Under Xournal, I add some text to a pdf file, and then I export to a pdf file. In the exported pdf file, the text I added is shown correctly, and selectable, but when I copy and paste the selected text out to a text editor, it is not the same text I added.

For example, under Xournal, I add locking to a pdf file, and in the exported pdf file, when I select the text and copy and paste it into a text editor, the text is PSGOMRK.

I wonder if it is a bug of Xournal?

How can I make the selected text from the exported pdf file the same as the text I added under Xournal?

My OS is Ubuntu 12.04, and the version of Xournal is 0.4.5.

2 Answers 2


This seems like a fairly old bug with Xournal. I found this thread describing the exact same issue as well, titled: "copy text from pdf problem (xournal). Using the latest version (0.47), I was able to reproduce the issue as well.

   ss of xournal

I then exported the annoted PDF as a new PDF and then copied the annotated string "This is some extra text." and attempted to paste it in vim. Doing so I got this string: 8LMW MW WSQI I\XVE XI\X.

I can continuously repeat this problem over and over. It's definitely an issue with the annotation done by Xournal. The pre-existing text, PDF 3 worked fine when I copy and pasted it.


You might want to try using Okular which can also annotate PDF files.

   ss of okular

  • Thanks! (1) Do you recommend other applications for annotating pdf files without the problem? (2) I posted a message on their SourceForge forum.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 3:24
  • @Tim - see update.
    – slm
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 5:15
  • Thanks! In Okular, I found that after I click one of those review tools and apply it to the text, if I want to apply the same tool to other places in the text, I have to click the tool again. Is it possible that once I click a review tool, I can apply it many times till I decide to change the tool?
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 14:08
  • @Tim - We're starting to meander away from your original Q. Can you ask this as a separate Q since you're now asking about usability for Okular? Also if your original Q was answered can you mark this as the accepted A so others know your original issue's been resolved. Thanks.
    – slm
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 14:26


You can't fix .pdf file after you have exported it from the .xoj file. But if you still have .xoj file you can still do something..

Files of type .xoj depend on the .pdf files. So if you move or rename .pdf files they won't be found once you open .xoj file with Xournal. And Xournal will luckily prompt you to tell it to choose another .pdf file and this is your chance. Choose the right one and then for export don't use "export as PDF" but "print/print to file".


Best alternative at the moment is Master PDF editor. I use Arch Linux and here is our package for GTK and QT5.

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