I am looking to fill out a PDF form just like I can with Adobe Acrobat typewriter tool. The PDF forms don't necessarily have form fields, so I really just need to be able to place text on.

I've used Xournal to annotate PDFs and it works well until I need to place an image stamp on the form.

PDFedit seems to be geared toward editing the PDF as opposed to superimposing text and image.

  • Did any of the answers here solve the problem? You could accept one if so. Sep 13, 2022 at 19:03

6 Answers 6


The answer to your question is Xournal. It supports a typewriter-like overlay of the PDF. http://xournal.sourceforge.net/

Unlike Adobe Acrobat, the text isn't manipulable after you place it, so you have to take more care of getting it lined out. I've also read that it works by converting the PDF to an image, overlying the graphics, then exporting as a PDF. This can lose some quailly.


You need a PDF viewer that supports forms. On Linux, those are somewhat limited. You can try Evince with forms support (evince-forms) or you could always download the Linux version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. PDF forms support is limited even on Windows-based non-Adobe viewers.

  • 3
    I don't necessarily want to fill form fields (though that is nice too) I want to fill out forms whose authors did not place form fields. In which case, I'm just typing over the document. I also need to stamp a signature.
    – Gus
    May 19, 2011 at 18:39
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader for Linux is discontinued.
    – Casper
    Dec 1, 2016 at 13:15

I recommend flpsed: http://flpsed.org/flpsed.html

It is simple and lightweight, and it always satisfies my typing-on-PDF needs. The one drawback is that there is no feature to insert an image. It does one thing (adding text) and does it well.


I import the PDF into GIMP and create text layers and place them as needed. When finish, I export to a new PDF. It is a bit cumbersome, but it works well.

  • 4
    Inkscape would work much better, sticking to a vectorial environment from start to finish.
    – E_net4
    Jul 27, 2015 at 17:08
  • 1
    @John What is your workflow for multi page PDFs? Apr 12, 2016 at 22:50

Acroread is the Linux release of Adobe Reader it allows you to view, navigate, fill-in, and, print .pdf files.


Note that linuxconfig (at https://linuxconfig.org/how-to-install-adobe-acrobat-reader-on-ubuntu-20-04-focal-fossa-linux) cautions:

Please note that Adobe no longer supports Acrobat Reader for Linux. The latest native Linux version is 9.5.5 dated from 26/04/2013. From this reason you should refrain using/installing Adobe Acrobat Reader to avoid potential vulnerabilities and hacker exploits. You are recommended to consider installation of Adobe Acrobat Reader on Wine.

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