Modify PDF Documents using LibreOffice Draw for Free


This tutorial explains simple steps to modify PDF documents using the LibreOffice Draw application.

PDF a.k.a portable document format is a widely used format for digital document distribution. Due to its popularity and adoption across various mediums and devices, it is often a de-facto standard format to publish and distribute documents.

Many small businesses, home users can not purchase any commercial software which can modify existing PDF documents because those are pricy.

However, LibreOffice, the free and open-source office program used by millions of users around the world have a built-in PDF editor. LibreOffice Draw can modify, edit, save, create PDF files for free. You do not need to buy expensive pdf editors out there and the good news is – LibreOffice runs in both Windows and Linux.

However, there’s still a catch. With LibreOffice Draw you can do simple edits, changes, add texts, add images, text boxes in your existing PDF files – which more than enough for the majority of the users.

LibreOffice Draw opens up PDF as an image file in its editor where you can modify block-by-block and then save-as back to PDF format.

This is how you can do it.

Steps to modify PDF documents using LibreOffice Draw

  • Open LibreOffice Draw and from the file menu, open the PDF file which you want to modify.
  • Once the file is open, click on the section where you want to modify. You would see a rectangle box to edit the texts. You can now modify texts, images.
Edit PDF Using Draw
Edit PDF Using Draw
  • If the PDF is not editable i.e. entire PDF page is opened as a single image file, then it is difficult to edit. This is since your file is created with a read-only attribute. However, if that is the case then, you can draw rectangles/shapes with background color white to redact the sections. Then add a new text box or images.
  • Once the editing is over, save the file from the menu –> File -> Export-> Export as PDF.

Now you would have your modified PDF file for use.

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Stuart Foote

This is misleading. LibreOffice does not “edit” the original PDF. Rather it passes a PDF’s object structures and text runs through an import filter rendering them (for better or worse) as LibreOffice Draw objects on an ODF document canvas (a Draw, Impress, or Writer module). Fidelity to the original presentation described in the source PDF varies by object type. Some are quite accurate, other less so. LibreOffice has an alternative PDF filter that renders a full page of the PDF as a raster image on a document canvas with very high fidelity to the original PDF presentation. The filter is currently limited to the first page of a source PDF, and the resolution of the generated image is fixed at a low PPI. When work on the ODF document is complete, a different set of filters are used to Export the ODF document to a new PDF. Depending on os/DE you may or may not be able to overwrite the original source PDF. The point is that LibreOffice is not, and makes no claim to be, a PDF editor. We can use PDF as a source in composing an ODF document–but we *do not edit* PDF. Please stop suggesting that it can.

Frank Lewis

I have created a form in Librewrite and exported to pdf. All good. However i want insert a submit button so people can email the form back to me. I cant get the submit ( push button) to do this help please. Thanks

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