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Open Source PDF Editor for Linux (and a windows one but not OSS)

20 August 2007 2 Comments

# Update – I discovered a better PDF Editor than flpsed and have written about it here

I spend so much time typing and so little time writing these days, that when I have to use a pen, any length of writing ends up becoming a bit painful, especially so because I am left-handed and we are reknown for holding our pens incorrectly (among other things)

So, I haven’t used Adobe Acrobat for viewing PDF’s for a long time.. since Version 6.0 when it took forever to load and asked you to install 3 plugins which were 10mb downloads everytime you just wanted to view a PDF. So back then, I switched over to Foxit Reader. Anyway, I was reasonably quickly enchanted by Foxit’s own PDF Editor and used it quite a bit for a while to edit, annotate pages especially one time where we had to convert approx 900 wordperfect files to PDF with a Macro that added a footer and header and occasionally it would insert a blank page for no obivous reason, so PDFEditor was great to just remove the page and fix the page numbers on those odd few that happened.

Anyway, the point is that while we have A LOT of options on Linux and Unix for working with PDF’s (one which I am working with at the moment is JOOReports for batch processing Invoices and Statements by creating templates in OpenOffice), there is no simple, easy to use PDF Editor.. except flpsed. While it’s ultra-simplistic (no cut & paste, no undo, no select, move, delete etc) it will get the job done. It can work with both PDF and PostScript files and if you need to work with something else, well I guess you could convert it using Ghostscript. An easy install on Debian / Ubuntu flavours.

It’s in unstable repository, so you will need to have that enabled to do so and then:

sudo apt-get install flpsed

Be aware that you can only “open” a Postscript file. For PDF’s, you need to import them (I converted my pdf to postscript using pdftops before I saw the menu option ;)

EDIT: This post became reasonably popular quite quickly. There’s no true PDF importer that gives full editing capabilities in Linux as far as I know but I did find this PDF to HTML converter for Linux @ $34.95. From there, you should be able to open the html in openoffice and then save it as an .odt file or export back to PDF with your changes.

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