There isn’t much LibreOffice can’t do when it comes to document management, from working on manuscripts to coding. However, users will notice that while there are formats for math, spreadsheets, writing and more, there is no specific option for editing a PDF.

Don’t worry! Like many text editors, LibreOffice lets you edit PDFs, and that’s not bad either. Here’s how to use LibreOffice as a PDF editor.

How to edit PDF in LibreOffice

If you haven’t already, be sure to visit the LibreOffice website and download the app for your computer. It’s free, there’s no need to create an account, and works with a wide variety of platforms, making it an excellent competitor against something like Microsoft Word. Once you have LibreOffice, here’s what to do:

Step 1: Download the PDF you intend to work on. It will need to be on local storage or a compatible drive for LibreOffice to find it easily, so you may need to download it from the Internet or your email if needed.

Step 2: Open LibreOffice and choose the Draw design option from the left menu. This is the best format in which LibreOffice allows users to edit PDFs, so you’ll need to start here.

Draw the Drawing option in LibreOffice.

Step 3: Choose the File option from the menu and select To open.

Choose Open in LibreOffice.

Step 4: Your local files will now open. LibreOffice typically opens to your compatible documents. We recommend that you go to the downloads section or use the search function to find your specific PDF file. When you do, select it to get started.

PDF download option in LibreOffice.

Step 5: LibreOffice will now open the PDF in Draw so you can work on it.

PDF opened in dark mode of LibreOffice.

Step 6: You will notice that the PDF looks a bit strange as we have enabled dark mode in LibreOffice. Dark mode will also color the PDF, so to have a clear view of the colors, it’s a good idea to disable it before starting work.

Step 7: Now you can select any part of the PDF or its text and a box will appear on it that will allow you to edit, move and generally change things. On the left, you’ll see a presentation-like menu that lets you navigate the different pages of the PDF and find what you’re looking for. On the right you will see the formatting options for the text or object you have selected.

PDF opened in LibreOffice.

Step 8: Saving the document will normally keep it as a Draw OFT file or similar format in LibreOffice. You probably don’t want this, so to save your changes as a PDF, be sure to go to File, ExportAnd Export as PDF.

LibreOffice Export as PDF.

What if the formatting of my PDF is messed up?

This can happen. LibreOffice interprets the PDF document as a Draw file as you work on it. This can cause problems, such as objects and text boxes placed in the wrong area. Or you may find some text difficult to edit because LibreOffice will interpret each line of text as a separate box. This can vary depending on how the PDF was created.

There isn’t much you can do about it other than to make corrections. Draw is the best free PDF editing option LibreOffice can provide and is generally a better choice than trying to edit a PDF in Word. The best option would be to edit a PDF with Adobe Acrobat or a similar Adobe program, which will be the most accurate. However, getting Acrobat for free may be difficult, as there is no guarantee of a free trial. You can also try editing your PDF on a platform like Google Drive, which is also free if you have a Google account, to see if the results are more accurate.

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