How to view a PDF file in Linux

Updated: 12/30/2019 by Computer Hope
Illustration: Tux the pengin, Linux mascot, reading a PDF file.

You can view PDF documents in a Linux environment using several applications. Depending on your needs, we recommend LibreOffice if you need to edit a PDF and Evince if you need to view a PDF.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice Writer, which is part of the open source LibreOffice suite, does a great job opening, viewing, editing, and writing PDF documents.

PDF opened in LibreOffice.

Installing LibreOffice: Debian and Ubuntu

Debian and Ubuntu both use the APT package management system. In your terminal, run the following command to install the LibreOffice software package:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libreoffice

Installing LibreOffice: CentOS

In CentOS, download the LibreOffice package from the LibreOffice website that is appropriate for your system architecture. For instance, in this example, we downloaded LibreOffice_5.1.4_Linux_x86-64_rpm.tar.gz, which is an RPM package of LibreOffice 5.1.4 for 64-bit computers. The destination folder for the download is our Downloads directory.

Open a terminal and navigate to the directory where you downloaded the archive. For example:

cd ~/Downloads

The archive is a gzipped tar file. Extract it.

tar -xzvf LibreOffice_5.1.4_Linux_x86-64_rpm.tar.gz

The archive directory structure is extracted to the current directory. Change to the directory containing the RPMs:

cd LibreOffice_5.1.4.2_Linux_x86-64_rpm/RPMS/

Use the yum package manager to install all the RPM packages. Any required dependencies are also downloaded and installed.

sudo yum localinstall *.rpm

Installing LibreOffice: Fedora

Installing LibreOffice on Fedora is similar to installing on CentOS. First, download the RPM archive for your machine architecture from https://www.libreoffice.org. In this case, we downloaded the same 64-bit RPM archive as above, LibreOffice_5.1.4_Linux_x86-64_rpm.tar.gz.

Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the archive. For example:

cd ~/Downloads

Extract the archive.

tar -xzvf LibreOffice_5.1.4_Linux_x86-64_rpm.tar.gz

Navigate to the directory containing the RPMs.

cd LibreOffice_5.1.4.2_Linux_x86-64_rpm/RPMS/

Install all RPMs with the dnf package management tool. Dnf is similar to yum, but the command syntax is slightly different for installing local packages:

sudo dnf install *.rpm

Installing LibreOffice: OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE uses the zypper package management tool. From your terminal, run:

sudo zypper install libreoffice

Installing LibreOffice: Arch Linux

Arch Linux uses the pacman package manager. To install LibreOffice, run:

sudo pacman -S libreoffice

or:

su -c "pacman -S libreoffice"

Choose the package libreoffice-fresh or libreoffice-still. For the newest features, choose libreoffice-fresh. For the version that is the most reliably stable, choose libreoffice-still.

Evince PDF viewer

Evince is a lightweight program that loads and renders PDF documents in a clean, precise manner. You may prefer it to LibreOffice if all you need to do is view a PDF.

Viewing a PDF using Evince on Linux

Installing Evince

Debian, Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install evince

CentOS:

sudo yum install evince

Fedora:

sudo dnf install evince

OpenSUSE:

sudo zypper install evince

Arch:

sudo pacman -S evince

Or, if your Arch system does not have sudo:

su -c "pacman -S evince"

Additional information