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 and home users can not purchase commercial software that can modify existing PDF documents because those are expensive.

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

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

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

This is how you can do it.


  • LibreOffice doesn’t directly edit PDFs. Instead, it imports PDF content into its own format (ODF) for modifications.
  • The import process isn’t perfect. Some PDF objects are recreated more accurately than others in LibreOffice.
  • After editing, you export the ODF document as a new PDF. The original PDF remains untouched.
  • LibreOffice is not designed to be a full-fledged PDF editor. It’s primarily for creating and editing ODF documents, with PDF import/export capabilities.

Steps to modify PDF documents using LibreOffice Draw for Free

  • Open LibreOffice Draw, and from the file menu, open the PDF file you want to modify.
  • Once the file is open, click on the section where you want to modify it. You would see a rectangle box to edit the texts. You can now change texts and images.
Modify PDF documents using LibreOffice Draw
Edit PDF Using Draw
  • If the PDF is not editable, i.e., the 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, you can draw white rectangles/shapes with the background colour 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 will have your modified PDF file for use.

Closing Notes

I hope the above guide to modifying PDF documents in LibreOffice Draw for free helps you to change your PDF documents. Also, you can try out other options that are present in this program itself.

Do let me know in the comment box below if this article helps you.

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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.


Yes, exactly this.
It’s an outright lie, intentionally misleading and reproduced everywhere online from people who don’t know better. Why is this still online.

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


i’ve found that editing with libreoffice of an adobe created pdf is viewing as a black page
and that is making me scratch my head! how do i make a simple edit to the page i.e. move a form box one inch to the left?


I have been able to open the pdf I want to edit but it seems that only 1 line at a time can be edited – I need to select the entire text block – paragraph or page to reduce the dimension of the text, is it possible to do that?

Fred Olness

Thanks for the info. For some complex PDFs, I was able to first import to Inkscape, save as SVG, and then successfully import into LibreOffice. This seems to help where there are curves and/or shaded areas in plots that are clipped in the PDF, but direct import into LibreOffice misses the clipping.