how to edit pdf [Easy Guide]

If you regularly send PDF files over the Internet, knowing how to quickly edit PDF files will make your life a lot easier.

woman learning to edit pdf

PDF, short for Portable Document Format, is a type of digital file that allows you to send content that is readable by other users, regardless of what software they use to view the file. And to make a PDF compatible with different viewing platforms, the text and images in a file cannot be easily modified once packaged into a PDF.

But it is not impossible.

Whether you use a Mac or Windows computer, you already have tools available to edit text and graphics within a document you’ve converted to a PDF. You can even do this online, as well as convert PDFs back to Microsoft Word documents to edit their content in its original, editable format.

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Here are some ways to edit a PDF using Adobe Acrobat on a Mac or Windows computer, or one of the many online editing tools available to you today.

take a leap:

Comment: These instructions apply to Adobe’s 10th and 11th versions of Acrobat X and Acrobat XI. Earlier Acrobat products required you to select “Edit Text and Images” under the “Tools” option on the right side of your top navigation. See Acrobat’s current editing pane below with “Edit PDF” on the right:

Editable PDF with Tools Panel on Adobe Acrobat Pro DCimage Source

As you can see from the above instructions, you need to have Adobe Acrobat program installed. Don’t worry, it is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers. However, not every version of Acrobat allows you to edit existing text after you open your document in this program.

Adobe classifies its software under acrobat standard And Acrobat Pro, The company offers the following three versions in both product lines: Acrobat X, Acrobat XI, and Acrobat DC.

According to adobeThe versions below allow basic text and content editing as well as the ability to export your document to Microsoft Word:

  • Acrobat XI Standard
  • Acrobat Standard DC
  • Acrobat XI Pro
  • Acrobat Pro DC

Acrobat Pro DC and Acrobat Standard DC offer many other editing capabilities that Acrobat XI doesn’t offer – such as automatic spell checking, advanced photo editing and editing from the iPad.

Although Acrobat is one of the most popular ways to edit PDF files, it’s not the only way. Read on to learn how to edit PDFs using other hardware and software beyond Adobe’s suite of products.

How to edit PDF: Cejeda

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The need for an expensive program like Adobe to edit such a common file type hasn’t gone unnoticed, and there are many online tools you can now use to edit your PDFs for free. But it also means that there isn’t a universal set of instructions for editing on every website available to you.

Step 6 in the above instructions is actually based on a device called SejdaOne of the few free websites (more on that later) that lets you edit existing text – as well as add new content on top of the original.

Another paid tool option is Smallpdf. Together this toolYou can add new content as well as save PDFs to platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, and even Microsoft Word.

Most PDF editing websites equip you with a manual content eraser and new text/image boxes that you can drag and drop anywhere on the page.

how to edit pdf for free

Buying software just for PDF editing may not be practical if you don’t need to use it regularly, so we’ve rounded up some tools that will allow you to edit PDFs for free.

1. cejeda

Free PDF Editing Tools: Sejeda's Toolbar

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Most other PDF editing websites only equip you with a manual content eraser and new text/image boxes that you can drag and drop anywhere on the page.

Cejeda’s online PDF editor lets users fill out PDF forms, edit and sign PDFs for free. You can also edit existing PDF text. Simply drag and drop them from your desktop or upload them from your computer or Google Docs files.

Sejeda offers encryption for security and once done your files are permanently deleted. Should you not want to use their online version, they have a desktop option.

2. pdfescape

PDFEscape lets you add new content and start a new PDF from scratch. Edit PDFs, add annotations, create and edit basic forms, and share documents in one simple tool. You can also set up password-protected documents to limit who has access.

Like Cejeda, PDF Escape also has a desktop version if you don’t want to do online editing.

3. formswift

In addition to PDF editing, Formswift allows users to edit Word documents and images. If you prefer, you can even convert your PDF to a Word document. Do you have a paper document you want to convert? He’s got that covered too. Take a photo of a document on your mobile device and upload it to Formswift to convert it to PDF in seconds.


With DocFly, you can edit up to three PDF files per month for free. Like the other tools on this list, you can choose to drag and drop your files into the online editor or upload them from your computer. With it, you can add custom text, change the background color, add images, or edit forms. Although the free feature is limited, it’s perfect for those who only need to edit PDFs occasionally.

how to edit pdf form

All of the tools listed above allow users to edit PDF forms or create them from scratch. Simply upload your document from your computer, and use the editing features of your chosen tool to change information, or fill out forms as needed.

The appropriate tool for your PDF will depend on what specifically you want to edit and the file size of your document. For example, because Sejda cannot accept PDFs larger than 50MB (MB), check your document size and identify an editing tool that is compatible with your PDF.

If you want to edit a PDF using features that come natively on Mac computers, follow the steps above. Be sure to repeat Steps 3 and 4 for each image you want to extract from your original PDF – this is a unique function for Mac computers, and each extraction will take a screenshot of your image, which will be saved to your desktop.

Are you planning to edit PDFs regularly? The above steps can be a bit time consuming. Behold, PDF experts:

pdf expert PDF is a free downloadable program made for Mac that allows you to open and edit PDF content directly from the original PDF. You don’t need to migrate your text to a new document and take image screenshots, as you would in the 10 steps above.

Like editing PDFs online, the best option for you depends on how much editing you plan to do.

how to edit pdf with windows

Windows computers can’t extract images as easily as Mac computers, so you may be more dependent on third-party software to edit PDFs with Windows.

Keep in mind Acrobat – as well as the previously mentioned online tools – all work for Windows, so by now, you’ve already learned how to edit PDFs on the Windows operating system.

Want a free tool specifically tailored for Windows? To quench your thirst for exclusivity: You can also download pdf viewer plus, a program only offered in the Microsoft Store. The app is free to download and works smoothly just like PDF Expert on Mac.

Based on the different approaches to editing PDFs throughout this guide, you can guess by now that it’s probably More than one way to edit your PDF in Microsoft Word. And you’re right.

The first method brings you back to Adobe Acrobat, where instead of editing your PDF within Acrobat, you’ll export the file to Word (make sure you have Word installed on your computer). Remember, as mentioned earlier in this article, You can only do this in Acrobat XI and Acrobat DC — Using the Standard or Pro version of Adobe.

Another way is to find an online PDF editor. An editor that allows you to edit in Word we’ve already mentioned: Smallpdf. In This version of Smallpdf, you’ll upload your document and follow the prompts on the website to convert and save your PDF to a Word document. See an image of the process below:Smallpdf's homepage for converting PDF to Word document

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Then, you can open your file in Microsoft Word, make any edits you want, and save as a new PDF in the same way as you did in Steps 7 and 8 above.

Editing PDF documents is easy

Editing PDF documents shouldn’t slow down your workflow. With the variety of both paid and free versions of PDF editing tools, it is now easier than ever to edit and share PDFs. Go ahead and revise your PDFs now, no matter what your platform and editing needs.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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