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How to edit a PDF

Woman working with laptop computer. Hands working with digital technology. Working in a desk environment. Social distancing between you and other people outside the home.

Nomad Excursion / Moment via Getty Images

Since their inception, PDFs have notoriously been uneditable for 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 the formatting and text looking essentially the same for all.

But sometimes you need to edit or redo a PDF file and don’t have the original file. In any case, it’s good for anyone dealing with this to know the options available to edit a PDF file easily.

How to edit a PDF

There are many websites where you can edit PDF online or through downloadable software. Some claim to offer the service for free, others with a subscription. However, there are ways to edit a PDF without using potentially dangerous sources. Word and Adobe are two safe and widely available resources.

Edit a PDF file in Word

The easiest way to turn a PDF into an editable document is to open it in Word. And since Word is hugely popular as part of Microsoft 365, it’s an option that’s readily available to many.

Step 1: Open Word

Open Word

Step 2: Click Open

Click Open

Click on Open either on the Start screen in Word or by clicking Go file Menu.

Step 3: Select the PDF

Select the PDF file

Select the PDF you want to edit.

Step 4: Edit your PDF

Edit your PDF

Once you’ve selected the PDF to open in Word, it can be edited as a regular Word document. Some formatting may be lost when transferred to Word, so be prepared to reformat a bit.

Good to know that this process also works with Google Docs, by the way.

After editing your document, you can save it back as a Word document or PDF just like any other document.

Edit a PDF file in Adobe

You can also edit a PDF file on Adobe.com using the online tools provided there. This is a trusted option that you can use for free up to twice a month. If you want to use it more often, you need a subscription.

Step 1: Go to Adobe.com

Go to adobe.com

Step 2: Click pdf and select signatures online tools

Click PDF and Signatures select Online Tools

Step 3: Choose Edit PDF

Choose Edit PDF

Once you reach the online tools, you can click All tools and scroll down to find the editing options. You will see that you can really do a lot to edit PDF online: add text and comments, rearrange, delete, rotate and insert pages, and share PDF.

Step 4: Upload and edit PDF


Because this is the free option, editing a PDF on Adobe.com is more limited to annotations and comments, highlighting, and form filling. The latter is very useful for digitally filling out forms that have been delivered as a non-editable PDF.

Upload and edit PDF

As with all of Adobe’s free online tools, without a subscription, you’re limited to only editing two PDFs every 30 days. With the subscription, you can edit the text in the PDF yourself, like Word or Google Sheets do.

frequently asked Questions

Yes. When you open a PDF file through Word or Google Docs, it becomes a regular document where you can edit the text. So if you need to make corrections or add a paragraph or change the formatting, you can use these word processors to do it.

Unfortunately, Pages doesn’t currently support opening PDFs.

With Adobe Acrobat, subscribers can make PDFs editable and enable many other options and features not available to non-subscribers. However, a subscription costs $12.99 per month to access these features.

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