Edit PDF files with Inkscape
Editing PDF files.
Adobe Acrobat is a native PDF editor. It's drawback is that if you need to edit some text in a PDF and that font is missing from your computer, Adobe refuses to work with this text. The only way is to find out what fonts are used in that PDF, and purchase them. It can cost up to $500 - $700.
Foxit Phantom PDF editor is able to reuse the embedded fonts. But Foxit can only reuse fonts that are embedded. If a character you need is missing from that set, you can substitute it with some other font. Doing so messes your editing up. Again you have to buy the missing fonts. Another inconvenience with Foxit Phantom PDF editor is that it handles images somehow weirdly.
These two programs are suitable for only simplistic tweaks in your own PDF documents. In case you need to work with an artwork of unknown origin, look better for Inkscape.
Inkscape is a handy tool for serious PDF editing. Inkscape is freeware, an open source SVG graphics editor released under the GPL.
2 stages of editing PDFs with Inkscape
- Using Inkscape as a graphic editor. Inkscape: Guide to a Vector Drawing Program
- Getting a decent PDF file out from Inkscape.
- Open the PDF with Inkscape. Inkscape opens only one page from a multi page PDF.
- Edit the page using Inkscape.
- Save the page as .svg for backup and further editing.
- Option A. Print the page from Inkscape as a .pdf using a PDF printer like CutePDF Writer (formerly CutePDF Printer).
- Option B. Save As .pdf with the following settings in the "Portable Document Format" dialogue window: Convert texts to paths - ticked, Resolution for rasterization (dpi) - 300, Export area is page - ticked, all other tick boxes - unticked.
- Merge single PDFs in to a multi page PDF. Merge PDF online - This service enables you to combine several PDF documents into a single multi page PDF, free of charge. All you need to do is select two (or more) PDF files to be joined together by pressing “Browse” and press the “Merge PDF” button to upload and combine the selected documents.
Inkscape problem with some PDF files
When opening a PDF with Inkscape some characters are missing.
- Either File menu > Import, or Open with Inkscape, there’s a “PDF Import Settings” dialog which has a checkbox for “Replace PDF fonts by closest-named installed fonts”.
- Inkscape has problems with some PDF files which were for example changed in Adobe InDesign. Open the PDF in Adobe Reader and print it with a virtual printer (CutePDF Writer). After that the PDF opens in Inkscape again.
Resulting PDF is way too large for web
Uncompressed PDF Output. It seems that Inkscape is only able to output uncompressed PDFs. Once you export or print a PDF, look at its file size. If it is way too large for your application, reduce it:
- Inkscape, export the exact same file to EPS (encapsulated postscript) and then use epstopdf to convert the file to PDF. This will make a compressed PDF.
- Adobe Acrobat. Document > Reduce File Size. Make compatible with: Acrobat 8.0 and later. The optimised PDF is bit rubbish.
- Adobe Acrobat. Advanced > Pdf Optimizer… All default settings. The optimised PDF has reasonable for web quality. You can set default image resolution 150 ppi to 96 ppi.
Web Management - Why and how to edit PDF files with Inkscape.