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Editing pdfs in Ubuntu September 11, 2005

Posted by Carthik in applications, office, ubuntu.

flpsed is a useful app that allows you to edit postscript, and by extension pdf documents in Ubuntu Linux. You could use it to add text to existing pdf documents, to fill out forms etc, without using Acrobat Distiller, or its equivalents available for Windows and Macs.
To quote the author of this tool:

flpsed is a WYSIWYG pseudo PostScript1 editor. “Pseudo”, because you can’t remove or modify existing elements of a document. But flpsed lets you add arbitrary text lines to existing PostScript 1 documents. Added lines can later be reedited with flpsed. Using pdftops, which is part of xpdf one can convert PDF documents to PostScript and also add text to them. flpsed is useful for filling in forms, adding notes etc. GsWidget is now part of flpsed.
flpsed is released under the GPL.


* Add arbitrary text to existing PostScript documents.
* Reedit text, that has been added with flpsed.
* The overall structure of the PostScript document is not modified. flpsed only adds the additional text.
* Batch processing (no X11 required) to modify tagged text lines that have been entered interactively with flpsed before. This is very useful for repeatedly filling in forms.
* Text lines can be imported from other flpsed-modified documents.
* Import and export PDF. Therefore it can be used as a PDF editor as well.

It is availabe in the “Universe” component of Ubuntu. I hope it is useful for those of you, who, like me, moved from Windows to Ubuntu recently.

Update: Also check out PDFTK – The PDF ToolKit – uber cool!


1. Ankit - September 18, 2005

You can also use Adobe Reader 7 for Linux to fill up forms.

2. ubuntonista - September 18, 2005

Yes, but that is not quite open source 🙂
The tools I mentioned here are useful to edit any pdf file – many a time I have wanted to add, say copyright statements or disclaimers to pdf files, and this comes in handy then.

3. elcin - January 6, 2006

say me please, one thing about this program:
if i created a prf file through ooo , then found that a some letters misses, do this app make that changes on that pdf file?

4. Rick Elnor - May 22, 2006

Scribus is the best check it out

5. Erik - September 21, 2006

thanks for this — just the info I was looking for (just got the proofs for a book that I need to edit).

6. jm - February 21, 2007
7. Rusty - April 15, 2007

I cant get scribus to even open the pdf. flpsed will open it but will not edit it. And pdftk must be command line functions that I don’t understand, I read the help file and saw nothing about editing. I went to sourceforge about the pdfedit but I dont know how to use a source package or the older version on an rpm. I’m running Ubuntu Edgy and pretty newbish.

8. cm - May 9, 2007
9. Tommy Jefferson - September 26, 2007

Thank you cm!

That’s exactly what I was looking for

10. [HOW TO] Edit PDF files in Linux « Techii - May 1, 2008

[…] can use flpsed as described in this blog entry. (But u will face several […]

11. kimberly - June 10, 2008

I would use http://www.PDFfiller.com to fiil in my documents.

12. sumanth - October 29, 2008

Thanks.. works like a charm!

13. Lili - February 18, 2009

Try PDF Studio, it’s the best PDF editor on Ubuntu but you have to be ready to pay $60 for it. Still not a lot compared to the full Adobe Acrobat.

PDF Studio

14. rick19 - September 12, 2009

for online edition I use fillanypdf.com, it works anywhere since is a browser based app. just a bit of adobe flash I guess.

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You can also use Adobe Reader 7 for Linux to fill up forms.

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I happened to come across this website http://goo.gl/ooc573 when I was looking for a perfect way to edit PDF files. I would really recommend this, no software to download and install. It’s a great service you can upload your own PDF file so you can edit or fill it out online and sign the document, save, print, email and even fax it. Also you can find the right fillable form anytime using the form search engine that contains more than 10 Million forms. Check it out there is no harm in trying.

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30. [HOW TO] Edit PDF files in Linux | Ahmed Abdelsalam - August 29, 2015

[…] can use flpsed as described in this blog entry. (But u will face several […]

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