How to Edit Text in PDF Files

By Cooper Temple

Updated September 28, 2017

You may edit text in PDF files using a PDF writing program.
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Portable Document Format (PDF) files are a conversion format used to change printable electronic material into a document that may be viewed by anyone with a PDF reading program. The format is popular in both business and personal environments, because users do not need to have a common source program to view the documents. The text in PDF files may be difficult to edit without the original document, unless you have a PDF writing program. You can edit the test in PDF files, using the right application, by following a few steps.

Use a Free PDF Writing Program

Download and open a free PDF writing program. Although there are a variety of free PDF writing programs available, not all will have the features necessary to edit the text in a PDF file. Be sure that the program you choose has a feature to replace text. PDFill, which has the features necessary to edit PDF text, is used in the following steps. PDFill may be downloaded from the PDFill web site (see "Resources" section for link).

Open the PDF file that contains the text that you want to edit. Click once on the “Open new PDF file project” option in the “File” drop-down menu. Locate the folder in which the PDF file is saved using the “Look in” menu. Highlight the PDF file name and click once on the “Open” button.

Click once on the “Insert” drop down menu and select the “Whiteout” option. The cursor will turn into a plus sign. Click once near the top of a section of text that you want to edit and drag over it while holding down the mouse button. When you release the mouse button, a “Properties” pop up window will generate.

While the “Whiteout” color will automatically be set to white, you may change it by clicking on the “Change Color” button near the “Whiteout” box on the “Properties” window. You may change other features of the “Whiteout” box using the available features in the “Properties” box. When you have finished editing the options, click once on the “”OK” button. The original text will be covered, and a text box will appear over it.

Type new text into the text box. The font, font size and other font properties may be changed using the options on the “Format” toolbar. To access the “Properties” box from step 3, click once on the text box and select the “Current Object’s Properties” option under the “Format” menu.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each area of text that you want to edit. Remember to periodically save the edits to the PDF using the “Save” option under the “File” menu. The sizes of “Whiteout” and “Text” boxes may be adjusted. Select a box, click once on the one of the small circles on the borders and drag while holding down the mouse button.

Use a Commercial PDF Writing Program

Download and open a commercial PDF writing program. Although there are a variety of commercial PDF writing programs available, not all will have the features necessary to edit the text in a PDF file. Be sure that the program you choose has a feature to replace text.

Adobe Acrobat Pro, which has the features necessary to edit PDF text, is used in the following steps. A free trial of Acrobat Pro may be downloaded from the Adobe web site (see Resources section). Please note that the same process will work with Acrobat Pro and Pro Extended.

Open the PDF file that contains the text that you want to edit. Click once on the “Open” option in the “File” drop down menu. Locate the folder in which the PDF file is saved using the “Look in” menu. Highlight the PDF file name and click once on the “Open” button.

Click once on the “Tools” drop down menu, once on the “Comment & Markup” option and select “Text Box Tool.” The cursor will turn into a plus sign. Click once near the top of a section of text that you want to edit and drag over it while holding down the mouse button.

When you release the mouse button, a “Properties” pop up window will generate. Use the option in the “Properties” window to change the “Border” and “Fill” to match the background color of the PDF file. When you have finished editing the options, click once on the “”OK” button. The original text will be covered, and a text box will appear over it.

Click once on the “Tools” drop down menu, once on the “Comment & Markup” option and select “Text Box Tool.” The cursor will turn into a plus sign. Click once near the top of a section of text that you want to edit and drag over it while holding down the mouse button. When you release the mouse button, a “Properties” pop up window will generate.

Use the option in the “Properties” window to change the “Border” and “Fill” to match the background color of the PDF file. When you have finished editing the options, click once on the “”OK” button. The original text will be covered, and a text box will appear over it.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each area of text that you want to edit. Remember to periodically save the edits to the PDF using the “Save” option under the “File” menu. The sizes of text boxes may be adjusted. Select a box, click once on the one of the small circles on the borders and drag while holding down the mouse button.

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