Best Free Open Source PDF Editors for Windows and Mac

The PDF format has become a popular choice for reading, especially eBooks. However, editing PDF files can be a challenge, as the format was originally designed to be uneditable. While Adobe's Acrobat Pro DC is the industry standard for PDF editing, it can be expensive. Thankfully, there are free and open source PDF editors available for both Windows and Mac. In this article, we will explore some of the best options.

Open Source PDF Editors for Windows

1. Using Word to Convert and Edit

Although Microsoft Word is not open source, it is a powerful tool for editing PDF files if you already have it installed on your Windows computer. You can use Word to convert PDF to Word, make edits, and convert it back to PDF seamlessly. Simply open Word, click the File button, and select Open to locate and open the PDF file. If you can only see Word files and not PDF files, change the file type to All Files. Once you have made your edits, click Save As and choose PDF as the file type. While Word can be inconsistent in converting from PDF to Word, it is still a viable option for basic edits.

2. Inkscape

Inkscape is an open source PDF editor that primarily uses vector graphics to open and edit PDF files. This allows for better performance, more features, and more options to edit embedded images. Inkscape is available in a portable version, which means you can use it without installing it on your PC. To edit a PDF file with Inkscape, import the PDF, making sure to select the “Import text as text” option. Double-click on a text line to start editing it, and then save the file as a PDF.

3. Apache OpenOffice Draw

Apache OpenOffice Draw is a graphics editor that can be used to edit PDF files. It offers more stability and additional features compared to Inkscape. To use Apache OpenOffice Draw, you need to install the PDF import extension. After installation, open the software, click on Tools, then Extension Manager, and add the extension file. From there, you can open the PDF file you want to edit and make changes.

Open Source PDF Editors for Mac

1. Formulate Pro

Formulate Pro is a free PDF editor for Mac that allows you to view, edit, and redact PDF files. It also supports cloud storage, allowing you to access your documents from anywhere. With Formulate Pro, you can add text, sign PDF files, protect them with passwords, and convert files back and forth. It also has support for OCR technology to recognize text within images.

2. LibreOffice Draw

LibreOffice Draw is part of the popular open source office suite and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It allows you to easily edit PDF files by importing, exporting, adding or removing pages, text, and images. You can also digitally sign your PDF files. Simply open the PDF file in LibreOffice Draw and make your edits.

3. Scribus

Scribus is an open source page layout and PDF editor available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is a powerful tool for desktop publishing and offers a wide range of features for creating and designing interactive PDF files. With Scribus, you can manage colors, fonts, and images. The user interface is easy to understand and similar to Adobe InDesign.

Best PDF Editor – Web

1. PDFescape

While not open source, PDFescape is a free web-based PDF editor that can be accessed from any web browser. It allows you to create new PDF documents or edit existing ones by adding text, images, and digital signatures. The web app is free to use for PDF files under 10MB and 100 pages, but you can upgrade to a pro plan for additional features if needed.

In conclusion, there are several free and open source PDF editors available for both Windows and Mac. Whether you choose to use Word, Inkscape, Apache OpenOffice Draw, Formulate Pro, LibreOffice Draw, Scribus, or PDFescape, you can easily edit your PDF files without the need for expensive software. Choose the editor that best suits your needs and start editing your PDFs today.