PDF Annotate PDF on Linux with Rankenstein

On Windows and Mac machines, adding text or drawings (such as signatures) to PDF files is not a big deal, however. [Mansour Behabadi] It has been found that on Linux machines, there does not seem to be a satisfactory way or a simple tool. Being an enterprising hacker, [Mansour] Ready to fill that void, and the way it works under the hood is a really fun hack.

The main thing that stands in the way of creating such a tool is that the PDF format is a complex and twisted thing. Creating a general-purpose PDF editing tool capable of inserting hyperlinks, notes, images or drawings is not exactly a weekend project. But [Mansour] That didn’t stop him; He already has tools in Linux that can read and create PDF files, and at one point linked them to “a terrible patchwork of tools” that inspired the name Pedifrankenstein.

The tool is a GUI that uses Inkscape and qpdf to convert a PDF page to an SVG file, setting it as a locked background, then allowing the user to use Inkscape as an editor to add any annotations they want. After making the changes, the program removes the background, overlays the annotations on the original again, and exports a final file. Annotations can therefore be something that can be done in Inkscape.

Interested in these and other tools for managing PDFs? We shared some programs and strategies when we talked about dealing with the PDF format in Linux earlier.

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