of technology writing. After graduation, Maggie landed her first job at a tech company, where she quickly realized her passion for writing about various topics, including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and web development. Today, Maggie writes for FormatPDF.com. When she isn't writing about technology, she enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with her family and friends.
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