How to Alter a PDF File

by Jack Gorman

PDF files are files created from Adobe Acrobat for the sole purpose of not editing them. Acrobat essentially takes a picture of how the document is supposed to look, such as a resume from Word, and then allows you to send it off in such a way that formatting doesn't get messed up by opening it up in different programs. Without the full version of Acrobat, it is somewhat difficult to edit these files. It can be done, however.


Purchase Adobe Acrobat, Full Version. You can download this from the Adobe website for around $300. There are also a handful of knockoffs that can be had for under $100, but they generally aren't as good.


For a one-time edit, use Kinkos. The stores have computers you can rent for a few cents a minute, and helpful people to walk you through the edit. Email it to yourself and go to Kinkos to download the file to that computer's desktop. Double-click on the file to open it up, and you'll have editing privileges there. When done, save it and email it back to yourself before you leave.


Find a scanner, if you don't have one. Scan in the document or picture to your computer.


If your document is a picture, save it to your desktop as a JPG or BMP. You can then open it up in Microsoft Paint, which is a piece of software that comes with virtually all Windows-based computers. Click on "Start," then "Accessories" and "Paint." Load the document from the file menu.


If your document is a picture, set your scanner to import it as a Word or Excel document. The way to do this varies widely based on your scanner. Though if you check the menu under the Start button you should find some scanning software there that came with the scanner. You will probably have to completely reformat the text, or perhaps copy and paste what you need into a new document.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jack Gorman has been involved in many different areas in his professional career. He resides in the Washington DC area, though he consults with organizations nationwide. His specialties include film and video production, sports management, writing, graphic web design, marketing, communications, operations, human resources and photography.

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