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Open Source PDF Software

Open Source PDF software are getting more and more mature. If they can not fully compare to the whole Adobe PDF suite, one can now find in open source PDF software to cover advanced needs. Here is a list of the major open source PDF software:


GNU Ghostscript
Ghostscript is the name of a set of software providing:

  • An interpreter for the PostScriptTM language and the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF — sometimes confused with Acrobat, Adobe’s PDF browser and editor product);
  •  Input modules (utilities) for reading a variety of raster formats, including CMYK, GIF, JFIF (JPEG), MIFF, PBM/PGM/PPM, and PCX;Ghostscript is a set of software that provides an open source PDF suite.

Inkscape is an open source SVG editor with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, Visio, etc. Supported SVG features include basic shapes, paths, text, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, node editing, svg-to-png export, grouping, and more.

LibreOffice is the free power-packed open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs.


Xpdf is an open source PDF viewer. The Xpdf project also includes a PDF text extractor, PDF-to-PostScript converter, and various other utilities.

ICEpdf is an open source PDF java library ideal for displaying and printing PDF documents within any Java application. The ICEpdf API is 100% Java-based, lightweight, fast, efficient and very easy to use. ICEpdf is 100% Java-based.

Sumatra PDF
Sumatra PDF is a free PDF, eBook (ePub, Mobi), XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR) reader for Windows. Sumatra PDF is small, portable and starts up very fast.

PDFtk Server
PDFtk Server is an open source command-line tool for working with PDFs. It is commonly used for client-side scripting or server-side processing of PDFs. It is also used by OEMs and ISVs to give their products the ability to manipulate PDFs. A commercial license is required to distribute PDFtk with commercial products.

PDFedit is a free PDF editor for Unix-like operating systems (including Cygwin on top of Windows). It does not support editing protected or encrypted PDF files or word processor-style text manipulation, however.

PDF Split and Merge
PDFSaM or PDF Split and Merge software is a free and open source cross-platform set of tools for manipulating PDF documents. PDFSaM basically provides a command-line and graphical user interfaces to the iText library. The command-line interface is written in Java and dual-licensed under the GPLv2 and LGPLv2. In graphical mode there is a separate utility for each kind of task; these utilities serve as plugins to the main GUI and call the command-line tool for doing the actual work.


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