How to Edit PDF files without Adobe Acrobat

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How to edit PDF File is one such question which must have come to the mind of a person who uses a computer. PDF file format is so popular that everywhere it is used. But the most annoying thing is that we can not edit PDF files like any other documents. What we do have on our system is juts a PDF viewer or reader that is called Adobe Acrobat Reader which only helps in reading PDF files and you can not modify a PDF file with acrobat reader. To manipulate PDF files you need to have Adobe Acrobat program but not all can afford to have this software. So here we are going to describe some of the popular and effective ways of editing PDF files with some free alternatives to Adobe Acrobat. 

How to Edit PDF Files Using Freely  Available Tools

By default PDF files are read only in nature, however there are ways by which you can edit certain elements/sections of a PDF document for free without the need of source files or any commercial PDF editing tools like Adobe Acrobat. In this article we will discuss on how to edit PDF files in different ways either by using free desktop programs or by using a web application. 

However before proceeding I would like to mention that these tasks are purely basic pdf editing tasks and are not so advanced tasks. If you have some advanced PDF manipulation tasks then you may have to use commercial software.

Online/Web based PDF Editor for Basic Tasks  

Whenever you need to make any minor changes to your PDF file like modifying a small text, correcting a spelling mistake or want to hide a portion of text then you can use, an online PDF editor to perform your editing task. This application is free and lets you edit password protected PDF documents as well. 

How to edit pdf file

With PDF Escape, you can: 

  1. Add text, shapes, whiteout & more to PDF files
  2. Crop, move, delete, & insert PDF pages
  3. Create links to other PDF pages or web content
  4. Change PDF information tags
  5. Encrypt PDF contents using a password
  6. Add images to PDF files
  7. Sign PDF documents using your scanned signature

Note: Here we are not modifying any META data associated with the PDF document. 

Editing METAData Of PDF Documents

For those who does not know what is a metadata in PDF file: Metadata are the hidden elements in the format of xml in a PDF file. For example title, author name, creation data, keywords etc. If properly added, metadata can help in improving organic ranking of your PDF file in Google search results. So you should always consider adding proper metadata to your PDF document. 

If you need to edit meta-data associated with a PDF file, you can try Becy PDFMetaEdit. This is a free utility (Desktop application) that can help you edit properties of a PDF document including the title, author name etc. This tool can also be used for removing PDF passwords as well as for encrypting PDF documents such that only users who know the password can read the contents of your PDF files. (You can also read: How to remove password from PDF file

Editing Text of PDF Files

If you want to edit text in a PDF file where you do not have access to the cource of the PDF then you may try converting the the PDF to a text file or a Word document file and edit the text then again convert the text/Word file back to PDF, though this process is tedious but its quite effective in editing PDF files. I would suggest you convert the PDF to Word document format than plain text file. If you convert to word document then all elements of the file will come into doc file like images so there is no fear of loosing any data.

You can use any freely available application to convert from PDF to Word document and vice-versa. You can use online application like PDFOnline-PDF to Word (Max 2MB ) to convert your PDF to Word document, download it, edit and then again convert it to PDF. They do have Word-PDF converter as well. The benefit of using this service is that if your PDF is having images then this application would retain all images while converting to word document and vice-versa.  

Edit Using Inkspace – Advanced PDF Editing (Image,Text etc) 

We have Inkscape, a free vector drawing tool (like Adobe Illustrator) that can import and export PDF content. With Inkscape, you can select any object on a PDF page (including text, graphics, etc.) and remove them permanently from the PDF file or move them to a different location. You can also draw freehand drawings on a page using the built-in pencil tool. 

There is another option in advance PDF editing, that is OpenOffice suite. With the use of PDF Import extension in OpenOffice you can perform advanced editing tasks on a PDF file.   

You can also read: Convert from JPG to PDF file and How to compress PDF files


+Ayodhyanath Guru holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering and has worked with various prestigious clients in the IT industry and presently working as a Software Engineer. He is a part time blogger and presently authors the Jafaloo.Com blog. Being a tech enthusiast Guru likes to surf the web and blogs about interesting technical topics like How-To guides, freewares, Tutorials, Software, Gadgets, web applications etc. Apart from blogging he likes coding in Java/J2EE and PHP.

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