16 Best Open Source Free PDF Tools for Windows, Linux, and macOS

16 Best Open Source Free PDF Tools for Windows, Linux, and macOS
Photo by Sarah Olive / Unsplash

Although we have already discussed the availability of various open source free PDF editing applications and PDF OCR software, it is worth noting that the functionality of these tools is often limited. For many users, additional operations on PDF files are necessary beyond what these tools can provide. These operations may include merging multiple PDFs into a single document, splitting a PDF into multiple files, extracting specific pages, organizing and rearranging pages, and even decrypting password-protected PDF files.

To perform more complex PDF tasks, many users turn to premium PDF software or online services, which offer a wider range of features and functionalities. However, in this post, we offer you the best open-source and free alternatives.

Here you can find:

  1. PDF file slicer
  2. PDF file merger
  3. PDF text extractor
  4. PDF annotation editors
  5. PDF page operations (delete, add, edit)
  6. PDF meta-data editor

1. PDF Arranger  

PDF Arranger is a free (open-source) easy-to-use Python-GTK app for merging or splitting PDFs, rotating and cropping pages, and rearranging them with an intuitive graphical interface. It's a front-end for pikepdf and a fork of Konstantinos Poulios's PDF-Shuffler, designed to revitalize the original project. Compatible with Windows and Linux.

GitHub - pdfarranger/pdfarranger: Small python-gtk application, which helps the user to merge or split PDF documents and rotate, crop and rearrange their pages using an interactive and intuitive graphical interface.
Small python-gtk application, which helps the user to merge or split PDF documents and rotate, crop and rearrange their pages using an interactive and intuitive graphical interface. - GitHub - pdfa…

2. PDF Slicer

PDF Slicer

The PDF Slicer is a free, lightweight, and straightforward graphical application that enables you to delete pages from any PDF files.

Platforms: Windows and Linux.

31 Free and Open-source Pdf Apps for macOS (Intel and Apple Silicon)
31 Best free pdf for macOS Intel and Apple Silicon.

3. PDF Mix Tool

PDF Mix Tool

The PDF Slicer is a free, lightweight, and user-friendly graphical application that lets you delete pages from any PDF file. PDF Mix Tool is also a simple and lightweight application that allows you to perform common editing operations on PDF files.

With it, you can merge two or more PDF files, rotate pages, combine multiple pages into one, arrange your PDF pages before merging, generate booklets, extract/export specific pages from any PDF file, and more.

PDF Mix Tool is currently available for Linux systems such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, Manjaro, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, and any other distros using Flathub.

PDF Mix Tool | scarpetta.eu

4. PDF Tricks

PDF Tricks

PDF Tricks is a simple yet powerful PDF app that offers various features, such as compressing PDF files, splitting large PDF files into smaller ones, merging many PDF files into one, and converting PDF into other formats. However, PDF Tricks is currently only available for Linux systems.

GitHub - muriloventuroso/pdftricks: A simple, efficient application for small manipulations in PDF files using Ghostscript.
A simple, efficient application for small manipulations in PDF files using Ghostscript. - GitHub - muriloventuroso/pdftricks: A simple, efficient application for small manipulations in PDF files us…

5. PDF Chain

PDF Chain

PDF Chain is a fantastic graphical user interface for the PDF Toolkit (PDFtk). The GUI provides a really easy-to-use and comfortable way to access all the common features of the command-line tool.

PDF Chain

With PDF Chain, you can do so many things! For example, you can set a background/stamp, add image attachments, burst PDF documents into a single page, set permissions and passwords for PDF files, encrypt your PDF files, and even extract various data from them.

PDF Chain
Download PDF Chain for free. a graphical user interface for the PDF Toolkit (PDFtk) PDF Chain is a graphical user interface for the PDF Toolkit (PDFtk). The GUI supports all common features of the command line tool in a comfortable way.

6. PDF Stitcher

The PDF stitcher app is a tool that merges and stitches PDF files together, as its name suggests. It is available for Windows 7 and later, as well as macOS devices with both Intel and M1 chips.

PDF Stitcher features include

  • Stitch together pages in any order with specified number of rows/columns
  • Rotate pages for stitching
  • Add a margin around the final output
  • Trim or overlap the edges of each page by a specified amount
  • Add blank pages by including zeros in the page list (e.g. 1-5,0,6-10)
  • Layers are automatically preserved if present in the source document
  • Exclude layers (either deactivate or remove)
  • Modify line properties (color, thickness, style (solid, dashed, dotted))
PDFStitcher
The open source PDF stitching software for sewists, by sewists. Latest release: v0.8.5

7. PdfJumbler

PdfJumbler

PdfJumbler is a powerful tool that allows you to easily rearrange, merge, delete, and rotate pages within PDF files. The user interface is intuitive: simply drag and drop pages to move them, or use convenient keyboard shortcuts (as detailed below). For more complex operations, a second page list is available on the left side of the screen (simply pull it out).

Thanks to its Java-based architecture, PdfJumbler is highly versatile and can be used on almost any platform via the Jar file. However, for Windows users, an executable file is also available for even greater convenience.

The app also offers a command-line interface.

GitHub - mgropp/pdfjumbler: A simple tool to rearrange/merge/delete/rotate pages from PDF files.
A simple tool to rearrange/merge/delete/rotate pages from PDF files. - GitHub - mgropp/pdfjumbler: A simple tool to rearrange/merge/delete/rotate pages from PDF files.

8. unlockR

unockR

unlockR is a free and simple tool for decrypting PDF files. It is an open-source system licensed under GPLv3, and is compatible with Linux and Windows operating systems.

GitHub - jkotra/unlockr
Contribute to jkotra/unlockr development by creating an account on GitHub.

9. Paper Clip (PDF Meta Editor)

Paper Clip is a useful PDF meta editor for Linux systems. It allows you to edit the PDF's title, author information, creator tag, creation and modification dates, and keywords.

GitHub - Diego-Ivan/Paper-Clip: A PDF metadata editor
A PDF metadata editor. Contribute to Diego-Ivan/Paper-Clip development by creating an account on GitHub.

10. WhosWho

WhosWho

WhosWho is a simple program that enables you to create people photo packed in a PDF file. It is an ideal solution for yearbook.

The app supports multiple sheet layouts, and allows export in a high resolution for printing. Another fancy feature is that it allows you to use CSV files to create PDF file with images people names automatically.

The supported sheet layouts are

  • A4, portrait, 4x5
  • A4, portrait, 5x6
  • A4, portrait, 6x6
  • A4, landscape, 6x4
  • A4, landscape, 7x4
  • A3, portrait, 6x8
  • A3, landscape, 9x6

All in 150 and 300 DPI.

WhosWho | Flathub
Create PDF documents with people pictures and corresponding name, also called “who’s who”, “yearbook” or “facebook”

11. jPDF Tweak

jPDF Tweak

jPDF Tweak is a powerful Java Swing application that expertly manipulates PDF files. It can seamlessly combine, split, rotate, reorder, watermark, encrypt, or sign PDF files in a breeze.

With jPDF Tweak, you can effortlessly create printable booklets, add bookmarks and stunning effects, seamlessly combine multiple PDFs, attach files, modify metadata, and much more. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to use, even for non-technical users.

jPdf Tweak - Swiss Army Knife for PDF files

12. Rescribe (PDF OCR)

Rescribe PDF OCR

Rescribe is a highly effective and user-friendly desktop tool that uses the advanced Tesseract OCR engine to perform OCR on various image files, PDFs, and Google Books. The tool is equipped with efficient preprocessing and analysis pipelines that produce high-quality output.

Rescribe prioritizes OCR of historical printed works, while also providing modern language options and performing well on contemporary printed works.

Platforms: Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Rescribe desktop tool for OCR

13. iText RUPS

RUPS is an abbreviation for Reading and Updating PDF Syntax. RUPS is a tool built on top of iText® that allows you to look inside a PDF document and browse the different PDF objects and content streams.

RUPS
Get a crystal-clear view how your PDF is constructed and inspect the PDF syntax.

14. CombinePDF

CombinePDF

CombinePDF is a lightweight simplistic PDF combiner, coded in Java using the MVC architecture in JavaFX. It uses iText under the hood.

GitHub - ShaanCoding/CombinePDF: An offline Java application to combine files into PDF.
An offline Java application to combine files into PDF. - GitHub - ShaanCoding/CombinePDF: An offline Java application to combine files into PDF.

15. PDF4Teachers

PDF4Teachers

PDF4Teachers offers efficient tools for editing PDF files while annotating or correcting assessments. Your edits are saved separately from the PDF files to ensure your work is kept safe. Additionally, lists of previous and favorite annotations make it easy to insert recurrent advice and corrections with confidence.

All documents are managed as a set, and once the job is completed, you can export them as new PDF files with the annotations included, all with the confidence that your work is complete.

PDF4Teachers allows for annotating grades and offers a tool for grading scales. When using a numerical grading system, the tool computes and exports the grades of a set of corrected documents as a .csv spreadsheet.

GitHub - ClementGre/PDF4Teachers: PDF editing software in large quantities. Designed for teachers, this app keeps recorded previous annotations, and offers features like marking scale, PDF conversion, vectorial drawing...
PDF editing software in large quantities. Designed for teachers, this app keeps recorded previous annotations, and offers features like marking scale, PDF conversion, vectorial drawing... - GitHub…

16. PDFedit

PDFedit

PDFedit is a free open-source program that allows you to edit PDF files and save them again. You can add notes, images, edit current text, rotate pages and more. PDFedit is available for free for download and use for Windows, and Linux systems.

PDFedit
Download PDFedit for free. Free editor for PDF documents. Complete editing of PDF documents is possible with PDFedit.

If you know of any other open-source free PDF tool that we did not mention here, let us know.

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