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[2021] Top 8 Best Free Open Source PDF Editor

Jane Zhou updated on Aug 10, 2021 to PDF Editor Tutorials

PDF files are the most preferred type for business. Thanks to a number of best PDF reader out there, viewing and sharing them is pretty straightforward. Moreover, you can even share a PDF file as an email attachment or via instant messaging. The hardest part is editing PDF files.

The smart solution to edit PDF files is using the best open source PDF editor. With a PDF editor, you can avoid the hassle of converting your PDF file into a different format to edit it. As there are several options available out there, we have done the heavy lifting for you. Read on and explore the top 8 PDF editor freeware for both Windows and Mac.

★★★ Best PDF Editor for Windows - EaseUS PDF Editor

Compatibility: Windows 7/8/8.1/10

For those people who look for an easy-to-use and open source PDF editing software for Windows, EaseUS PDF maker is a great option. With this Windows PDF editing software, you can edit the PDF documents as you want. It supports numerous basic and advanced editing tools, allowing you to add, modify, or remove text, images, and add hyperlink to PDF files, or insert, delete, extract, crop, and rotate pages with ease. 

Moreover, it is also a PDF manager. You can flexibly compress, split PDF, or add passwords to PDF files quickly. You cannot miss this all-in-one PDF editor for Windows, just download it!

In the following, we will show you the top 8 best open source PDF editing software one by one with their core functionalities.

#1. LibreOffice Draw

Compatibility: Windows, Mac & Linux

LibreOffice Draw is one of the most powerful office suites out there and a free open source PDF creator for Mac and Windows. This PDF editor was designed to be like Microsoft Word in order to launch and edit PDF files without facing any hassle.

Editing PDF files is pretty straightforward, thanks to LibreOffice Draw functionality. The Draw is essentially a diagram creator but comes with a strong capability to create as well as edit PDF files. It entails all the fundamental features you would like to have from a free, decent PDF editor, though its interface is a bit outdated.

LibreOffice Draw - Open source PDF editor

Key Features:

  • Able to edit both images and text
  • Support to white-out some regions to add text on top
  • Support to introduce annotations on PDF files
  • Able to digitally sign the PDF files
  • Support for file conversion

#2. Inkscape

Compatibility: Windows, Mac & Linux

Like Freehand, Adobe Illustrator, or Xara X, Inkscape is a vector graphics editor that is open source. It can also be used as the best open source PDF software. The tool is handy for many designers, illustrators, or anybody who likes to craft some vector imagery.

However, it can even read, edit and excerpt data from any PDF file. Especially if you have experience in editing PDF files, then Inkscape is a handy PDF editor for you.

Inkscape - Edit PDF files

Key Features:

  • Support to edit all parts of PDF file, including removing or adding images, links, or texts
  • Able to split pages, add comments, annotations, and more
  • Support to save documents as PNG file format
  • Entail a lot of image-editing tools
  • Able to manipulate graphics as well

#3. PDFSam Basic

Compatibility: Windows, Mac & Linux

PDFSam Basic is a free open source PDF maker for Mac, Windows, and Linux, available since 2006. It can sign and merge PDF files. What's more? You can mix, split, and rotate PDF files with the assistance of PDFSam. It allows PDF files to remain private on your system.

Being a professional user, you can take advantage of its two commercial solutions – Enhanced and Visual. You can edit, convert, sign, fill forms, reorder pages and visually combine using the tool.

Open source PDF editing software - PDFSam

Key Features:

  • Able to merge, split and extract pages from PDF files
  • May help you rotate and saves single/ multiple pages
  • Support adding annotations, content editing, digital signature
  • Support converting to PDF
  • Able to add pages or hyperlinks

#4. PDF Architect Free

Compatibility: Windows 10/8/7

PDF Architect Free is an open source PDF editor for Windows 10 developed by PDF forge. With the assistance of this tool, you can create a PDF from Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and other 300+ file formats. It is a fully functional PDF editor out there for your document needs.

It provides you complete control over your PDF files and enables you to modify them as you need. Moreover, it demands no export or copy of the content to another file format in order to perform modifications.

Edit PDF file with PDF architect free

Key Features:

  • Support editing picture, text, and the diagram on PDF files
  • Able to merge all the files into one PDF file
  • Support to convert PDF files into numerous other formats
  • Support to add annotations
  • You can sign documents using a digital signature

#5. Apache OpenOffice Draw

Compatibility: Windows, Mac & Linux

Apache OpenOffice Draw is another great open source PDF creating software available out there. With the help of it, creating PDFs from scratch and exporting them to different formats is straightforward.

Moreover, it comes with a lot of tools for editing PDFs. It will provide you complete control over your PDF file for editing purposes and add text and pictures with ease. Apache OpenOffice Draw is highly recommended for you if you are working on pie charts or complex assignments.

Open source PDF editor - Apache openoffice draw

Key Features:

  • Able to sketch complicated plans, edit, add, rotate and delete images/vector graphics
  • Support to add styles or formatting to your PDFs
  • Come with an in-built spell checker
  • You can add annotations, merge or append
  • Support converting to PDF

#6. Okular

Compatibility: Windows, Mac & Linux

Okular is a PDF editor open source that is very straightforward to use. It comes with a lot of modern features that you will only find in enterprise PDF editors. One great part is that it can help you create custom markers, making it easy to navigate in your large PDFs. Therefore, this option is handy for those who work on PDF-based eBooks.

Okular - pdf editing software

Key Features:

  • Come with all basic PDF editing features
  • Support creating custom markers
  • Cross-platform PDF editor
  • Free to use
  • Able to edit text and other parts of your PDF file with ease

#7. Skim

Compatibility: Mac

Skim is the best open source PDF maker for Mac. With the help of this tool, you can preview PDF files with comment features. This, in turn, enables to make snapshots for quick reference, highlight crucial text and navigate between pages using a table of contents along with a visual history. If you're looking for a PDF editor open source just for the Mac system, look no further from Skim. It has got everything you need to edit PDFs on Mac.

Skim PDF editor

Key Features:

  • View and edit PDF files
  • Highlight important content, which includes one-swipe highlight mode
  • Come with smart cropping tools
  • Make snapshots for quick reference
  • Work only for Mac

#8. PDFedit

Compatibility: Windows

PDFedit is a simple PDF editor open source you can have. It implies that you can use it to do simple modifications to your PDF files. In order to edit the files, you have to draw new items over the already existing template.

You can choose which sections or parts you need to edit and then perform changes accordingly. You can delete specific text, pictures, or charts from PDF without much hassle with the help of it.


Key Features:

  • Come with a simple PDF editing interface
  • Able to delete text, image, or chart
  • Fast PDF editor that operates smoothly
  • Debug functionality to eradicate errors
  • Work only for Windows PC

Comparison - 8 Best Free Open Source PDF Editor Download

To help you get your desired PDF editor freeware, we made a comparison chart of all the PDF editing programs we mentioned above. Just move ahead to explore the core functionalities.

Software Compatibility Highlights
LibreOffice Draw Windows, Mac & Linux
  • Offer annotation tools
  • White-out PDFs
  • Convert file formats
Inkscape Windows, Mac & Linux
  • Lots of image editing tools
  • Manage PDF pages
  • Export to PNG format
PDFSam Basic Windows, Mac & Linux
  • Content editing
  • Convert PDF file formats
  • Compress file
PDF Architect Free Windows 10/8/7
  • Content editing
  • Sign PDFs
  • Support conversion to/from 300+ formats
Apache OpenOffice Draw Windows, Mac & Linux
  • Built-in spell checker
  • Convert PDF files
  • Apply styles
Okular Windows, Mac & Linux
  • Ebook reader
  • Create custom makers
  • Content editing tools
Skim Mac
  • Take snapshots
  • Annotate on PDFs
  • PDF viewer
PDFedit Windows
  • Simple user interface
  • Operate smoothly
  • Content editing

The Bottom Line

That's all on the best open source pdf editor for Mac and Windows PC. All of the mentioned open source PDF viewers can be used as PDF readers and editors. So, it's time to pick the one that can help meet your unique PDF editing requirements.

Open Source PDF Creator FAQs

1. Is there an open source PDF editor?

The short answer to the question is YES!! PDF editors mentioned here are all open source.

2. Can you edit PDF with OpenOffice?

Yes, you can, but it requires installing the PDF extension for OpenOffice.

3. Can I edit a PDF for free?

Yes, you can! Most of the PDF editor open source mentioned here are free to use. Therefore, with the help of them, you can easily edit your PDF file for free.

4. Is there a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat?

You can certainly edit PDF files using Adobe Acrobat, but the catch is that the editing feature available in Adobe Acrobat is not free. Therefore, it makes sense to look out for a free Adobe Acrobat alternative. Fortunately, there are many great free alternatives available out there for Adobe Acrobat.