How to Install Okular on Linux Mint 21/20

If you’re a Linux Mint user in the market for a multifunctional, cross-platform document viewer, look no further than Okular. Created as a part of the KDE project, Okular combines a rich suite of features and a wide range of supported formats, setting it apart from a simple document viewer.

Some of Okular’s key strengths include:

  • Multiple Format Support: Okular supports a variety of document formats, including, but not limited to, PDF, EPUB, and a range of image formats. This breadth of support ensures you can view different document types in one consistent interface without the need for multiple viewers.
  • Annotation Tools: Okular has a strong set of annotation tools. Whether you need to highlight text, insert geometric shapes, or add text boxes to your documents, Okular has got you covered.
  • Accessibility Features: Okular prioritizes accessibility with features like text-to-speech support, making it user-friendly for individuals with disabilities.
  • Bookmarks: The ability to bookmark pages in your documents is another user-centric feature Okular brings to the table, making it easy to navigate through and return to particular sections of your document.
  • Extract Text and Images: Okular empowers you to extract text and images directly from your documents, a feature that proves indispensable when it comes to research and report writing.
  • Review Tools: With a range of review tools, Okular allows for comprehensive content assessment, including the ability to add inline notes, create freehand line drawings, and insert pop-up notes.

Why Okular for Linux Mint Users?

You might wonder why switch to Okular when Linux Mint has a built-in PDF viewer, Xreader, which offers a basic yet competent set of features. The answer lies in Okular’s more advanced capabilities. It addresses a wider spectrum of user needs, from students who require strong annotation tools, professionals needing detailed document review features, to those needing text-to-speech for better accessibility.

For those Linux Mint users who have chosen the KDE desktop environment over the default Cinnamon, Okular is an excellent addition. Its design principles align closely with the KDE’s focus on user-friendliness and power, providing an integrated user experience.

The ability of Okular to handle a multitude of document formats is another plus. With Okular, you have one tool to view PDFs, EPUB files, and images, rather than having to switch between different viewers for each format. This convenience can significantly benefit users who regularly deal with diverse document formats.

Additionally, Okular embodies the open-source ethos, making it a fitting choice for Linux Mint users who appreciate open, accessible, and free software.

To capitalize on Okular’s benefits, the following guide will demonstrate how to install Okular on Linux Mint 21 or Linux Mint 20 using CLI commands, offering different methods to accommodate most users’ preferences.

Section 1: Install Okular with APT Package Manager

Step 1: Updating Linux Mint System

Maintaining an updated system is vital not only for security but also for seamless software installation. An up-to-date system ensures compatibility and minimizes conflicts during new software installations. It’s a common best practice to update the system before installing any new packages.

In Linux Mint, the Advanced Package Tool (APT), a powerful command-line tool used for handling packages, can perform the update. Execute the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

The sudo apt update command updates the package list, ensuring that the system is aware of the latest versions of all software, while the sudo apt upgrade command will upgrade the installed packages to their latest versions.

Step 2: Installing Okular

There are several ways to install Okular, but the simplest and most straightforward method for beginners is using the default APT repository. This repository hosts a stable and secure version of Okular, making it the most recommended installation method. However, keep in mind that the version in the APT repository may not be the most recent one as package updates in the repository are usually slower.

To install Okular using the APT package manager, execute the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt install okular

With this command, the APT package manager will retrieve the Okular package from the repository and install it on your Linux Mint system.

Section 2: Install Okular with Flatpak and Flathub

Flatpak is another package management system that is installed by default on Linux Mint distributions. It’s favored by the Linux Mint developers and the community, as evidenced by its preference over Snap. Installing Okular via Flatpak and the Flathub repository is a solid choice for those seeking the most recent version of the software.

Step 1: Ensuring Flathub is Enabled

Before proceeding with the Okular installation, it’s crucial to verify that the Flathub repository is enabled. The Flathub repository hosts a collection of apps available for installation through the Flatpak package manager.

To ensure that Flathub is enabled on your Linux Mint system, use the following command in your terminal:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

This command adds the Flathub repository as a source for Flatpak if it doesn’t already exist. The --if-not-exists flag checks if the repository is already added, preventing duplicate entries.

Step 2: Installing Okular with Flatpak

After verifying that Flathub is enabled, you can proceed with the Okular installation.

To install Okular using the Flatpak package manager, enter the following command in your terminal:

flatpak install flathub org.kde.okular -y

In this command, flathub is the repository name where the package is located, org.kde.okular is the identifier of the Okular package in the Flathub repository, and the -y flag automatically answers yes to all prompts, allowing the installation to proceed without additional user input.

Upon execution of this command, the Flatpak package manager fetches the latest Okular package from the Flathub repository and installs it on your Linux Mint system.

Section 3: Launching Okular on Linux Mint

Once Okular is installed on your Linux Mint system, there are various methods to launch the application. This can be done through both the command-line interface (CLI) and the graphical user interface (GUI), each with its advantages.

CLI Method

One of the perks of Linux is the extensive control and accessibility provided through the CLI. Thus, launching Okular through the terminal can be quick and efficient, especially for users already working in a terminal environment.

Launching Okular via CLI

If you have installed Okular through the APT package manager, the application can be launched immediately by entering the following command in your terminal:


This command instructs the system to run the Okular program. You’ll notice that the application GUI will open up for use as soon as you hit the Enter key.

Launching Okular via CLI for Flatpak Users

For those who have installed Okular using Flatpak, the command to run Okular is slightly different. Enter the following command in your terminal:

flatpak run org.kde.okular

This command tells Flatpak to run the Okular application, identified by its unique application ID, org.kde.okular.

GUI Method

Despite the power of the CLI, using the GUI for launching applications is more visually intuitive and often preferred by users who are not comfortable with command line operations.

To open Okular using the GUI, follow the path:

Taskbar > Show Applications > Okular

In the Linux Mint menu, represented by the ‘Taskbar’, click on ‘Show Applications’. This will present you with a list of all the applications installed on your system. Search for ‘Okular’ in this list and click on it to launch the application.

Example of Okular application icon on Linux Mint taskbar menu:

Section 4: Tips on Getting Started with Okular on Linux Mint

Starting with a new software can be exciting yet intimidating, given the array of features and customization options that come with it. Okular is no different. As you embark on your journey with Okular, here are some tips and tricks to help you harness the full potential of this powerful tool.

General Usage Tips

  • Document Navigation: Use the scroll wheel on your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard for easy navigation through documents. Pressing Ctrl + +/- will zoom in or out of the document.
  • Multiple Document Interface: Okular supports opening multiple documents in the same window, which can be very useful for cross-referencing. Go to File > Open New Tab or use the shortcut Ctrl + T to open a new document tab.
  • Search Functionality: Okular’s search functionality is a powerful tool for quickly locating information within a document. Press Ctrl + F to open the search bar.
  • Annotations: Okular allows you to make annotations in the documents, a feature especially useful when reviewing or studying documents. Click on Tools > Review to access the annotation tools.
  • Export Notes: Your annotations are not permanently attached to the PDFs, but you can export them. Go to File > Export As > Document Archive.

Customizations Tips

  • Toolbar Customization: You can customize the toolbars to better suit your workflow. Right-click on the toolbar and select Configure Toolbars to customize.
  • Theme Customization: Okular allows you to choose between light and dark themes. Navigate to Settings > Configure Okular > Accessibility and under ‘Change Colors’ select ‘Use color scheme’.
  • Shortcut Customization: Okular allows you to customize the shortcuts. Go to Settings > Configure Shortcuts to assign custom shortcuts to various functions.

Tips for Advanced Usage

  • Document Archiving: Okular allows the exporting of documents in the archive format (.okular file). This format stores both the document and the annotations which can be useful when sharing annotated documents with peers.
  • Command-line Options: Okular supports a range of command-line options for advanced usage. Running okular --help in terminal will display the options available.
  • Shell Script Integration: As a command-line runnable application, Okular can be integrated into shell scripts for advanced automation tasks.

The aforementioned tips should help you get started with Okular in a more profound and efficient way, but the true mastery comes from exploring and using the software. So, don’t hesitate to explore Okular’s menu and settings to get a feel for all the functionality it offers.

Section 5: Effective Management of Okular on Linux Mint

Once you’ve successfully installed Okular on your Linux Mint system, it’s important to maintain the application to ensure that it continues to operate at peak performance. In this section, we will guide you through the procedures for updating and upgrading Okular and, if necessary, how to uninstall it.

Keeping Okular Up to Date

Regular updates not only provide new features but also patch potential security vulnerabilities, enhance performance, and correct bugs from previous versions. While update notifications will usually prompt you when there are new updates available, there are instances where these notifications may not show.

As a safety measure, we encourage you to manually check for updates periodically using your terminal.

Update Okular via APT

To update Okular using APT, you will utilize the update command. Here is how it’s done:

sudo apt update

The sudo apt update command updates your local package index with the latest changes made in the repositories.

Update Okular via Flatpak

In case you have installed Okular via Flatpak, use the update command as follows:

flatpak update

The flatpak update command updates your installed applications and runtimes to the latest versions.

Uninstalling Okular

For those who no longer need Okular or need to uninstall it for any reason, the process is simple and can be done via the terminal. Please note, your choice of command will depend on the original method you used for installation.

Uninstall Okular via APT

If Okular was installed using the APT package manager, use the remove command as follows:

sudo apt remove okular

The sudo apt remove okular command removes the application from your system but leaves behind configuration files in case you wish to reinstall the application in the future.

Uninstall Okular via Flatpak

If Okular was installed via Flatpak, the remove command will be slightly different:

flatpak remove  --delete-data org.kde.okular -y

The flatpak remove --delete-data org.kde.okular -y command removes the application along with its associated data from your system.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the installation, operation, and management of Okular on Linux Mint can initially seem daunting, but we hope this guide has illuminated the process, making it less of a challenge and more of an opportunity to expand your knowledge. Remember, using Okular on Linux Mint is more than just viewing PDFs, it’s about embracing the flexibility and control that comes with open-source software.

From installation—whether by APT or Flatpak—to launching Okular via the command line or GUI, right down to managing updates and potential uninstallation, we’ve covered the essentials to empower you with the necessary skills to use Okular effectively on Linux Mint. As you continue your journey, remember, each command serves a purpose, and understanding these commands is a stepping-stone towards mastering your Linux system.

Additional Resources and Links

In an effort to assist you further in your exploration of Okular and Linux Mint, here are some valuable resources that provide deeper insights and further information:

  • Okular Official Website: As the home of Okular, the official website is an excellent source of comprehensive information, covering everything from key features to user manuals.
  • Linux Mint Official Documentation: A great resource for Linux Mint users. It covers a wide range of topics related to Linux Mint, offering detailed guides and tips to help you get the most out of your Linux Mint system.

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