PDF documents are extremely practical for documents, e-books, reports, manuals and much more digital reading. It doesn't matter which device you open it on, they are always shown in the same readable method. But editing PDF files… what a mess that is. However? Fortunately, there are practical online tools that make everything possible for PDF files. No installation and user-friendly. We explain the possibilities of editing PDFs!
1 Always read and print
Say pdf and everyone will know what you mean. PDF is therefore the absolute standard for exchanging documents. That's exactly where pdf gets its name from, the abbreviation stands for Portable Document Format. Its main advantage is that – regardless of the program you use to open the PDF, the type of device you are viewing it on, or the program it was created with – the document is always readable and looks the same.
2 The Disadvantages
PDF also has drawbacks. Free PDF software often lets you only view a PDF, and creating or modifying a PDF requires a lot of money. While what we want to do with a PDF document is often very basic: rotate a page, delete a page, make the document smaller and so on. Fortunately, there is now a small revolution going on online: no expensive software, you can edit a PDF online for free.
A document like the Holy Grail
The bright minds who worked at Adobe in the early 1990s developing the PDF format named their project "Camelot" after the castle of the mythical King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Like King Arthur and his knights, the developers also faced a major challenge, looking for something magical to overcome the evil. They were looking for – while all software packages at that time anxiously stuck to their own file format – a way to easily and universally share the output of a program. And that became PDF, the Portable Document Format introduced by Adobe in 1991.
3 What can you do with a PDF?
Can you edit a PDF? Yes it is possible and if you know that it is possible, you will do it more and more often. These are a few operations that are very useful: delete unnecessary pages, rotate pages, change the order of pages, extract or add text from a PDF, delete or add an image, fill in a PDF that is in the form of a form but not created that way. And have you ever secured a PDF yourself but can't remember the password? Then of course you also want to be able to open it again.
4 The tool
There are websites where you can upload, edit and save (download) a PDF. Such sites are quite numerous, but of different quality. Some can be used endlessly, others limit you to a few documents per day or irritate you with a lot of advertising. We mention a few recommendations. Sedja, PDFescape, PDF2Go, FormSwift, PDFfiller, PDF Pro, PDFzorro, iLovePDF. We will mainly work with PDFzorro and Sedja here.
5 Open PDF
Opening a PDF is identical on almost all these sites and services. click on Upload PDF or PDFTo open. Then click To leaf through and select the PDF document you want to edit. then click To open. Many of the sites also offer the option to load the PDF via drag and drop. Then part of the web page is often surrounded by a dotted line and the note that you can drop the files here. Then open the File Explorer (Windows key+E), select the PDF file and drag it with the mouse to the drop area on the web page and release it there.
Protecting Privacy and Content
Uploading PDF files is a privacy and property risk. After all, every PDF comes into the possession of the website and you don't know what they do with it. Be aware of this risk and do not upload private matters. Look on the site for a privacy statement with an explanation of how they handle your documents. It is also useful to know who you are dealing with. Is it an American provider on an American server or is the service subject to stricter European regulations? If what you read does not match what you find acceptable, look for another service or turn to a paid offline PDF product such as Adobe Acrobat, PDF Nitro or Foxit PDF.
6 Rotate Pages
A problem with many PDF documents is that pages are rotated on the screen. After opening the PDF, almost every PDF editor shows thumbnails of the pages. Sometimes every page already has an option to rotate the page, sometimes you can select multiple pages and then rotate them in one go. PDFzorro offers an option with every page Rotate and in the toolbar above the thumbnails an option Rotate All. At Sejda you choose Tools / PDF Rotate and then load the PDF. You will now see all thumbnails. With each page you can choose the correct mode with one or a few clicks. When it's done, click Applychanges.
7 Delete pages
If a PDF contains pages that you would rather not send or that contain advertising, for example, you can remove those pages from the PDF. First open the PDF in the website or, in the case of Sedja, choose Tools / Delete Pages. Now select the pages you want to delete from the PDF and click on the trash can icon or press delete. You can do it page by page, but you can also select multiple pages first and then delete them.
8 Extract Pages
If you want to extract some pages from a PDF document and merge them into a new PDF, you can. At Sedja you choose Tools / Extract pages, Bee PDFzorro click on Select page(s) to extract. Then click on the pages you want to save separately and then choose Extract page(s). If there are a lot of pages, you can still click at the top of the image or click here to select pages by counts and then list the pages you want to extract in a small text box. Separate individual pages with a comma, for a series type the lowest and highest page number with a dash in between.
9 Move pages
Moving pages within a PDF document is also easily arranged online. Open the document and go to the thumbnails. At Sedja you choose Tools / Combine and reorder, after which you can drag the pages within the document. For example, with PDF Pro choose edit / Reorder pages after which you can also easily drag the pages with this tool. Whichever PDF service you use, it doesn't make much difference and it's always easy to find the functionality you're looking for.
10 Add content
In addition to deleting or moving things, you can also add text and comments to a PDF. Handy if you later share it with others. Open the PDF and then choose PDF Pro edit / Edit PDF. In Sejda it is Tools / To process and with PDFzoro you first select the page and then you can add shapes and mark selections via the new toolbar. To add a text click on write and then in the document where you want to add the text. In the small editing window you can choose a color and alignment, among other things.
11 Save and Download
When you're done editing the PDF, you'll need to save your changes. There is often a save function for this. After that, you naturally want the modified PDF document back on your own PC. For this click on Finish, Download or a function similar to it. Sejda offers after every click on Apply changes the option to download the document. Some sites keep the documents. For example PDFPro keeps the documents online. If you want to remove them, click on MyFiles and select the PDFs you want to delete and select deletetraffic jam.
12 Remove security
If you have previously password protected a PDF and have lost that password, you can delete it online. This doesn't always work, but often it does. To do this, go to www.ilovepdf.com and click unlockPDF. Upload the protected PDF and wait for the site to remove the protection. You can then download and edit the document again. Only do this with your own documents, not with documents of others that have been protected with good reason.
13 OneDrive and Google Drive
Just as PDF first competed against all other programs with their own formats, all those other programs later started fighting PDF when Adobe became too important. And of course this is especially true for other giants such as Google and Microsoft. For example, if you have a PDF on OneDrive or Google Drive, you can also edit it there, directly in the browser. At Google, right click on the PDF and choose To openof / googleDocuments. If you're using OneDrive, right-click on the file and choose Open in Word Online. In both cases, the document is now converted to text and images via OCR, while retaining as many formatting characteristics as possible.
14 Clear difference
If you only want to extract the text from a PDF, the online tools from Google and Microsoft are very suitable for this. Once opened, you can simply select parts of the text with the mouse and copy it to the clipboard via Ctrl+C and then paste it elsewhere with Ctrl+V. If you want more than that, for example really editing the document and adding text or replacing parts, it's better to use OneDrive than Google Drive. The conversion is clearly much better at Microsoft than at Google. Word Online retains much more formatting than Google Docs.
Offline in Word
Even when you're not online, you can edit PDF documents without having to buy or use a real PDF program right away. Also the offline version of Word, which is available on almost every computer, can open, edit and save PDF documents since many versions. To open a PDF, choose File / To open / To leaf through. Select the PDF file and choose To open. After some time, the conversion is finished and Word will open the document just like any other file. All options to edit the content are there. If you want to save it afterwards, choose File / Saveif and select the format PDF (*.pdf) and click Save.
15 Secretly the best even better
Although no online editor is better than others and you often have to shop at another site for certain features, PDFzorro is secretly our favorite. A bit basic in appearance but packed with functionality. Thomas Mühlbauer, creator of PDFzorro recently created a second online PDF editor and it is fully optimized for use in Google Chrome. The site offers all the tools, a better converter and is again free. Only at the top and bottom of the screen is a row of small Google Adds, which you just have to ignore. Furthermore, there is little to criticize on www.chromepdf.com, we will test it further!