A PDF File Allows Editing in 100% Layout Accuracy


Oracle PDF Import ExtensionIf you need a PDF file which can be opened for editing with LibreOffice or OpenOffice in 100% layout accuracy, Oracle PDF Import Extension (formerly Sun PDF Import Extension) is a perfect solution.

This extension is an addon to the office suite either LibreOffice or OpenOffice. To get this extension to work, install the office suite before you install the extension.

The Oracle PDF Import Extension enables the office suite to produce a hybrid PDF / ODF file. The file created will have a normal .pdf file extension. By itself, it is a PDF file and can be viewed by any PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader, PDF-XChange Viewer or Foxit Reader.

On top of this, it contains a source ODF file, which can be opened with LibreOffice or OpenOffice directly from the PDF file for editing without losing any layouts, bookmarks, hyperlinks or formats.

To create a hybrid PDF file, run either LibreOffice or OpenOffice with Oracle PDF Import Extension installed, select "File", choose "Export as PDF", a PDF Options window like the screen shot will open, then tick "Create hybrid file" (or "Embed this document inside the PDF" where applicable) and click "Export".

If the PDF file is exported from LibreOffice/OpenOffice Writer, it opens directly in Writer. If the PDF file is exported from LibreOffice/OpenOffice Impress, it opens directly in Impress, and so on.

This hybrid PDF file saves you from keeping two separate file formats as it combines the two into one. It is ready for sharing and viewing with a PDF reader, yet it can be opened for perfect editing just the way a normal LibreOffice or OpenOffice file can be. When naming a hybrid file, it's probably a good idea to end with something like "-odf.pdf" so as to differentiate it from a normal PDF file.

Oracle PDF Import Extension is compatible with LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org (3.0 or later) and StarOffice 9.


Oracle PDF Import Extension:
Download: http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/pdfimport
Download: http://extensions.openoffice.org/en/node/17351 (Version for OpenOffice 4.0)

LibreOffice (Download) or OpenOffice.org (Download)


See also: Specific Tools in Best Free PDF Tools.


This article is maintained by volunteer editor Jojo Yee. Registered members can contact the editor with comments or suggestions by clicking here. You can visit the Google+ profile page of Jojo Yee here.


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by mr6n8 on 8. August 2009 - 11:39  (26631)

Nice find.

I use Open Office to back up my web pages here and occasionally get a request for a copy of one of my optimizing guides, which I exported to pdf (using the basic export function of OO) as almost everyone can read pdf. So this saves me having two copies and having to redo the save to pdf process after changes.

I did notice that on one of the conversions done with this that it did not retain Bold for a couple of items. I converted several pages and that was the only page with this issue (I can not figure out why).


by Jojo Yee on 9. August 2009 - 5:49  (26673)

I have set a few words in bold in couple of pages and exported them without a problem in the pdf file. I'm interested to try out your file if available to identify the cause, or could it be due to a particular font?

by Anonymous on 16. September 2009 - 2:19  (32681)

The extension still has a way to go - there are many PDF files that it fails to open correctly.

by Anonymous on 1. October 2009 - 10:28  (33697)

I opened an existing PDF and the lines of the form extend off the page. Is there anyway to fix this?


by Jojo Yee on 4. October 2009 - 4:15  (33875)

Give PDFescape (a free online PDF Editor & PDF Form Filler) a try to see if it helps.

by Dragonscribe on 9. November 2009 - 18:32  (36280)

I tried PDFEscape and was very happy with it. You upload your document and make changes on their website. You can save your work there and/or download you doc at any state of progress you want.

The editing tools are not intuitive for someone used to MSWord or OpenOffice Writer, but with a little willingness to experiment I got there. The layout was preserved flawlessly.

I found that in a you-can't-save-but-only-print pdf form I was able to save the changes when I downloaded my work.

by Dragonscribe on 9. November 2009 - 19:05  (36281)

I had the same problem.

I downloaded a form off the IRS website and when I exported it using this tool, a small text box appeared in the output document with the message "TLS - have you submitted the text version for the next update cycle?" It tickled me that this form got posted with the internal office note still embedded.

by Angelina123 on 7. January 2011 - 1:45  (64015)

100% layout accuracy? It's exagerate! But you 've offered a good editor more than a reader.....

by Jojo Yee on 7. January 2011 - 2:26  (64022)

Thanks Angelina for your feedback. You might not agree but I don't see why it cannot be done since it contains a source ODF file for editing :)

by Henrietta (not verified) on 5. April 2011 - 16:34  (69525)

Hi Jojoyee,
I need to convert a few word documents into ONE pdf document and would further like to be able to edit it afterwards within the pdf format. the files are way to big to merge them before conversion....
Would you have any ideas for a free/affordable software (other than acrobat)???? Thanks

by garth on 5. April 2011 - 16:38  (69527)

Apologies for not being Jojo :D, but if you follow this link to the Freeware News section of the site you will see that today Give Away of the Day are offering exactly what you are looking for.

by Henrietta (not verified) on 5. April 2011 - 16:47  (69528)

apology accepted, but... If you meant the PDF Combine - that's not what I'm looking for...I'm looking for one piece of software that converts, combines and then edits (like a word processor). Usually they can, if at all, only do one thing. And as the name predicts, this one can only combine :-)

by garth on 5. April 2011 - 17:06  (69531)

That's a shame then but while you're waiting on Jojo maybe this will be helpful:)
If needs be you could use two apps maybe?

by Henrietta (not verified) on 5. April 2011 - 17:51  (69533)

I did find a couple of products (like nitro, infix, nuance...) that seem to do what I want but they all cost money (some quite a lot) and I find it quite hard to evaluate them...So I was hoping the expert could give me a tip or two...If I have to pay for it I would like to be sure to get proper programm that does what it says on the tin...And the link you sent me is actually quite interesting and helpful in that way. So, thanks!!!

by GR (not verified) on 11. April 2011 - 8:58  (69970)

No way to get 100% layout compatibility, fonts are a mess... page sizes too!

by Colin (not verified) on 25. May 2011 - 7:52  (72644)

To Anyone...

I have approx. 150 pdfs in which I need to change an email address. Any ideas on how to batch edit them?

by hazz_anne (not verified) on 9. July 2011 - 4:09  (75075)

I tried to download the Oracle PDF import extension but it kept saying unable to connect..is anyone have the same problem as mine? any ideas where to get the extension? I badly needed to edit my pdf files but don't want to spend dollars. thanks

by Jojo Yee on 9. July 2011 - 7:33  (75079)

The extension repository seems to have been down but you can try to download it from Softpedia here. It carries the former name Sun PDF Import extension. Give it a try and see if that works for you.

by Altinkerer on 18. October 2013 - 8:03  (111551)

This article should point out that one needs to install one of the Office programs it recommends BEFORE installing Oracle PDF Import Extension. Otherwise, Oracle will not install. Likewise, for clarity, it would be helpful to list the hyperlinks at the end in the order in which they need to be installed, not the reverse.

by Altinkerer on 18. October 2013 - 8:13  (111553)

Be warned, when I downloaded OpenOffice, all the WordPad documents I had saved on my hard drive were automatically converted to OpenOffice. Not exactly what I had in mind! I'm sure there's some default setting I can change to fix this, but I was not presented with this option in the process of downloading OpenOffice.

by Altinkerer on 18. October 2013 - 8:14  (111554)

Also, as an aside, "losing" was misspelled as "loosing" in the article.

by Jojo Yee on 18. October 2013 - 9:13  (111556)

Thanks Altinkerer, the typo has now been fixed.

by Jojo Yee on 18. October 2013 - 9:16  (111557)

A good comment Altinkerer. I've edited the article and hopefully it's now clearer.

by Altinkerer on 19. October 2013 - 0:17  (111569)

Awesome, Jojo! Thanks for being so responsive.

by Altinkerer on 19. October 2013 - 0:52  (111571)

I'm not so sure that if I were reading the article for the first time, I would gather from the new sentence, "[w]ith the Oracle PDF Import Extension installed on top of LibreOffice or OpenOffice, it produces a hybrid PDF / ODF file" that a user must have one of these Office programs installed before installing Oracle. I think that that point would seem obscure to me partly because this sentence is focused on trying to make another point--namely, what kind of file is produced; and partly because the term "installed on top of" sounds vague to me, probably simply since I'm not a techie. I guess it just depends on how broad an audience you're trying to reach! I do thank you for being so quickly responsive, though, and marking the Office program links as "Requirements" at the end does help (though I think listing these first would be even clearer). Oh my, I fear that too much editorial blood is coming out in me here...sorry!

by Jojo Yee on 19. October 2013 - 2:08  (111574)

Agree with you Altinkerer. I've added another paragraph to emphasize what needs to be done with some other minor copy-editing. Hope this improves clarity.

BTW, please click here if you're interested in joining us. We welcome all with some editorial blood. :)

by Altinkerer on 20. October 2013 - 0:33  (111594)

I just opened up a copy of my Adobe Acrobat-created resume through Oracle PDF Import Extension added onto Apache Open Office, and the formatting came out severely messed up. How disappointing! Is there something else I can do to actually obtain the 100% layout accuracy touted here?

Or, if I were to fix up the resume's formatting in Oracle, and then edit it, is it possible that the formatting would at least stay the same when the resume is opened again in Adobe Reader? I'm trying to be able to edit my resume at home as needed and send it to prospective employers in a form that they'd be able to view perfectly formatted, without my having to buy Adobe Acrobat or MS Word. I only have WordPerfect at home, and usually, that's all I need. I've tried translating the resume all sorts of ways and into various forms, but every time, the formatting seems to get messed up--even from Word Web App to Word.

Is there some better solution?

Also, is there a quick way I can get all my WordPad documents, which automatically converted into OpenOffice Rich Text documents when I downloaded OpenOffice, back into WordPad form again?

by Jojo Yee on 20. October 2013 - 3:49  (111601)

Q. Is there something else I can do to actually obtain the 100% layout accuracy touted here?

A. To create a pdf file that you can edit without losing the layout accuracy, you will need to use OpenOffice or LibreOffice to export the file as PDF as described in this article. A pdf file created by Adobe Acrobat is not a hybrid file.

Q. Is it possible that the formatting would at least stay the same when the resume is opened again in Adobe Reader?

A. Yes, so long as you edit the source document in OpenOffice and export it as PDF, including the option for creating a hybrid file.

Q. I've tried translating the resume all sorts of ways and into various forms, but every time, the formatting seems to get messed up--even from Word Web App to Word. Is there some better solution?

A. Unfortunately converting a file from one format to another is always subject to a loss in some features including layouts. This possibly includes saving a file using the same program but in a different version. Keeping only basic formatting in a file helps minimize issues in file compatibility.

Q. Is there a quick way I can get all my WordPad documents... back into WordPad form again?

A. In fact nothing have been changed except for the file association if I'm not mistaken. When you install OpenOffice, it probably changes your Rich Text documents (RTF) to be associated with it. You can change back the files to be opened with WordPad by default in a few steps below:

1. Right-click an RTF document in Windows Explorer and select "Properties" from the context menu.
2. Click the "Change" button next to "Opens with".
3. Select WordPad from the recommended programs and click OK.

by Altinkerer on 21. October 2013 - 1:29  (111625)

Jojo, thanks for the edits. Things are much clearer now. Part of the problem, I think, is that you are explaining something that is inherently quite complicated and confusing. Thanks for your patience! I don't think I have the courage to officially do that kind of editing right now! ;)

Thanks, too, for the timely tips. I would've given up by now without you! I see that I got confused into thinking that "100% layout accuracy" was being promised for any PDF files that one imports into, as well as exports out, of Oracle/Office, rather than only for documents that someone makes from scratch in the latter and then exports. It sounds like another reader or two may also have fallen into that trap; it might not be bad to emphasize this distinction in the article. Unfortunately, "keeping only basic formatting in a file" is something that I just can't afford to do with a resume, in which looks count for so much. Otherwise, I would just make an RTF version and call it a day!

Anyway, I started following the steps listed for creating a hybrid file, but the "Create Hybrid File" did not come up in the PDF Options window. I know that Oracle PDF Extension is installed on my system, because it is listed in the Extensions Manager of OpenOffice. Could you please tell me how can I get this tick box to show up?

Also, this is confusing to me: "If the PDF file is exported from LibreOffice/OpenOffice Writer, it opens directly in Writer." In other words, if the file is exported out of the location, it winds up right back in there? I guess what you're saying is the PDF version goes out and the ODF version comes in. Is that right?

It seems hard to believe that documents imported from Adobe into Writer/Oracle can become mangled in their formatting, but not the reverse. Anyway, I will try and see for myself, if I can get through the "Create Hybrid File" problem. Thanks!

P.S. Too bad that some of the formatting features I would want the most in OpenOffice are grayed out--I guess because I'm using the freebie version. It's easier for Oracle to promise "100% layout accuracy" when there are minimal layout features available in the program it supports! However, note to the wise: I was able to get horizontal lines for my resume in OpenOffice by copying them from my Adobe Reader version and then doing a lot of hand tweaking.

by Jojo Yee on 21. October 2013 - 15:24  (111643)

While LibreOffice still keeps this line "Create hybrid file", I note that OpenOffice has now changed it to "Embed this document inside the PDF". They still work the same. Give that option a try.

"If the PDF file is exported from LibreOffice/OpenOffice Writer, it opens directly in Writer." In other words, LibreOffice or OpenOffice opens up a hybrid file like it does the normal odt file for editing. When this file is exported as pdf, the odt file is embeded into a pdf file.

Hope this helps.

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