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How to Edit a PDF Document: 5 Simple Tips for Success

June 15, 1993 was a milestone year for Adobe, and the rest of the world. Why?

You might think that Photoshop or Illustrator or even InDesign was Adobe’s best and most profitable application. It might surprise you that the humble PDF became the backbone of digital document transfers for business, as well as a standard format for the print/pre-press industry.

Forged in the fires of the late 1980s and early 1990s publishing software wars, Adobe Acrobat became one of Adobe’s best selling products. Adobe Acrobat and Distiller as a pair outperformed even Photoshop and Illustrator for a time. It’s one of the things that helped Adobe to become the $94 billion giant it is today.

PDFs are lauded for their utility, and ease of use, but it isn’t always easy to edit one.

So, how can you do it easily? We’re going to outline 7 tips for how to edit a PDF document like a pro. Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

The Tips and Tricks You Need

Before moving on, we should mention that Mac or PC doesn’t really matter a whole lot anymore. Especially when it comes to most tools used for things like editing PDFs. The reason is that many of these tools are online tools, without need for an app at all beyond your browser.

This also opens it up to phones and tablets, beyond the traditional laptop or desktop.

Cloud storage and cloud apps have made our lives a heck of a lot easier, it’s true. However, what if you don’t have access to the internet for one reason or another? We’ll cover that too.

First tip incoming!

1. Sticking With the Original

Of course, it’s obvious to say that you can always stick with the original app to edit your PDF, Adobe Acrobat. If you so choose this method, be aware that the tools are quite limited unless you want to pay a subscription.


2. Web Apps for the Win

There are so many different websites that offer PDF editing that it’s fairly pointless to suggest one as being the “best”. We recommend using one that looks reputable and has a lot of good reviews.

Downloading a file from an unknown website can bring you a lot of trouble. Make sure to vet it before you upload or download your files.

We cannot stress enough, however, that you must be careful about downloading files from an unknown source. These days even if you get the file you expect and believe everything is going well, there could be hidden malware, keystroke loggers, or ransomware waiting to be triggered.

The bonus? It isn’t device-specific. You could also make most changes on your mobile devices.

3. Chrome Browser’s PDF Viewer

Google Docs is a different kind of web app. While Google Docs is super convenient and useful from the start, things like Grammarly can be added as an extension for free. Usually, those add-ons or extensions have premium versions that will extend the capabilities even further.

This is the case with Lumin PDF or other similar add-ons. Once Lumin is registered to your Google account to access your files, the Chrome browser’s built-in PDF viewer will give an option at the top to “Open With.”

If you click the dropdown, you can click the plus and search for Lumin, or another PDF editing app of your choice. With these apps you can add, rotate, and do a lot of other handy features for free. You’ll have to pay a small fee to go premium, or join their SaaS program, to make subtractive edits to the file.

The handy thing with this method is that it autosaves and you can generally trust most things from Google not to give you a virus or enable some kind of ransomware. Integration to Google Drive is a big plus, as the file doesn’t have to be directly on your device.

However, since Chrome has a built-in PDF browser, the file doesn’t necessarily have to be in the cloud to access extensions like Lumin.

4. Microsoft Word – Offline Hero

So far we have discussed one other offline option, Adobe Acrobat. That app assumes that you have a PDF from the start. A great point of the Acrobat app is that you can convert something into a .doc format, or even into a .jpg.

You might not have realized that Microsoft word can do something very similar, as well as turn a text document into a PDF. What happens when you load a PDF into a text editor?

Using Microsoft Word you get a popup that says “Word will convert your PDF into an editable Word document.” Quite handy, since anything you can do on a word document, you can do in a PDF, including hyperlinks, signatures and most other tasks.

There’s one catch: Since you are converting a PDF into a Word doc, not all things (images especially) will convert exactly as you may have intended them. When you make the .doc file from Word into a PDF, there may also be some issues with formatting.

5. OS Stores Unite

Mac users and Windows users both have their own App stores. Some apps to edit PDF files are available there as well. They may even be the same apps you saw in section 3!

However, the best tools to edit PDFs are always going to be professional tools like Illustrator, InDesign, Affinity Designer and Publisher, and Acrobat. While some apps will be a SaaS payment system, some like the Affinity products and some one-off apps will be a one-time payment.

The bonus that Mac gets over Windows? Mac has Bootcamp, which allows you to boot windows applications inside of a virtual machine. If you have files in the cloud, you can easily use either OS to create or edit PDFs and exchange the file over the web.

How to Edit a PDF Document: Now You Know

So, how to edit a pdf document? We covered online and offline options to get you working past those pesky PDF errors. It’s easy if you have the original document the PDF was made from at the start, but we aren’t always so lucky, are we?

Editing PDFs has become an essential skill in the daily office worker’s repertoire. However, every skill usually requires a good tool to go along with it. Make sure you get the one to suit your needs!

Not all of the tools we mentioned are OS or device-specific, so you always have an option.

Did you enjoy these tips? We thought so! Keep reading our other tech articles for more tips!

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