How to Edit Existing PDF Files in Linux Using Master PDF Editor

How to Edit Existing PDF Files in Linux Using Master PDF Editor

Portable Document Format (PDF) is one of the most commonly used formats for exchanging documents, especially on the Web. While its USP is that it maintains the consistency of a document, the uneditable nature of PDF documents is a disadvantage when compared to other easily-editable file formats like DOC and TXT.

In this article we will discuss how we can create as well as easily edit existing PDF documents on Linux using Master PDF editor. Please note that all instructions as well as examples used in this article are tested on Ubuntu 14.04.

Download and Install

Depending on the Linux distribution you are using, you can download the editor’s installation file from its official website (it’s worth mentioning that the tool is also available for Windows and Mac, yet the Linux-based version is free for non-commercial use).

For example, in my case I downloaded the .deb file and installed it using the Ubuntu Software Centre that comes pre-installed with Ubuntu. Once done, you can open the Master PDF editor from Dash (see below).

Open the Master PDF editor from Dash.


In this section, we will discuss a few examples of how to create as well as edit PDF files using the Master PDF Editor tool.

Create a new PDF file

Once you’ve opened the editor, go to “File -> New” to create a new PDF file:

Go to File->New to create a new PDF file.

This will create an empty PDF file.

Note: While you can easily create PDFs using Master PDF Editor, it’s worth mentioning that the tool, as its name suggests, is primarily aimed at editing PDF files. This means you can continue creating PDFs using other well-known software that you are used to (e.g. Libreoffice Writer), and edit them using Master PDF Editor.

Add text

To add text to a PDF file, first open it in the Master PDF Editor. In my case, I opened the same file that I created in the previous step. Once done, head to “Insert -> Text” to add some text. For example, I added the following text to the PDF:

Head to Insert->Text to add some text.

You can also adjust the properties of the edit from the options present at the right hand side of the window.

In addition to text, the editor lets you add images as well – just go to “Insert -> Image” in case you want to add one. Just like text, you can also adjust the properties of images.

Add radio buttons and checkboxes

You can also use the Master PDF Editor to add radio buttons as well as checkboxes to PDF files. To do so, head to the “Insert -> Radio button” and “Insert -> Check box” options, respectively. For example, I added both to the PDF I had created:

Add radio buttons as well as check boxes.

Similarly, you can perform these and many more edit actions, including adding combo box, list box, buttons, signature, and more, on any existing PDF file.

Note: we’ve already discussed how to create PDFs with fillable forms in LibreOffice. It’s worth mentioning that you can do the same using Master PDF Editor, too – the Edit Box, Check Box, Radio Box, and more, options present in the “Insert” menu will help you achieve that.

Edit existing files

You can also use the Master PDF Editor for editing existing files. For example, here is a PDF file that I opened in the editor by heading to “File -> Open.”

Use the Master PDF Editor for editing existing files.

Now, suppose the requirement is to highlight the text “port number.” To do that, first select the option “Comments -> Highlight Text”

Select the option 'Comments -> Highlight Text.'

and then use the cursor to select the text you need to highlight.

Use the cursor to select the text you need to highlight.

As you can observe, the text got highlighted. Similarly, to underline text, first select “Comments -> Underline Text”

To underline text, select 'Comments -> Underline Text.'

and then use the cursor to select the text you want to underline.

Use to the cursor to select the text you want to underline.

As you can see, the column headers “Applications” and “Port numbers” were successfully underlined.

You can also use the Master PDF Editor to add text to an existing PDF file, something which you can do by first selecting the “Insert -> Text” option

Use the Master PDF Editor to add text to an existing PDF file.

and then clicking at the point in the PDF where you want to add text. For example, I added the text “(We’ll talk about this later)” just after the highlighted text.

Click at the point in the PDF where you want to add text.

Aside from these, the editor provides a bag full of options that you can use while editing an existing PDF file.

Note: you can save all the changes that you make by simply pressing “Ctrl + S.”

Master PDF Editor features

Here is the complete list of features it provides:

  • Edit PDF text, images and pages with full editing features
  • Create new PDF and XPS files or edit existing ones
  • Add and/or edit bookmarks in PDF files
  • Encrypt and/or protect PDF files using 128 bit encryption
  • Convert XPS files into PDF
  • Add PDF controls (like buttons, checkboxes, lists, etc.) into your PDFs
  • Import/export PDF pages into common graphical formats including BMP, JPG, PNG, and TIFF
  • Split and merge PDF files
  • Fast and simple filling out of PDF forms
  • Signing PDF documents with digital signature, signatures creation and validation
  • Changing font attributes (size, family, color etc.)


Master PDF Editor is an easy-to-use tool that offers a variety of features while maintaining a simple UI, making it suitable for both new as well as experienced users. You can learn more about it by visiting its official web page.

Himanshu Arora Himanshu Arora

Himanshu Arora is a freelance technical writer by profession but a software programmer and Linux researcher at heart. He covers software tutorials, reviews, tips/tricks, and more. Some of his articles have been featured on IBM developerworks, ComputerWorld, and in Linux Journal.


  1. I edited an existing PDF file to delete a page from it. The original file size was 2.1 MB. After deleting the last page, then saving the new file, the file size was still 2.1 MB. The page deleted was mostly graphics so I would have expected the file size to be less. Is there a way to reduce the file size within Master PDF Editor? Thanks

  2. It is worth noting that “Master PDF Editor” is *not* Free and Open Source Software; it is free proprietary software.

    Linux – and most of the software that runs on it – is Free and Open Source Software. Many Linux users want to use applications that are FOSS. Therefore, when reviewing software for Linux, it is very important to mention whether or not it is FOSS.

    “Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.”
    —Richard Stallman

  3. Yes same problem here with Master PDF Editor, as Joe mentioned.

    Over the years, I found that PDF Studio is the only PDF editing tools that fully functional and function decently, on Linux platform. It has OCR, it can do editing/page management no problem at all. Although it cost people some money, it totally worth it. Also, the listed price is actually for two licenses that you can install on two computers.

    Even on Windows, IF I have $400-500 to spend, I’ll probably get Acrobat. But then I don’t think most people have that budget just for a standard PDF editor. PDF Studio, on the other hand, can enable me do all I want with PDF editing on both Windows and Linux, for a fraction of the price.

    Bottom line: A great product on all major platforms (Win/Mac/Linux), best one available on Linux.

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