How to Edit PDF Files Without Using Adobe Acrobat
How to edit PDF files: Open a file in Acrobat DC. Click on the “Edit PDF” tool in the right pane. Use Acrobat editing tools: Add new text, edit text, or update fonts using selections from the Format list. Add, replace, move, or resize images on the page using selections from the Objects list. Click the other tools to edit your PDF further. The two primary applications for editing an annotating PDF files are Adobe Acrobat DC or Bluebeam Revu. They are both very robust platforms that allow you maximize the complete potential of the PDF file. Likewise, any application in the Adobe Suite will let you open and edit PDF files. This includes Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.
There is certainly no lack of tools -- ones that are good and free -- to help you create PDF documents. Or if you need to update your company's finished PDFs? The choice of applications that actually allow you to change a PDF after it was created is more limited.
For this roundup, I compared Adobe Acrobat X Standard the latest version of the application, which will be released within the next few weeks to these three competing applications: Foxit PDF Editor 2.
I tested them on two Dell laptops: one equipped with a 1. For the sake of the test, I used a PDF version of an IRS document specifically, the W-9 formso that I could work with something that used fill-in fields as well as explanatory text.
I hasten to add that any changes made to the documents were immediately discarded. All of these applications let you load a PDF document into them so you can make changes to its content. I looked them over with an emphasis on ease of use when it comes to editing the text and manipulating the graphics, relative to the value of their price. As this roundup was being researched, Adobe announced the imminent release in mid-November of the next version of Acrobat.
The company gave me access to a review copy of Acrobat X in other words, Version It's the lowest-price option among the three versions of Acrobat that allow you to change around words and graphics in PDF documents the free Adobe Acrobat Reader only lets you view PDFs, not edit them.
The new version offers several features not available in Acrobat 9 Standard, including a Reading Mode that hides everything except how to play dragon ball z document itself and the menu bar, the ability to more easily convert Microsoft Office documents to PDFs, and a streamlined interface.
It also removes "hidden" information in the document that could create privacy or security problems. User interface: Documents loaded into Acrobat take up a main viewing area. A sidebar along the left side of your document has icons that let you open side or bottom panels to display thumbnails of the document's pages, its bookmarks, digital signatures that have been signed to it, comments provided by people and any files attached to it.
Working with PDFs: Using the Edit Document Text tool, you position the cursor at the point in the document where you want to insert new text, and type. The backspace and delete keys work like they normally do in a typical text editor, and you can use the mouse to highlight words, letters and other characters. You can manipulate the size of a body of text. When you select the Edit Object tool and click on a row of text, the application surrounds it with a rectangle, marked with four anchor points at the corners.
Clicking, holding and dragging any of these corners inward will shrink the text font size, and dragging outward will increase it. Click anywhere within the rectangular boundary, hold the left mouse button, and you can drag the row of text to place it in another part of the document.
One thing to keep in mind when you edit text in a PDF document: The lines of text don't automatically "wrap. If you remove text, the row's length will shorten. But in either case, the row below it will not automatically link to the end of the row you edited, and the flow of the rest of the text in the paragraph will not automatically be reformatted.
What works well: With Acrobat, you get a stable, solid product that you can use to create PDF documents from scratch. Since it comes from the company that created the PDF how to texture a wall video, it's safe to assume you're guaranteed compatibility with creating and editing documents that abide by the PDF standard.
What needs fixing: The Edit Object tool wouldn't always select an entire row of text in some of the PDF documents that I used for the tests. For example, words that were underlined would be recognized by the application as a separate object, apart from the other words in the row, and had to be resized and dragged on their own.
Acrobat offers ways to get around this. For example, I could hold down the Shift key when selecting more than one body of text or multiple rows of text.
I could also click and hold the left mouse button to drag a rectangle frame around all what was the corrupt bargain text I wanted to merge together into a single graphical element that I could then resize and move. It all boils down to paying more for an application that comes from the creator of the PDF format, so you know the company that sells the application will be around to support the software and update it with new versions in the coming years.
On the other hand, if all you want to do is edit text and graphics in PDF documents, you may want to look at one of the less expensive alternatives covered in this roundup. Here are the latest Insider stories. More Insider Sign Out. Sign In Register.
Sign Out Sign In Register. Latest Insider. Check out the latest Insider stories here. More from the IDG Network. Image gallery: 4 ways to edit PDFs. Mobile deathmatch: Windows Phone 7 vs. Apple iPhone 4. The right office apps for the iPad at work. Adobe Acrobat X Standard As this roundup was being researched, Adobe announced the imminent release in mid-November of the next version of Acrobat.
Related: Enterprise Applications Desktop Software.
The best PDF editors you can buy today
Install Acrobat DC on your device and make it the default PDF viewer. Learn more > Edit text in a PDF: Add or replace text, correct typos, change fonts and typeface, adjust alignment, and resize text. Nov 02, · Acrobat X Standard ($) is the basic version of Acrobat. It's the lowest-price option among the three versions of Acrobat that allow you to change around words and graphics in PDF documents (the. Discover all the things your PDF can do. Adobe Acrobat DC helps you keep business moving. Convert, edit, share, and sign PDFs. Explore all the features and tools below.
One of the best PDF editors will be very useful if you've got a Portable Document Format file to alter, annotate or otherwise improve. But which of the many PDF editors, paid or free, out there is best for the task you have at hand?
PDF files may be seem to be permanent. They were designed to retain the kinds of high-qualify design and page layout that you expect from printed media, such as magazines and newspapers.
But the best PDF editors let you make changes to the unchangeable, with tools that recognize text in scanned documents and let you edit text and images. If leaving behind notes is more your jam, then there are PDF annotation tools that let you mark up files and make notations so that someone else can update the original.
Need a PDF editor that can handle all that? Not to worry — we've tested more than a half dozen different options to produce a list of the best PDF editors for altering text, changing images and leaving annotations in documents.
Here's what we've found. The app also lets you create PDFs, forms and tables of contents if you need creation tools on top of editing and annotation capabilities. That's great if you've got a Mac, but what about the rest of us? Windows users or Mac users considering an alternative should turn to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, which also boasts an impressive tool set. If you prefer free software, give PDF Candy a try.
Its text-editing tools are a bit limited, but it excels at converting and creating files. If you're just looking to annotate documents, Mac users don't need to stray any further than the Preview app that's built in to macOS. Apple's Preview is easy to operate and it's free. So is PDFescape, and since this browser-based tool works with everything from Chrome to Firefox, it's the best PDF annotation tool you can use for free. Each app has its strong points, but ultimately, there are too many quirks for those programs to rank high on our list of the best PDF editors.
It's also available in a less expensive version with fewer editing options. Additionally, you can create PDFs from scratch, create or edit forms, and create tables of contents for your PDF documents.
The application's OCR tools are rock-solid. When you open an existing PDF file in PDFpenPro, the application automatically detects whether the document you're working with is a scanned image or already contains selectable text.
If it's the former, the application asks whether you want it to recognize the text on the page. Even with large documents topping pages, PDFpenPro handled text recognition seamlessly in a matter of minutes, making the text searchable and editable. That said, editing recognized text is not as easy as editing text in a non-scanned document. You'd expect Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to be great because it comes from Adobe, the birthplace of the portable document format. To some extent, this full-service PDF-editing application meets that expectation.
Acrobat DC's OCR engine can convert scanned documents to text, which you can then search through and change. But Acrobat doesn't offer to convert an entire document the moment you open it. Instead, the app waits for you to begin using the Pro DC's edit tools, recognizing and converting the pages as you select them for editing.
Changing text in an OCR'd document was simple and the results looked great. It's also easy to edit images and text in documents you haven't scanned. I was able to make changes to everything with zero issues. It feels like a half-realized demo of what the app could be. Editing tools surround your document, and the UI feels disorganized, offering few options for customization. This doesn't make this program bad at what it's supposed to do; it just makes you feel like you're working outside your chosen OS.
You can choose from 44 tools to create or convert PDF files. It's also easy to rearrange pages within a document, add watermarks, protect PDF files with passcodes, edit metadata within a PDF file, split or add pages to documents, and extract images. Actual text editing is pretty limited, the trade-off you make to enjoy a fairly feature-rich free PDF editor.
Once you've made your edits in PDF Candy, you can download the edited document or upload a new document to work on. PDF Candy keeps all of your documents in a queue so you can download them all at once after you've finished making changes to them. PDFescape used to limit you to 50 pages, so the higher limit is a welcome change.
But PDFescape's annotation tools are easy to use. You'll find a pretty solid set of standard annotation tools that can easily add, highlight and strike through text; insert notes; and otherwise mark up the pages of your PDF file.
Using the web app's insert tools, you can also add new images and text to a document, white-out text, and add web links and form fields. PDFescape does have some major limitations in adding new text. Because there are no OCR capabilities, you can't make changes to existing text; you're limited to adding new text to an existing document. Additionally, the app has very limited font options, as it doesn't use any of your computer's fonts.
Apple's Preview app is built-in to the macOS and offers a minimalist but valuable set of tools for marking up any PDF file. You won't find full-on PDF editing here.
But if you need a basic set of tools for highlighting or redacting text, making notes, or adding comments to a document, you won't likely need much more than what's already available on your Mac.
Preview's markup tools are hidden when you first open a PDF document. To see them, you'll have to look for the small pencil icon that appears near the Spotlight search bar at the top of your PDF document's toolbar.
Clicking this reveals a small set of tools you can use to select text and add objects, text or notes to your document. The app's standout feature is a signature tool you can use to store a signature you create using your trackpad or scan using your Mac's iSight camera. You can then easily add that signature to a document by clicking Preview's Signature tool.
Simple and easy to use once you set it up, Preview's signing feature will prove its usefulness every time a digital document requires your John Hancock. This summer, Apple released a public beta for macOS Big Sur , and we're expecting the final version of the new Mac software now that it's fall.
Changes to Preview are minimal in macOS Big Sur, so expect the same markup tools as before should you upgrade. PDF Expert lacks OCR capabilities, so if you want to edit text in scanned documents, you'll need to look beyond this program.
Of all the apps I tested, PDF Expert has the cleanest interface and therefore was the most pleasant to use. Two tabs appear at the top of the screen: Annotate and Edit. Clicking one of them gives you an appropriate selection of tools to perform either annotation or editing tasks. PDF Expert's editing tools are flawless.
Click text in your PDF, and tools for editing text will slide out so you can make changes. Select an image, and tools for changing the image appear.
You can move selected text anywhere on the page you want or remove it altogether. Until this program behaves more dependably, look elsewhere if you tend to work with larger documents. With those, you can fill in forms, annotate documents, create and add signatures, and edit images within a document.
PDFelement had no problem opening anything I threw at it, including scanned documents, large files and image-heavy PDFs. Once documents are open, PDFelement Pro offers a fairly simple interface, with a set of tools on the left side of your document that are easy to figure out.
Just select a tool, and you can go to work making changes to the file. Editing images, adding signatures and using annotations in the application all worked as planned, but I did experience some odd behaviors when I was editing or adding text using PDFelement Pro.
In particular, when I was editing existing text in a document, the application wanted to make the text bold and would not allow me to change the content back to regular text. Also, when I added new text boxes, my own text did not display normally; the program always added a space after I typed an apostrophe. And the program constantly played my Mac's system beep as I typed. That's both annoying and not optimal. A desktop version converts that web interface into something that runs on your computer.
You can use a free version of Sejda, but it limits the number of daily tasks you can perform and the size of the documents you can access. You can edit only PDF files that already have selectable text. To edit your PDF file, you upload it to the Sejda website and then use the toolbar at the top of the page to choose your tools.
You'll find tools for editing text, adding links, adding form fields and images, and signing or annotating your document. All of Sejda's tools are rudimentary at best. The app breaks every line of text in your document into a single text entry, so you can't edit entire paragraphs of text. When you do edit existing text, remnants of the previous text often get left behind in the document. Sejda will let you add new images to a document, but you can't use the app to edit or remove existing images.
Sejda isn't a great app, but it works in a pinch when you need to make a quick change to an existing PDF document and you have no other tools at hand. The first question you should ask yourself is what you need a PDF editor for. If it's just to mark up documents and add digital signatures, PDF annotation software will better serve your needs.
Because there are several perfectly fine PDF annotation programs available for free, you can save yourself some money. As we mentioned, Mac users can save even more time since the Preview app on their computers includes markup and signature tools.
If you're in the market for a full-fledged PDF editor — one that lets you manipulate text and create documents — consider what kind of features you'll need for PDF editing. While PDF editors are great for introducing changes or notes to documents, they're not necessary if you simply want to read a PDF.
For that, we've got a list of the best PDF readers you can download. While testing each of these applications, I used a few different types of documents, including large, text-heavy files; documents with a mix of formatted images and text; and simple documents with text and images inserted into the document in a linear fashion.
I tested features like text recognition when that was supported , and I tried making changes to text, replacing and adding images, and adding annotations.
Tom's Guide. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. Editing tools appear when you need them and hide when you don't.