Handy Ways to Edit PDF Files without Adobe Acrobat


Adobe introduced the world to what was originally known as Adobe Acrobat. The software used and still used as a Portable Document Format (PDF).  The main goal is to become the standard for the any kind of transmission of large documents. Everyone, from business owners and educators to government personnel use the PDF file to transmit large documents.

In this posts, I’ll share the essential details about the PDF Document and How to Edit the PDF Files without Adobe Acrobat.

Why edit a PDF?

Many of us have encountered situations where PDF files needed to be edited, for different reasons.

  • This is a very tricky process and one may easily destroy a document in the process of editing PDF files.
  • PDF files are an accurate representation of a document. They are meant for output or on-screen viewing.
  • They are not intended to be intermediate files that can still be edited. But what if the PDF file contains grammar and spelling mistakes? Such a document simply cannot represent your business and needs to be edited. Whenever possible, try to make the changes in the Word file, and recreate the PDF from it.

The difficulties of editing PDF files

  • It is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) format. This means that it cannot be altered from what you see on the computer screen.
  • To alter it, you will need the original password. Why is this? Well, the PDF file format is basically just a snapshot, or a graphic portrayal of text. Although you might think of it as text, it is not.
  • This “drawback” is perfect for a company that wants to send information like annual reports without having to worry about someone editing the PDF file. However, this is not too great for people who need to copy and paste a part of the PDF into a Word document or edit the PDF in any way.

Ways to edit a PDF file

The main question is “How do I edit PDF files?” There are two ways of achieving this goal:
•    Editing on a PDF directly
•    Converting a PDF to another format

Here we can see about editing files directly by using following ways.

1. On line PDF editors:

You can easily edit PDF files with PDF Escape, an online PDF editor that’s free and also lets you edit password-protected PDF documents in the browser.

With PDF Escape, you can just place the parts of a PDF file using the whiteout tool or add annotations with the help of custom shapes, arrows, text boxes and sticky notes. You can add hyperlinks to other PDF pages / web documents.

2. Edit Text in a PDF File

If you want to edit large amounts of text in a PDF file but don’t have access to the source documents, your best bet is that you convert the PDF file into an editable Word document or an Excel spreadsheet depending on the contents of the PDF.

Then edit these converted PDFs in Microsoft Office (or Google Docs) and export the modified files back into PDF format.

If your PDF document is mostly text, you may use the desktop version of Stanza to convert that PDF into a Word document.

But if the document includes images, charts, tables and other complex formatting, try the online PDF to Word converter from BCL Research or the one from NitroPDF — the former offers instant conversion while the latter service can take up to a day though its yields more accurate results.

3. Edit PDF Metadata (Author, PDF Title, etc.)

If you like to edit the meta-data associated* with a PDF document, check out Becy PDFMetaEdit. It’s a free utility that can help you edit details like the PDF document title, author name, creation data, keywords, etc. of any PDF file.

The tool can also be used for encrypting PDF documents such that only users who know the password can read the contents of your PDF files.

Furthermore, this PDF metadata cum bookmarks editor can be executed from the command line, you can use it to update information in multiple PDF files in a batch.

4. Advanced PDF Editing (Images, text, etc.)

Now that you know the basic tools, let’s look at another set of PDF editors that are again free but can help you do some more advanced editing with PDF documents. This refers to stuff like replacing images on a PDF file, adding signatures, removing blocks of text without breaking the flow of the document, etc.

    • PDF XChange is a free PDF viewer cum editor that you may use for typing text directly on any PDF page. PDF XChange also supports image stamps so you may use the tool for signing a PDF file or for inserting images anywhere on a PDF page.
    • Then you have Inkscape, a free vector drawing tool (like Adobe Illustrator) that can natively import and export PDF content.
    • The next tool in the category of advanced PDF editors is OpenOffice Draw with thePDFImport extension.
    • OpenOffice Draw supports inline editing. So, you can easily fix typos in a PDF document or make formatting related changes like replacing color, increasing or decreasing the text size, replacing the default font-family, etc.

Like Inkscape, the OpenOffice toolbox also includes support for annotations, shapes, images, tables, charts, etc. But here you have more choices and the software also looks less complex.

Converting a PDF to another format

The best format to work with is Microsoft Word, and its .DOC documents. In order to convert and edit PDF files, you will need a PDF to Word Converter program. Many PDF files are password protected specifically to prevent actions like PDF editing. The PDF editors basically interpret the snapshot, which is the PDF file, and convert it into a text file recognizable by Microsoft Word.

This is achieved by using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) or similar technology. Basically, this technology is able to “read” the file and output the text in a Word document. You can also scan a document and run the OCR software to extract the text directly to a Word file.

Although it is fast, it has some drawbacks. To make an almost error free transition between PDF and DOC, you need a very good converter, that can cost lots of money.

But You can easily convert  Pdf files using Zamzar.com

Go to Zamzar.com and click the Browse button next to Step 1 and choose your file. By default,  in Step 2 will be set to DOC format. However, you can choose to convert your PDF to other file types such as TXT, HTML, RTF, etc. Type in your email address for Step 3 and click Convert.

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