When John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe, developed the Portable Document Format (PDF), he wanted to make it easier for people to distribute documents without having to print them out. Surprisingly, it turned out to be not very convenient.
The files were not only large in size, but the format did not support external hyperlinks and could only be viewed with a dedicated PDF viewer. Over time, various versions of the PDF file format have included functional improvements that make things easier.
However, making changes or editing a PDF document, like most other text documents, is still not easy because they are not really meant to be edited.
Most PDFs start with a source file in another proprietary format, such as Word, and are converted to PDF file format for distribution. If you are not the original author, editing the file will be a little more difficult because the original file is not available to you or you do not have the necessary applications to edit it.
The good news is that there are several ways to edit a PDF document. We’re going to show you four great tools to make this possible.
Using Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat is the most obvious PDF editing tool. Like most of Adobe’s offerings, you can easily get it online by purchasing the standard or professional version of the editor.
If you don’t want to pay for it, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial and get access to the powerful features of Acrobat DC.
To start editing a PDF file, you need to open the file in Adobe Acrobat.
Go to File> Open.
Select the Edit PDF tool in the right pane.
Click on the text or image you want to edit. Acrobat will display all the editing tools you need to format your text.
Note. If there is a specific font that you want to use but it is not installed or built into your system, you will not be able to edit any text in the PDF document. For embedded fonts, you can only change the font size and color.
After making your changes, save the file.
You can use Adobe Acrobat to edit PDF documents on Windows and Mac clients. Plus, if you have an Acrobat Pro DC subscription, you can edit PDFs on Android and iOS from anywhere and on any device using the Acrobat Reader mobile app.
Using Microsoft Word
If you already have the latest versions of Microsoft Word (2013 or newer), this is the easiest and fastest way to edit a document based on an existing PDF.
The two formats are different in nature, which means that some information, such as tables with cell spacing, font effects, form filling functions, and more, may be lost in translation.
First, open Microsoft Word and click “File.”
Click Open to select the PDF you want to edit in the document window.
You will receive a message that Word is converting your PDF to an editable document and its content to a format that Word can display. However, the original PDF will not change.
Click OK. Make the necessary changes to the document and click File> Save to save it back as PDF.
Using Google Docs
It is a fast and easy-to-use alternative to editing PDF files. Here are the steps to take to edit PDFs in Google Docs.
Sign in to Google Drive with your Google account. Click “Create” in the upper left corner.
Select “Upload File”.
In the document window, find the PDF you want to edit and click Open. Once the download is complete, click Recent in the left pane to find the PDF you just downloaded.
Right-click the PDF file name and select Open With> Google Docs.
A new editable Document file will be created.
Double click on it to make the necessary changes and download it in PDF format. You can also email it or share it with others using the share link.
Using a PDF editor
Finding a PDF editor that lets you edit, add or change text and images, sign your name, fill out forms, and more is not easy. However, there are some online PDF editors that you can use with a web browser to edit the PDF file and then save it back to your computer or cloud storage or share it with others.
Not all PDF editions offer the same features; some have limitations on what you can and cannot do, but you can use more than one tool to process the same PDF. Plus, they’re not as full-featured as desktop PDF editors like Acrobat, so they can’t convert perfectly, which means you’re left with weird formatting styles and incorrect translations.
One of the many online PDF editors you can use is Sejda PDF Editor. The bonus fact is that it can run entirely in your web browser, or you can get the desktop version.
Just go to the Sejda PDF website and click PDF Editor in the Edit & Sign column.
Upload the PDF you want to edit there. You can click the green Download PDF button to download the file from your computer.
You can also choose a location by clicking the dropdown menu and download it from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or from a web address (URL).
Note. The desktop version does not allow you to add PDF files by URL or via online storage.
You now have an editable format for your document. Like Acrobat, Sejda PDF editor offers menus with editing tools that you can use to format your text using different fonts, colors, or sizes.
Make the necessary changes and click Apply Changes (green button) at the bottom of the screen.
Don’t worry about your files being stored online. Seida automatically deletes all downloaded files after two hours. You can also uninstall it yourself by clicking the Delete Files icon.
These methods are a good start for editing PDFs and should be enough to meet the needs of most users.