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I have some PDF files that I need to change/edit, not view. I'm running on Windows. What is the best package to get this for free (either freeware or opensource, not trial/shareware)?

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Try the Foxit PDF Editor, it is not free, but it has a 30 day trial period, the only disadvantage is that it adds a watermark in the right top corner. –  kiewic Mar 15 at 8:14

10 Answers 10

up vote 14 down vote accepted

OpenOffice.org also allows you to edit and create PDFs.

To open a PDF, you need the Sun PDF Import Extension.

Once you have installed the PDF Import extension for OOo 3, the PDF Options dialog shows a new checkbox on the General tab page: Create Hybrid File.

A hybrid file is a PDF file that contains the document in both formats, ODF and PDF. Most PDF viewer software will ignore the ODF bits and show the hybrid file as a normal PDF file. But in OOo 3, the hybrid file will open in the same module of OOo that created the hybrid file: Writer, Calc, Impress, or Draw. So the OOo 3 user can edit the original layout of the hybrid file, in the highest possible quality without any conversion losses, and then export as PDF again.

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Foxit's PDF editor isn't free. Only the foxit reader is free. –  Simon P Stevens Jul 16 '09 at 18:41
It is free, there is just a tiny and barely noticeable watermark put on the PDF. –  John T Jul 16 '09 at 18:43
Hmm. I think that's an evaluation version. I wouldn't describe it as free if it sticks a watermark on your page, however small. –  Simon P Stevens Jul 16 '09 at 18:56
I never knew that OpenOffice.org allows for editing PDF. This may require some add-on? –  Arjan Jul 30 '09 at 15:34

OpenOffice can edit PDF files. I've tried some and works fine.

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It requires the Sun PDFImport addin, and it fails with "generic I/O eror" on many PDF files, as I just found when trying it with a freshly installed OpenOffice and PDFImport.. –  reinierpost Nov 13 '09 at 10:07
+1. On XP, I just upgraded OO to 3.2.1, then installed the "Sun PDF Import Extension 4.36", and tried to open PDF files but got the error : "General Error - General input/output error." –  OverTheRainbow Aug 3 '10 at 16:55

PDF isn't a format that's been designed for editing, consequently there aren't many editors around.

The easiest thing to do is to create your files using whatever editor you normally use (Word/OpenOffice/Etc) and then use a PDF printer.

There's loads of free PDF printers available. One example is CutePDF

Alternativly you can use something like GhostScript which includes more comprehensive PDF creation tools but is more complex.

For a more complete list of PDF software checkout this wikipedia page

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I'd like to edit EXISTING PDF's in this scenario. –  Brett Veenstra Jul 16 '09 at 18:38
I think your going to struggle then. Check out the notes on "implementations" on the wikipedia pdf page - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format#Implementations You might want to take a look at PDFEdit - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDFedit It's unix based by you can run it under cygwin on windows. –  Simon P Stevens Jul 16 '09 at 18:50
+1 PDF is a presentation format meant for the final version of a document. If you need to edit it, you should keep the original in it's original format on hand (if possible). –  Travis Aug 4 '09 at 20:34

Although it is not a full PDF editor I think PDF-Xchange Viewer should be mentioned as it allows for basic PDF markups.

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This is my favorite application and I work with PDFs non-stop. Only problem is it doesn't crop or add/remove pages (I think the older version did, but they removed that functionality on the free license). Otherwise, A+ program. The best IMO. –  NoCatharsis Dec 9 '10 at 18:17
useless one.... –  stim May 14 '11 at 15:06

PDF Viewer

Type directly on any PDF page, not just Adobe enabled forms/documents.

A Portable version is also available if you prefer - 4Mb download.

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To edit PDF vector images, I use Inkscape.

(Most image editing software can import PDF, but then give you a single bitmap for editing, rather than true vectors. Using Inkscape, one can truly edit all shapes. Note that not all images in PDF documents are actually PDF vector images.)

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If you already have MS Word. You can create your PDF in word, and save it as a PDF via a plugin available at www.microsoft.com I have it on MSword 2003 and MSword 2007 Works great, keeps file size down, and also keeps formatting the way I want it.

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I came across this question while looking for a simple PDF manipulation tool today. Found a great little one on Codeplex: http://pdfrider.codeplex.com/

It uses a web browser PDF viewer control to preview the document, so will use whatever plugin you've got installed.

It can merge, insert, extract, split, rotate, delete and protect/unprotect files. Worked well for me.

enter image description here

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Foxit is the fastest PDF opener. The only free pdf creater I know of is Open Office. Stay away from adobe products, as they take forever to load even though they are free.

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You might also want to look at Jarnal.

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