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How to edit a PDF

Ever found yourself in a bind at work looking for a way to edit a PDF to send to someone quickly? You may be surprised to learn you probably had the tools to do it on your computer all along.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
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Nomad Outing/Moment via Getty Images

Since their introduction, PDFs notoriously have been uneditable by the average user. Part of the appeal of using PDFs is the ability to send a document that can be viewed as a photo on different devices, with formatting and text essentially looking the same for everyone.

But sometimes you need to edit a PDF or redo it and you don't have the original file. Either way, knowing the options available to easily edit a PDF is good for anyone dealing with them.

How to edit a PDF

There're many websites that let you edit PDFs online or through downloadable software. Some claim to offer the service for free, others with a subscription. But there are ways to edit a PDF without using potentially dangerous sources. Word and Adobe are two safe and commonly available resources.

Edit a PDF on Word

The easiest way to turn a PDF into an editable document is to open it on Word. And with Word being very popular as part of Microsoft 365, this is an option that is readily available to many. 

Step 1: Open Word

Open Word

Step 2: Click on Open

Click on Open

Click on Open either on the home screen in Word or by going to the File menu. 

Step 3: Select the PDF 

Select the PDF

Choose the PDF you want to edit.

Step 4: Edit your PDF

Edit your PDF

Once you select the PDF to open in Word, it'll be editable as a regular Word document. Some formatting may be lost in the transfer to Word, so be prepared to do a bit of reformatting. 

It's good to know that this same process also works on Google Docs, by the way.

After you're done editing your document, you can save it as a Word document or a PDF again, just like any other document.

Edit a PDF on Adobe

You also can edit a PDF on Adobe.com using the online tools provided there. This is a trustworthy option that you can use up to two times a month for free. If you want to use is more frequently than that, you'll need a subscription.

Step 1: Go to Adobe.com

Go to adobe.com

Step 2: Click PDF and signatures choose Online Tools

Click PDF and signatures choose Online Tools

Step 3: Select Edit PDF

Select Edit PDF

Once you reach the Online tools, you can click on All Tools and scroll down to find the Edit options. You'll see there's really quite a lot that you can do to edit PDFs online: add text and comments, reorder, delete, rotate, and insert pages, and split PDFs.

Step 4: Upload and edit PDF


Because this is the free option, editing a PDF on Adobe.com is more limited to annotations and commentary, highlighting, and fill in forms. The latter is very useful to digitally fill in forms that came as an uneditable PDF. 

Upload and edit PDF

As with all of Adobe's free online tools, you are limited to only editing two PDFs every 30 days without a subscription. The subscription enables you to edit the text on the PDF itself, like Word or Google Sheets do.


Can you edit text in a PDF?

Yes. When you open a PDF through Word or Google Docs, it becomes a regular document on which you're able to edit the text. So if you need to make corrections or add a paragraph or change the formatting, you can do so with these word processors. 

Can you open a PDF in Pages?

Unfortunately, Pages does not support opening PDFs at this time.

Can you make a PDF editable?

Adobe Acrobat lets subscribers make PDFs editable, and enables many other options and features not available to nonsubscribers. But a subscription costs $12.99 a month to access these features. 

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