List of PDF software

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This is a list of links to articles on software used to manage Portable Document Format (PDF) documents. The distinction between the various functions is not entirely clear-cut; for example, some viewers allow adding of annotations, signatures, etc. Some software allows redaction, removing content irreversibly for security. Extracting embedded text is a common feature, but other applications perform optical character recognition (OCR) to convert imaged text to machine-readable form, sometimes by using an external OCR module.

Terminology[edit]

  • Creators — to allow users to convert other file formats to PDF.
  • Readers — to allow users to open, read and print PDF files.
  • Editors — to allow users to edit or otherwise modify PDF files.
  • Converters — to allow users to convert PDF files to other formats.

Multi-platform[edit]

Name License Platforms Converts PDF to other format Edits existing PDF Description
Linux Mac Windows Other
Adobe Acrobat Proprietary No Yes Yes Yes Yes View, create, manipulate, print and manage files in PDF.
GIMP GNU GPL Yes Yes Yes Yes Converts PDF to raster images.
ImageMagick ImageMagick License[1] Yes Yes Yes Yes Converts PDF to raster images and vice versa.
LibreOffice GNU LGPLv3 / MPLv2.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Import from PDF (extension included by default), export as PDF including PDF/A.
OpenOffice.org GNU LGPLv3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Import from PDF (with restrictions) (after installing an extension), export as PDF including PDF/A.
PDFBox Apache License 2.0 Yes Yes Unix Yes Converts PDF to other file format (text, images, html).
Poppler-utils GNU GPL Yes Yes Unix Yes Converts PDF to other file format (text, images, html).
pstoedit GNU GPL Yes Yes Unix Yes Converts PostScript to (other) vector graphics file format.
QPDF Apache License 2.0 Yes Yes Yes Structural, content-preserving transformations from PDF to PDF.
pdf-parser Public Domain Python script Yes Extraction and analysis tool, handles corrupt and malicious PDF documents.
Solid Converter PDF Proprietary Yes Yes Yes PDF to Word, Excel, HTML and Text; supports passwords, text editing, and batch conversion.
SWFTools GNU GPL Yes Yes Yes Yes SWF conversion and manipulation suite containing a standalone PDF to SWF converter along with a Python gfx API (requires Xpdf).
Smallpdf Desktop Proprietary Yes Yes Yes Yes Supports merging, splitting, and extracting pages from PDFs. Also rotating, deleting and reordering pages. Converts PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, raster images.
Nitro PDF Proprietary Yes Yes Yes Converts PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, raster images. Rich UI, allows combining PDFs, converting to other formats, editing (add images, shapes, text, etc.).
Mobipocket Creator Proprietary Yes Yes Import from PDF and create HTML and MOBI output.
Inkscape GNU GPL Yes Yes Yes Yes Import-/Export- from PDF to (Vector-)graphics. Export documents only one page at a time (pages can be later combined using PDF printer).
Scribus GNU GPL Yes Yes Yes Unix, GNU/Hurd, Haiku, OS/2 Yes Export PDF and many other formats, multi-pages and multi-layers. Supports JS forms

Cannot edit PDF Files.[2]

LibreOffice Draw GNU LGPLv3 / MPLv2.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes PDF viewing and editing. Has many of the features offered by Adobe Acrobat.
OpenOffice Draw GNU LGPL Yes Yes Yes Yes PDF import via OpenOffice.org software, or extensions.
PDFedit GNU GPL Yes Yes BSD Yes Software to view or edit the internal structures of PDF documents, and merge them.
Pdftk GNU GPL Yes Yes Yes FreeBSD, Solaris Yes Command-line tools to edit and convert documents; supports filling of PDF forms with FDF/XFDF data. GUI front-end exists.
PDF Studio Proprietary Yes Yes Yes Yes Full feature PDF editor.
Karbon GNU GPL/LGPL Yes Yes Yes BSD, Solaris/Illumos Yes Import PDF with multiple pages as layouts, export as a one-page PDF. All standard vector graphics editor features.
Serif PagePlus Proprietary Yes Yes Desktop publishing (DTP) application allows opening and editing of PDF documents; Allows compatible saving as PDF 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.7 and supports also PDF/X1, PDF/X1a and PDF/X-3.
Soda PDF Proprietary Yes Yes Modular PDF software.

Development libraries[edit]

These are used by software developers to add and create PDF features.

Name License Description
Adobe PDF Library Proprietary C++, .NET, Java API with support for PDF editing, viewing, printing and text extractions.
Apache PDFBox Apache License Java developer library for creating, view, extract, print PDF files.
Formatting Objects Processor Apache License Open-source print formatter driven by XSL Formatting Objects and an output independent formatter; main output target is PDF.
iText Proprietary/AGPL Library to create and manipulate PDF, RTF, HTML files in Java, C#, and other .NET languages.
JasperReports GNU LGPL Open-source Java reporting tool that can write to screen, printer, or into PDF, HTML, Microsoft Excel, RTF, ODT, comma-separated values and XML files.
JPedal Proprietary/GNU LGPL Java developer library for viewing, extracting, and printing PDF files.
libHaru ZLIB/LIBPNG Open-source, cross-platform C library to generate PDF files.
OpenPDF GNU LGPLv3 / MPLv2.0 Open source library to create and manipulate PDF files in Java. Fork of an older version of iText, but with the original LGPL / MPL license.
PDFsharp MIT C# developer library to create, extract, edit PDF files.
PDFTron Systems Proprietary C, C++, C# .NET, JAVA, Objective-C, Python, Ruby and PHP library for creating, editing, annotating, optimizing and viewing PDF files.
podofo GNU LGPL Open-source C++ library to read and write the PDF files.
Poppler GNU GPL Open-source multi-backend C++ library derived from Xpdf; no bundled viewer; incl. pdftohtml converter.
TCPDF GNU LGPL Open-source PHP library to create PDF files.

Creators[edit]

These create files in their native formats, but then allow users to export them to PDF formats.

Name License Platforms Description
Adobe Acrobat Proprietary Windows, macOS Desktop PDF authoring suite.
Adobe Illustrator Proprietary Windows, macOS Illustrator can save as PDF, and can recognize and edit text and graphics.
FineReader Proprietary Windows, macOS, Linux OCR tool; can save as PDF, and recognize text from PDF.
Ghostscript Proprietary/AGPL Linux, Windows, macOS, UNIX Viewer, creator, converter; supports also PDF/X-3; used by PdfCreator (until v1.7.3 then .NET Framework 4 since v2.0.0), WinPdf, BullzipPdf, CutePDF freeware version and others.
Microsoft Office Proprietary Windows, macOS All Microsoft Office products from 2007 version allow users to Save as PDF.
OpenOffice.org GNU LGPL Linux, Windows, macOS All OpenOffice.org applications allow PDF export; supports also PDF/A-1a; since many import formats are supported (e.g., doc, docx, rtf, xls, ppt) conversion is also possible.
LibreOffice GNU LGPLv3 / MPLv2.0 Linux, Windows, macOS All LibreOffice applications allow PDF export; supports also PDF/A-1a; since many import formats are supported (e.g., doc, docx, rtf, xls, ppt) conversion is also possible.
Serif PagePlus Proprietary Windows Desktop publishing (DTP) application; Allows compatible saving as PDF 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.7 and supports also PDF/X-1, PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3.
PageStream Proprietary ? Cross-platform desktop publishing application to open, edit, export.
Prince Proprietary Linux, macOS, Windows, Solaris, Converts HTML, XML, SVG, and MathML to PDF by way of CSS.
Scribus GNU GPL Linux/UNIX, macOS, OS/2 Warp 4/eComStation and Windows desktops Cross-platform desktop publishing (DTP) application; supports also PDF/X-3.
LaTeX, TeX LaTeX Project Public License, Permissive ? Mark-up language and tools to write technical reports, books, magazines, almost any publication type.
LuaTeX GNU GPL ? TeX typesetting system that creates PDF documents.
pdfTeX GNU GPL ? TeX typesetting system that creates PDF documents.
XeTeX MIT ? TeX typesetting system that creates PDF documents.

Viewers[edit]

These allow users to view (not edit or modify) any existing PDF file.

Name License Description
Adobe Reader Proprietary, freeware Adobe's PDF reader
DigiSigner Proprietary, freeware PDF viewer with added function to digitally sign PDF documents.
Evince GNU GPL Universal viewer for GNOME.
Foxit Reader Proprietary, adware PDF Viewer / Reader for Desktop computer and Mobile Devices. Allows users to add many elements to PDFs (e.g. arrowed comment boxes, text boxes, links, bookmarks, and images).
Ghostview Aladdin Free Public License A graphical interface for Ghostscript.
Chromium BSD Browser includes PDF viewer functionality. Google Chrome (which is based on Chromium) uses the same PDF viewer.
MuPDF Proprietary/AGPL PDF conversion and rendering with anti-aliased graphics.
Okular GNU GPL Universal viewer by KDE.
PDF.js Apache License 2.0 A JavaScript library to convert PDF files into HTML5, usable as a web-based viewer that can be included in web browsers. Firefox has PDF.js built-in by default.
Qiqqa Proprietary, freeware View PDFs in a variety of zoom layouts, annotate, tag, search, cross-reference.
Utopia Documents GNU GPL v3 Semantic scientific PDF reader (optimized for life sciences and medicine), allows public comments on PDFs, generates on-the-fly link-outs to scientific databases and resources when used while online.
Xpdf GNU GPL/Proprietary Multi-platform viewer; source and binaries available for Linux, Windows and Macintosh.

AmigaOS[edit]

Converters[edit]

Viewers[edit]

  • Xpdf: a multi-platform viewer for PDF files, Amiga version uses X11 engine Cygnix.

Linux and Unix[edit]

Name License Functions Description
View Annotate Edit Create Convert Library
Okular GNU GPL Yes Yes KDE desktop environment; replaces KPDF. Supports a range of annotation types. Annotations are stored separately from the unmodified PDF file, or (since version 0.15 with Poppler 0.20) can be saved in the document as standard PDF annotations.
Evince GNU GPL Yes Yes Default PDF and file viewer for GNOME; replaces GPdf. Supports addition and removal (since v3.14), of basic text note annotations.
CUPS Apache License 2.0 No No No Yes Printing system can render any document to a PDF file, thus any Linux program with print capability can produce PDF files
Pdftk GPLv2 No Yes Yes Command-line tools to merge, split, en-/decrypt, watermark/stamp and manipulate PDF document files. Front end to an older version of the iText library.
poppler GNU GPL Yes Yes Utility library for rendering Portable Document Format (PDF) documents. poppler-utils includes command-line tools to extract images from a PDF (pdfimages) and convert a PDF to other formats (pdftohtml, pdftotext, pdftoppm).
ps2pdf GNU AGPL Yes Part of Ghostscript; converts a PostScript file to a PDF.
SWFTools GNU GPL Yes pdf2swf component converts PDF to SWF.
Scribus GNU GPL Yes Open source program for page layout.
Xpdf GNU GPL Yes Yes Open source multi-backend library for viewing and manipulating PDF files. Bundled with a viewer with the same name for the X Window System.
PDF Studio Proprietary Yes Yes Software for viewing and editing PDF documents
Inkscape GNU GPL Yes Technically not a PDF editor, but can be used as such page by page
Adobe Reader Proprietary freeware Yes Extant versions are obsolete, Adobe has stopped support for Linux.
Firefox MPL Yes Includes a PDF viewer
Google Chrome Proprietary freeware Yes Includes a PDF viewer
MuPDF Proprietary/AGPL Yes Yes Lightweight document viewer.
Zathura zlib License Yes Lightweight document viewer with vim-like keybindings.

macOS[edit]

Converters[edit]

Editors[edit]

  • Adobe Acrobat: Proprietary PDF authoring suite
  • PDF Expert: Proprietary PDF viewer and editor.
  • PDF Studio: Proprietary software to view and edit PDF documents.
  • PDF Signer: Proprietary; fills forms and embeds image signatures in PDF documents

Creators[edit]

  • macOS: Creates PDF documents natively via print dialog

Viewers[edit]

  • Safari: This bundled web browser has built-in support for reading PDF documents.
  • Firefox: Includes a PDF viewer
  • Google Chrome: Includes a PDF viewer
  • Preview: macOS's default PDF viewer (in Mac OS X v10.5 and later, it also can rotate, reorder, annotate, insert, and delete pages. It can also merge files, create new files from existing files, and move pages between files.)
  • Adobe Reader: Adobe Systems's reader which is also available for Macintosh; Safari plug-in available
  • Skim, an open source (BSD licence) PDF reader and note-taker for macOS
  • Foxit Reader: Proprietary, freeware. Allows users to add elements to PDFs (e.g. arrowed comment boxes, text boxes, links, bookmarks, and images)

Microsoft Windows[edit]

Converters[edit]

  • Adobe Acrobat: Can convert files into PDF or convert PDF files into other formats
  • ABBYY FineReader: Commercial PDF converter which converts PDF into Word (.doc), Excel (.xls), PowerPoint (ppt), and more
  • deskUNPDF: PDF converter to convert PDFs to Word (.doc, docx), Excel (.xls), (.csv), (.txt), more
  • GSview: File:Convert menu item converts any sequence of PDF pages to a sequence of images in many formats from bit to tiffpack with resolutions from 72 to 204 × 98 (open source software)
  • Google Chrome: convert HTML to PDF using Print > Save as PDF.
  • gDoc Fusion: Proprietary, shareware; PDF views, edits, converts documents into PDF, XPS or Microsoft Word document; after 30 days a watermark is placed on documents in shareware version
  • OmniPage: Converts to and from PDF and other formats with many options.
  • Nitro PDF Reader: (Freeware) Extracts Images in original resolution.
  • PDF-XChange: PDF Tools and PDF-XChange print driver allow conversion from many formats to PDF. A "lite" version of the print driver is free for non-commercial (home and academic) but places a watermark on documents
  • Qiqqa: Converts Microsoft Word document and Web Pages to PDF.
  • SWFTools: 'pdf2swf component converts PDF to SWF – command line with GUI wrapper
  • poppler-utils a collection of tools builds on poppler to convert PDF contents to everything
  • GraphicsMagick: Can convert PDF to PNG or other formats.

Creators[edit]

Name License Freeware version Description
Bullzip PDF Printer Proprietary Yes Virtual printer, requires Ghostscript and PDFPowerTool.
CC PDF Converter GNU GPL Virtual Printer. Creates a PDF with embedded Creative Commons license from any software. Bundled with optional proprietary Razoss adware and browser tools.
CutePDF Proprietary Yes Virtual printer, also with proprietary PDF editor. Attempts to install the Ask Toolbar as well as Hotspot Shield. Can be avoided by using the /no3d command-line switch. Includes OpenCandy adware.
deskPDF Proprietary No Available for both client and terminal servers.
doPDF Proprietary Yes Virtual printer. It doesn't use Ghostscript. Includes adware.
eCopy PaperWorks Proprietary No
Foxit PhantomPDF Proprietary No
Foxit Reader PDF Printer Proprietary Yes Virtual printer that comes with Foxit Reader.
gDoc Creator Proprietary, shareware No Enterprise-level creator to create, review, edit, share or archive PDF and XPS documents. After 30 days shareware version places a watermark on documents.
HelpNDoc Proprietary Yes Manual and documentation authoring tool with native PDF export. Free for personal use.
Mountains Proprietary No Image analysis and desk top publishing software dedicated to microscope users, and distributed under different brands by most microscope manufacturers. The pages produced can be saved into proprietary format, RTF and PDF.
Nitro PDF Reader Proprietary Yes As with Adobe Acrobat, Nitro PDF Pro's reader is free; but unlike Adobe's free reader, Nitro's free reader allows PDF creation (via a virtual printer driver, or by specifying a filename in the reader's interface, or by drag-'n-drop of a file to Nitro PDF Reader's Windows desktop icon); Ghostscript not needed.
NovaPDF Proprietary No Virtual printer.
PagePlus Proprietary No Desktop publishing suite with PDF viewing, editing and creation features
PaperPort Proprietary No Desktop publishing suite with PDF viewing, editing and creation features
PDFCreator GNU GPL/Proprietary Yes Virtual printer for Windows using a custom license called FairPlay. Used Ghostscript GPL until v1.7.3. Now uses .NET Framework 4. Includes adware.
PDF24 Creator Proprietary Yes A PDF creator and virtual PDF printer for Microsoft Windows
PDF-XChange Proprietary Yes PDF Tools allows creation of PDFs from many types of source input (images, scans, etc.). The PDF-XChange print driver allows printing directly to a PDF. A "lite" version of the print driver is free for non-commercial (home and academic) use.
PrimoPDF Proprietary Yes Virtual printer, for Microsoft .NET Framework and uses Ghostscript and RedMon. Connects with www.primopdf.com. Includes Open Candy adware.
Solid PDF Creator Proprietary No
Universal Document Converter Proprietary No Virtual printer. It doesn't use Ghostscript.
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Proprietary No Graphic design software with PDF creation plus import, viewing and limited editing

Editors[edit]

Name License Description
Adobe Acrobat Proprietary Adobe Systems's proprietary desktop PDF authoring suite.
Adobe Photoshop Proprietary Adobe Systems's Graphic Design software and image editor.
Bluebeam Revu Proprietary A commercial PDF editor, markup and collaboration product aimed at engineering and architectural markets.
Foxit Reader Freeware Highlight text, draw lines, measure distances of PDF documents.
gDoc Fusion Proprietary/Shareware desktop product to create, review, edit, share or archive PDF and XPS documents. After 30 days a watermark is placed on documents in shareware version.
LibreOffice Free (Mozilla Public License) GUI tools to manipulate, split, merge, encrypt and decrypt PDF files.
Microsoft Word 2013 Proprietary Desktop software. The 2013 edition of Office allows PDF files to be converted into a format that can be edited.
Nitro PDF Reader Freeware Text highlighting, draw lines and measure distances in PDF files.
Nitro PDF Pro Proprietary a proprietary commercial PDF creator/editor with an interface styled after Microsoft Office; replicates most or all features of the Adobe Acrobat full commercial version; offers a separate freeware reader (which also supports PDF creation, annotation, collaboration and signing); Ghostscript not additionally needed.
PDF Studio Proprietary Proprietary software for viewing and editing PDF documents.
pdftk GNU GPL/Proprietary command-line tools to manipulate, edit and convert documents; supports filling of PDF forms with FDF/XFDF data.
PDF-XChange Viewer Freeware Freeware PDF reader, tagger, editor (simple editions) and converter (free for non commercial uses). Allows edit of text, draw lines, highlighting of Text, measuring distance.
Solid PDF Tools Proprietary Convert PDFs into editable documents and create PDFs from a variety of file sources.

Viewers[edit]

  • Adobe Reader: Adobe's PDF reader is free for personal use.
  • Evince: a free (GPL), open source PDF reader. Part of the GNOME desktop environment. A Windows port was available from version 2.28 to version 2.32.
  • Foxit Reader: Proprietary/freeware PDF reader, supports FDF import/export, saving filled forms; other extended functionality available via purchasable plugins.
  • gDoc Fusion: Proprietary/shareware to view PDF, XPS, Microsoft Word document, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft PowerPoint presentation or image files, included in the evaluation version of the product. Shareware version places a watermark on documents after 30 day eval.
  • Google Chrome: Includes a PDF viewer.
  • GSview: Open source software and Ghostscript's viewer for Windows.
  • Javelin PDF Reader: A full functionality PDF reader with support for DRM using encoded and encrypted PDF files in Drumlin's DRMX and DRMZ formats.
  • Microsoft Edge: Includes a PDF viewer.
  • Microsoft Reader: A discontinued PDF viewer in Windows 8.1.
  • Mozilla Firefox: Includes a PDF viewer.
  • MuPDF: Free lightweight document viewer.
  • Nitro PDF Reader: Freeware (though proprietary) PDF reader and creator. Supports three methods (specifying the file within the reader's interface, or dragging-'n-dropping a file onto the reader's Windows desktop icon, or "printing" to a virtual printer driver) of PDF creation (Ghostscript not additionally needed), saving filled forms (AcroForms), text typewriter, markup/collaboration, and stamp signature (document signing).
  • PDF-XChange Viewer: Freeware viewer with free OCR, supports FDF/XFDF import/export, saving filled forms, extended markup and export to image capabilities.
  • Qiqqa: Freeware PDF reader, indexer, tagger and annotator. Supports OCR and export of PDF text and images.
  • Sumatra PDF: A free (GPL), open source PDF reader based on MuPDF. It also supports DjVu, XPS, CHM, Comic Book (CBR, CBT, CBZ and CB7Z) and eBook (EPUB, FB2, FB2Z, PBD, MOBI, PBR, TCR & ZFB2), TXT and image file formats (.tga, .gif, .jpg, .j2k, .png, .webp, .tiff). Supports automatic .pdfsync & .synctex reloading of PDF files so is well favoured as a LaTeX / pdfTeX viewer with forward - inverse synchronization. Using Ghost script it supports PostScript (.ps, .eps) files.[3]
  • STDU Viewer: A freeware for non-commercial usage PDF reader. It also supports DjVu, Comic Book Archive (CBR or CBZ), XPS, TIFF, TXT and image file formats.
  • PDF24 Creator: The lightweight PDF24 Reader is part of the PDF24 Creator.

Mobile[edit]

Name License Platform Functions Description
Android iOS Other View Annotate
Amazon Kindle app Freeware Yes Yes BlackBerry OS
webOS
Windows Phone
Yes ?
Evince GNU GPL ? ? Maemo Yes ?
Foxit MobilePDF ? Yes ? Yes Yes
Google Drive app Freeware Yes Yes Yes ?
Apple Books Proprietary No Yes Yes ?
MuPDF GNU AGPL Yes Yes Yes No Lightweight document viewer
Qiqqa Proprietary Yes ? Yes Yes

Web-based[edit]

Converters[edit]

  • Zamzar: Online file converter
  • Smallpdf: Offers free (trail) online PDF conversion (PDF to other formats and vice versa)

Editors[edit]

  • PDFescape: an advertising and fee supported web service to view, create forms, fill out forms, and edit PDF documents from a web browser (requires JavaScript to be enabled)
  • PDFVue: a free web application that allows the user to view PDFs, comment and fill PDF forms from a web browser. Generates a watermark.
  • Smallpdf: Free (trail) web-based PDF software for editing, signing, compressing, merging, splitting, rotating, unlocking and protecting PDF files.

Viewers[edit]

  • A.nnotate: a web service which views PDF documents as HTML in the browser, with annotation features.
  • DigiSigner: free online PDF viewer java applet with additional function to digitally sign PDF documents.
  • Docstoc: a web service which allows viewing PDF documents online.
  • Issuu: a web service which allows viewing PDF documents online.
  • Google Docs: a web service which views PDF documents as PNG images in the browser.
  • Scribd: a web service which renders PDF documents as HTML5 in the browser.
  • PDF.js: A Javascript-based library, with viewer, and browser extension.
  • PDFTron Systems: WebViewer. A free JavaScript viewer and annotator for self-hosting of web optimized PDFs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ImageMagick: License". ImageMagick. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Editing - Scribus Wiki". wiki.scribus.net. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  3. ^ https://www.sumatrapdfreader.org/docs/Supported-document-formats.html

External links[edit]