PDF, PS and DjVu

From ArchWiki

This article covers software to view, edit and convert PDF, PostScript (PS), DjVu (déjà vu) and XPS files.


https://poppler.freedesktop.org/ || poppler
  • Mupdf — MuPDF is a lightweight PDF, XPS, and EPUB viewer, consisting of a software library, command line tools, and viewers.
https://mupdf.com/ || libmupdf
  • libspectre — Small library for rendering Postscript documents.
https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/libspectre || libspectre
  • Ghostscript — Interpreter for PostScript and PDF. Provides the gs(1) command-line interface, see also /usr/share/doc/ghostscript/*/Use.htm (online[dead link 2022-09-22 ⓘ]), along with many wrapper scripts like ps2pdf and pdf2ps.
https://ghostscript.com/ || ghostscript
  • DjVuLibre — Suite to create, manipulate and view DjVu documents.
https://djvu.sourceforge.net/ || djvulibre
  • libgxps — GObject based library for handling and rendering XPS documents.
https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/libgxps || libgxps



  • fbgs — Poor man's PostScript/pdf viewer for the linux framebuffer console.
https://www.kraxel.org/blog/linux/fbida/ || fbida
  • fbpdf — Small framebuffer PDF and DjVu viewer based on MuPDF, with Vim keybindings and written in C
https://repo.or.cz/w/fbpdf.git || fbpdf-gitAUR
  • jfbview — Framebuffer PDF and image viewer. Features include Vim-like controls, zoom-to-fit, a TOC (outline) view and fast multi-threaded rendering.
https://github.com/jichu4n/jfbview || jfbviewAUR


Note: Some web browsers can display PDF files, for example with PDF.js.
  • apvlv — Lightweight document viewer with Vim keybindings using GTK libraries. Supports PDF, DjVu, EPUB, HTML and TXT.
https://naihe2010.github.io/apvlv/ || apvlvAUR
  • Atril — Simple multi-page document viewer for MATE. Supports DjVu, DVI, EPS, EPUB, PDF, PostScript, TIFF, XPS and Comicbook.
https://github.com/mate-desktop/atril || atril
  • CorePDF — Simple lightweight PDF viewer based on Qt and poppler. Part of C-Suite.
https://cubocore.org/[dead link 2023-05-07 ⓘ] || corepdfAUR
  • Deepin Document Viewer — A simple PDF and DjVu reader, supporting bookmarks, highlights and annotations.
https://github.com/linuxdeepin/deepin-reader || deepin-reader
  • DjView — Viewer for DjVu documents.
https://djvu.sourceforge.net/djview4.html || djview
  • ePDFView — Lightweight PDF document viewer using the Poppler and GTK libraries. Development stopped.
http://freecode.com/projects/epdfview || epdfview-gtk3AUR
https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/ || emacs
  • Evince — Document viewer for GNOME using GTK. Supports DjVu, DVI, EPS, PDF, PostScript, TIFF, XPS and Comicbook.
https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Evince || evince
https://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-reader/ || foxitreaderAUR
  • gv — Graphical user interface for the Ghostscript interpreter that allows to view and navigate through PostScript and PDF documents.
https://www.gnu.org/software/gv/ || gv
  • llpp — Very fast PDF reader based off of MuPDF, that supports continuous page scrolling, bookmarking, and text search through the whole document.
https://repo.or.cz/w/llpp.git || llppAUR
  • MuPDF — Very fast EPUB, FictionBook, PDF, XPS and Comicbook viewer written in portable C. Features CJK font support and vim-like bindings.
https://mupdf.com/ || mupdf
  • Okular — Universal document viewer for KDE. Supports CHM, Comicbook, DjVu, DVI, EPUB, FictionBook, Mobipocket, ODT, PDF, Plucker, PostScript, TIFF and XPS.
https://okular.kde.org/ || okular
  • pdfpc — Presenter console with multi-monitor support for PDF files.
https://pdfpc.github.io/ || pdfpc
  • qpdfview — Tabbed document viewer. It uses Poppler for PDF support, libspectre for PS support, DjVuLibre for DjVu support, CUPS for printing support and the Qt toolkit for its interface.
https://launchpad.net/qpdfview || qpdfviewAUR
  • Sioyek — Lightweight PDF viewer based on MuPDF with features designed for viewing research papers and technical books, e.g., marking, bookmarking, highlighting, searchable command palette, jumping to references, and more.
https://sioyek.info/ || sioyekAUR
  • Xpdf — Viewer that can decode LZW and read encrypted PDFs.
https://www.xpdfreader.com/ || xpdf
  • Xreader — Document viewer part of the X-Apps Project. Supports DjVu, DVI, EPUB, PDF, PostScript, TIFF, XPS, Comicbook.
https://github.com/linuxmint/xreader/ || xreader
  • Zathura — Highly customizable and functional document viewer (plugin based). Supports PDF, DjVu, PostScript and Comicbook.
https://pwmt.org/projects/zathura/ || zathura


Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Filling out PDF forms seem to be broken in MuPDF and llpp. (Discuss in Talk:PDF, PS and DjVu)
Name PDF PostScript DjVu XPS PDF forms PDF Annotation Non-rectangle selection License
Adobe Reader Custom Yes Yes proprietary
apvlv Poppler DjVuLibre No No (not by default, at least) GPLv2
Atril Poppler libspectre DjVuLibre libgxps Yes GPLv2
DjView DjVuLibre GPLv2
Emacs Ghostscript* DjVuLibre* No Yes Yes GPLv3
Emacs pdf-tools Poppler Yes Yes GPLv3
ePDFView Poppler No GPLv2
Evince Poppler libspectre DjVuLibre libgxps Yes Yes Yes GPLv2
Foxit Reader Custom Yes Yes Yes proprietary
gv Ghostscript No GPLv3
llpp libmupdf libmupdf Yes GPLv3
MuPDF Custom Custom Yes (mupdf-gl) Yes (mupdf-gl) Yes (mupdf-gl) AGPLv3
Okular Poppler libspectre DjVuLibre Custom Yes Yes Yes GPL, LGPL
pdfpc Poppler No GPLv2
qpdfview Poppler libspectre* DjVuLibre* Yes Yes GPLv2
Xpdf Custom No GPLv3
Xreader Poppler libspectre* DjVuLibre* libgxps* Yes Yes Yes GPLv2
Zathura libmupdf* / Poppler* libspectre* DjVuLibre* libmupdf* No No Yes zlib

* Optional dependency needs to be installed

PDF forms

The PDF forms column in the above table refers to AcroForms support. If you do not need your input to be directly extractable from the PDF, you can also use the applications in #Annotation or #Graphical PDF editing to put text on top of a PDF. PDF forms can be created with LibreOffice Writer (View > Toolbars > Form Controls) and the advanced PDF editors.

The proprietary and deprecated XFA format for forms is not fully supported by Poppler[1][2] and only supported by Adobe Reader and Master PDF Editor.

Alternatively, web browsers such as Firefox or Chromium feature a built-in PDF viewer capable of filling out forms.


  • flpsed — A PostScript and PDF annotator, only supports text boxes.
https://flpsed.org/flpsed.html || flpsedAUR

See also List of applications/Documents#Stylus note-taking.

Graphical PDF editing

  • Scribus can import and export PDF; text is imported as polygons.[3]
  • LibreOffice Draw can import and export PDF; text is imported as text; embedded fonts are substituted.[4][5]
  • Inkscape can import a single page from a PDF and export to PDF; text is imported as cloned glyphs or text; with the latter embedded fonts are substituted.
  • Graphics editors like GIMP and krita can also import and export PDFs at the cost of rasterization.

Basic editors

  • jPDF Tweak — Java Swing application that can combine, split, rotate, reorder, watermark, encrypt, sign, and otherwise tweak PDF files.
https://jpdftweak.sourceforge.net/ || jpdftweakAUR
  • PDF Arranger — Helps merge or split pdf documents and rotate, crop and rearrange pages. It is a maintained fork of PDF-Shuffler.
https://github.com/jeromerobert/pdfarranger || pdfarranger
  • PDF Chain — GTK front-end for PDFtk, written in C++, supporting concatenation, burst, watermarks, attaching files and more.
http://pdfchain.sourceforge.net/ || pdfchainAUR
  • PdfJumbler — Simple tool to rearrange, merge, delete and rotate pages in PDF files.
https://github.com/mgropp/pdfjumbler || pdfjumblerAUR
  • PDF Mix Tool — Qt front-end for PoDoFo, written in C++, supports splitting, merging, rotating and mixing PDF files.
https://scarpetta.eu/pdfmixtool/ || pdfmixtool
  • PDF Mod — Reorder, rotate, and remove pages, export images from a document, edit the title, subject, author, and keywords, and combine documents via drag and drop.
https://wiki.gnome.org/Attic/PdfMod || pdfmod
  • PDFsam — Open source application, written in Java, supports merging, splitting and rotating.
https://pdfsam.org/ || pdfsamAUR
  • PDF Slicer — Simple application to extract, merge, rotate and reorder pages of PDF documents.
https://junrrein.github.io/pdfslicer/ || pdfslicer
  • PDF Tricks — Simple, efficient application for small manipulations in PDF files using Ghostscript.
https://github.com/muriloventuroso/pdftricks || pdftricks

Cropping tools

  • briss — Java GUI to crop pages of PDF documents to one or more regions selected.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/briss/ || brissAUR
  • krop — Simple graphical tool to crop the pages of PDF files.
https://arminstraub.com/software/krop || kropAUR
  • pdfCropMargins — Automatically crops the margins of PDF files.
https://github.com/abarker/pdfCropMargins || pdfcropmarginsAUR
  • PdfHandoutCrop — Tool to crop pdf handout with multiple pages per sheet.
https://cges30901.github.io/pdfhandoutcrop/ || pdfhandoutcropAUR

Advanced editors

  • Master PDF Editor — Functional proprietary PDF editor. Latest version free for non-commercial use. The -free package is outdated but lacks a watermark.
https://code-industry.net/free-pdf-editor/ || masterpdfeditorAUR, masterpdfeditor-freeAUR
  • PDF Studio — All-in-one proprietary PDF editor similar to Adobe Acrobat.
https://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudio/ || pdfstudio-binAUR

PDF tools

See also Ghostscript.

  • Coherent PDF — Command line tools to manipulate PDF files including merge, encrypt, decrypt, scale, crop, rotate, bookmarks, stamp, logos, page numbers.
https://community.coherentpdf.com/ || cpdfAUR
  • DiffPDF — Compare the text or the visual appearance of each page in two PDF files.
https://gitlab.com/eang/diffpdf || diffpdf
  • mupdf-tools — Tools developed as part of MuPDF, contains mutool(1) and muraster.
https://mupdf.com || mupdf-tools
  • pdfcpu — Command-line tool to create and modify PDFs.
https://github.com/pdfcpu/pdfcpu || pdfcpu-gitAUR
  • pdfgrep — Commandline utility to search text in PDF files.
https://pdfgrep.org/ || pdfgrep
  • pdfjam — Can be used to n-up, join, rotate and flip PDFs and arrange them into a format suitable for book binding.
https://github.com/DavidFirth/pdfjam || texlive-core
  • pdf2svg — Convert PDF files to SVG files.
http://www.cityinthesky.co.uk/opensource/pdf2svg/ || pdf2svg
  • PDFtk — Simple tool for doing everyday things with PDF documents.
https://gitlab.com/pdftk-java/pdftk || pdftk
  • QPDF — Content-preserving PDF transformation system.
https://github.com/qpdf/qpdf || qpdf
  • Stapler — Light alternative to PDFtk using the PyPDF2 library.
https://github.com/hellerbarde/stapler || staplerAUR, stapler-gitAUR

Create a PDF from images

With GraphicsMagick:

$ gm convert 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg out.pdf

Concatenate PDFs

With Ghostscript:

$ gs -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOUTPUTFILE=out.pdf -dBATCH 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf

With PDFtk:

$ pdftk 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf cat output out.pdf

With Poppler:

$ pdfunite 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf out.pdf

With QPDF:

$ qpdf --empty --pages 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf -- out.pdf

Convert a PDF to text

With Poppler and maintaining the layout:

$ pdftotext -layout in.pdf out.txt

See also pdftotext(1).

Decrypt a PDF

This section lists commands to decrypt a PDF to an unencrypted file. Note that most PDF viewers also support encrypted PDFs.

With PDFtk:

$ pdftk in.pdf input_pw password output out.pdf

With Poppler to PostScript:

$ pdftops -upw password in.pdf out.ps

With QPDF:

$ qpdf --decrypt --password=password in.pdf out.pdf
Tip: Forgotten passwords might be recovered with pdfcrack, see pdfcrack(1).

Encrypt a PDF

The user password is used for encryption, the owner password to restrict operations once the document is decrypted, for more information, see Wikipedia:PDF#Encryption and signatures.

With PDFtk:

$ pdftk in.pdf output out.pdf user_pw password

With PoDoFo:

$ podofoencrypt -u user_password -o owner_password in.pdf out.pdf

With QPDF:

$ qpdf --encrypt user_password owner_password key_length -- in.pdf out.pdf

where key_length can be 40, 128 or 256.

Extract images from a PDF

With Poppler to JPEG:

$ pdfimages infile.pdf -j outfileroot

Extract page range from PDF, split multipage PDF document

With Ghostscript as a single file[6]

$ gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dSAFER -dFirstPage=first -dLastPage=last -sOutputFile=outfile.pdf infile.pdf

With PDFtk as a single file:

$ pdftk infile.pdf cat first-last output outfile.pdf

With Poppler as separate files:

$ pdfseparate -f first -l last infile.pdf outfileroot-%d.pdf

With QPDF as a single file:

$ qpdf --empty --pages infile.pdf first-last -- outfile.pdf

With mutool as a single file:

$ mutool clean -g infile.pdf outfile.pdf first-last

Imposing a PDF

PDF Imposition (e.g. to combine multiple pages to one page) can be done with pdfjam, for example paper waste can be reduced with pdfnup and pdfbook can be used to arrange PDFs into a format suitable for book binding.

Inspecting metadata

With ExifTool:

$ exiftool file.pdf

With Poppler:

$ pdfinfo file.pdf

Optimize, reduce size of a PDF

With Ghostscript one of:

$ ps2pdf -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen in.pdf out.pdf
$ gs -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/printer -sOutputFile=out.pdf in.pdf

For different settings see the documentation.

There is also shrinkpdfAUR, a script wrapping gs.

Rasterize a PDF

With GraphicsMagick to convert a specific page:

$ gm convert -density dpi infile.pdf[page] outfile.jpg

With Poppler to convert all pages:

$ pdftoppm -jpeg -r dpi infile.pdf outfileroot

With Poppler to convert a specific page:

$ pdftoppm -jpeg -r dpi -f page -singlefile infile.pdf outfileroot

Splitting PDF pages

With mupdf-tools to split every page vertically into two pages:

$ mutool poster -y 2 in.pdf out.pdf

Can be used to undo simple imposition.

Add signature.png or image to one of the pages in the PDF

Adding an image to any location in a PDF can be done

Details on these and other solutions can be found on StackExchange.

Add digital signature to PDF

jsignpdfAUR can digitally sign PDF files with X.509 certificates in GUI and CLI.

Readers such as Okular and MuPDF can sign PDFs with digital signatures. This requires a PFX certificate, which can be created with an OpenSSL command:

$ openssl req -x509 -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout cert.pem -out cert.pem
$ openssl pkcs12 -export -in cert.pem -out cert.pfx

MuPDF users can then sign PDFs with the cert.pfx using the graphical interface, or its mutool-sign[dead link 2023-05-06 ⓘ] tool.

Okular users must import cert.pfx into a certificate store such as the one in the default Firefox profile.[7] With Firefox this is done through Settings > Privacy & Security > View Certificates > Your Certificates > Import and selecting cert.pfx. Afterwards Okular will offer this certificate to be used when signing PDFs.

Libreoffice can also sign PDFs.[8]

Removing annotations from a PDF

With pdftk [9]:

$ pdftk in.pdf output - uncompress | sed '/^\/Annots/d' | pdftk - output out.pdf compress

With perl-cam-pdfAUR:

$ rewritepdf.pl -C in.pdf out.pdf

See https://superuser.com/a/1051543 for more information.

DjVu tools

  • DjVuLibre provides many command-line tools, like ddjvu(1) for example.
  • img2djvu — Single-pass DjVu encoder based on DjVu Libre and ImageMagick.
https://github.com/ashipunov/img2djvu || img2djvu-gitAUR
  • pdf2djvu — Creates DjVu files from PDF files.
https://jwilk.net/software/pdf2djvu || pdf2djvuAUR

Convert DjVu to images

Break Djvu into separate pages:

$ djvmcvt -i input.djvu /path/to/out/dir output-index.djvu

Convert Djvu pages into images:

$ ddjvu --format=tiff page.djvu page.tiff

Convert Djvu pages into PDF:

$ ddjvu --format=pdf inputfile.djvu ouputfile.pdf

You can also use --page to export specific pages:

$ ddjvu --format=tiff --page=1-10 input.djvu output.tiff

this will convert pages from 1 to 10 into one tiff file.

Processing images

You can use scantailor-advanced to:

  • fix orientation
  • split pages
  • deskew
  • crop
  • adjust margins

Make DjVu from images

There is a useful script img2djvu-gitAUR.

$ img2djvu -c1 -d600 -v1 ./out

it will create 600 DPI out.djvu from all files in ./out directory.

Alternatively, you can try didjvuAUR, which seems to create smaller files especially on images with well defined background.

PostScript tools

  • pstotext — Converts PostScript files to text.
https://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/doc/pstotext.htm || pstotext


ps2pdf is a wrapper around ghostscript to convert PostScript to PDF:

$ ps2pdf -sPAPERSIZE=a4 -dOptimize=true -dEmbedAllFonts=true YourPSFile.ps


  • with -sPAPERSIZE=something you define the paper size. For valid PAPERSIZE values, see [10][dead link 2022-09-22 ⓘ].
  • -dOptimize=true lets the created PDF be optimised for loading.
  • -dEmbedAllFonts=true makes the fonts look always nice.
Note: You cannot choose the paper orientation in ps2pdf. If your input PS file is healthy, it already contains the orientation information. If you are trying to use an Encapsulated PS file, you will have problems, if it does not fit in the -sPAPERSIZE you specified, because EPS files usually do not contain paper orientation information. A workaround is creating a new paper in ghostscript settings (call it e.g. "slide") and use it as -sPAPERSIZE=slide.


  • libharu — C library for generating PDF documents.
https://github.com/libharu/libharu || libharu, Lua binding: lua-hpdfAUR
  • PoDoFo — A C++ library to work with the PDF file format.
https://podofo.sourceforge.net || podofo


  • PDFMiner — Utils to extract, analyze text data of PDF files. Includes pdf2txt, dumppdf, and latin2ascii
https://www.unixuser.org/~euske/python/pdfminer/ || python-pdfminer, pdfminerAUR
  • pdfrw — A pure Python library that reads and writes PDFs.
https://github.com/pmaupin/pdfrw || python-pdfrw, python2-pdfrwAUR
  • PyPDF — A pure-Python library built as a PDF toolkit.
https://github.com/py-pdf/pypdf || python-pypdfAUR
  • PyX — Python library for the creation of PostScript and PDF files.
http://pyx.sourceforge.net || python-pyx
  • ReportLab — A proven industry-strength PDF generating solution
https://www.reportlab.com/ || python-reportlab, python2-reportlabAUR

See also