How to Edit a PDF: A Comprehensive Guide 2023

Learn how to edit a PDF easily in different situations. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to edit, convert, annotate, review, and secure PDF files.

How to Edit a PDF: The Complete Beginner's Guide

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to edit a PDF but didn’t know how? Sure, you can take it to an expert, but that would cost you time and energy that could be used elsewhere. Besides, having a personal PDF skillset can be valuable for your career, as well! If you want to learn how to edit PDFs yourself without having to rely on someone else, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to easily edit a PDF. We’ll cover everything from the basics of PDF editing options to the more advanced techniques used by professionals. Let’s get started!

Type of PDF Editors

PDF editors are a great way to make changes to your documents without having to re-type the whole thing. There are many types of PDF editors out there, and each one offers something a little bit different. Some offer basic editing tools for a simple PDF form, while others are more advanced, offering features such as text editing, image editing, and even the ability to create interactive PDF forms.

Comparison of free vs paid PDF editors

When deciding whether or not to go with a free PDF editor, think about your needs.

Varied access to tools: If you’re just looking for a few simple changes, you might be able to get away with a free PDF editor. But if you want access to advanced PDF editing tools, you’ll have to opt for a premium tool. Kdan’s PDF Reader is a great premium PDF editor with advanced editing capabilities. So if you need to make lots of changes on the content and layout, a premium editor is the way to go.

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Major difference in tech support capabilities: Getting a free PDF editor may sound like a sweet deal. There’s a difference between using a free standalone product and the basic version of a paid PDF editor with a couple of online tools. Free standalone products might cause you to experience compatibility problems, poor customer service, and even security worries. On the other hand, premium PDF editing software tends to come with prompt technical support when something goes wrong.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for: if you’re shopping around for a PDF editor, there are more factors to take into account than just the cost. You’ll want to think about what you need to do with your documents, how many people will be using it, and how often it will be used. Free PDF editors are great if you have a tight budget or you don’t need all the bells and whistles. For those handling different document types or sensitive data, utilizing a paid PDF editor can enhance productivity.

How to Edit Texts in a PDF

Whether you are trying to make changes to an existing PDF or creating a new one from scratch, having the ability to edit text in a PDF is a must.

How to edit text in a PDF, including adding and deleting text

With an advanced PDF editor like Kdan PDF Reader, you can edit the text in a PDF directly, just like you do in Microsoft Word. All you need to do is click where you want to add text into the PDF content – you’ll know you can when you see the text cursor. Select text by dragging and click backspace/delete to remove it. You can also use the editing tools (e.g. bold, font size, etc.) to change its appearance. If you know how to use Microsoft Word, you’re already prepared to make changes to PDFs – and not just the fillable fields!

Adding text to a PDF is a simple and effective way to enhance your documents. You can easily add new texts to a PDF document with PDF Reader with a few simple steps:

  1. Open the PDF file and select the “Add Text” tool from the edit toolbar. 
  2. Click on the desired area of the document where you want to insert text, and a text box will appear. 
  3. Type in your text, adjusting the font, size, and color with the format tools. You can also reposition and resize the text box to fit your requirements. 
  4. Once you’re satisfied, save the modified PDF file, and your new text will be seamlessly integrated into the document. 

Adding text to a PDF allows you to annotate, highlight important points, or make necessary changes, making it an invaluable tool for various professional and personal purposes.

Edit and change original text in PDF

How to edit a PDF on Android

Modifying a PDF on your Android device is a practical way to make alterations to your documents while on the move. To edit a PDF on Android, begin by installing a dependable PDF editor application from the Google Play Store. Once the app is installed, launch it and choose the PDF file you want to edit from either your device’s internal storage or cloud storage platforms. 

The app will offer a range of editing tools, including text editing, highlighting, annotating, and inserting images. Simply select the appropriate tool to make the desired changes, and remember to save the edited PDF to preserve your modifications. If you’re looking for app recommendations, you can try PDF Reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Xodo PDF Reader & Editor, or PDFelement.

How to edit a PDF on iOS

To modify a PDF on iOS and ensure seamless compatibility across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, follow these simple steps. Firstly, download a reliable PDF editing application from the App Store. Import the PDF file from your device or cloud storage and utilize the provided editing tools to make the desired modifications. To synchronize your PDF files across devices, employ a cloud service like iCloud. This feature enables you to access the updated PDF on any iOS device, offering convenience and flexibility when working on the same document. If you’re looking for app recommendations, you can consider apps such as PDF Reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader, PDF Expert, or GoodNotes.

How do I edit a PDF for free on Mac?

To writing PDFs on Mac for free, you can open the file on your device that has a PDF viewer capability. Mobile devices such as phones and tablets also have the ability to view PDFs.

For example the default file Preview app on Mac comes with basic annotation and editing features. Here are the steps to editing PDFs on Mac.

  1. To open a PDF in Preview, double-click it.
  2. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button
Mac Preview Annotation Tools
  1. Choose the right tool for you.
  2. You can add text, strikethrough, highlight, add notes, etc. 
  3. Or, if you want to delete something, you can hide it behind a rectangle.
Mac Preview Redact Content

However, if you need to edit text in a PDF, add or edit images, or format page layout, a paid PDF editor helps you get work done quickly.

Adding and Editing Images in a PDF

How to add an image to a PDF

Adding images to a PDF is actually quite simple as long as you have a PDF editor. Most free or online PDF editors are great for viewing and commenting on PDFs, but don’t have the powerful tools to add images.

With Kdan PDF Reader, for example, you can use multiple methods to insert images from the image source in JPG, PNG or GIF format. While HEIC images are not directly supported, you can easily use HEIC to JPG converter to convert in JPG format and then insert them into your PDF. After inserting the image, you can move and rotate image position, change image size, and crop it. You can even add watermarks, logos, and other photos to your PDFs.

Add image to PDF

Just pick the spot in your document where you want the image to go. Click the Image button on the top menu bar, then choose from the image source. A new window will appear where you can select the image you want to insert. You can now place the image at your desired place just like you would in Microsoft Word.

You can also add an image to your PDF with the drag-and-drop method and drag the image file right into the PDF. If your image is in a Word document, you can copy it and paste it into the PDF. This is a really convenient method because copy-paste is an easy and intuitive process on both Mac and Windows.

How to edit images in a PDF

If you ever need to modify images within a PDF, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start by opening the PDF file.
  2. Click the “Edit Text” option on the toolbar to access PDF editing.
  3. While in editing mode, the PDF Reader will automatically detect editable image areas.
  4. Identify the image you wish to replace and pick a new one from your image source.
  5. Easily adjust the image size, change its position by rotating, or crop it as needed.
  6. To extract images from the PDF and save them separately, use the “share” button and save as PNG or JPG format.
Edit image in a pdf

Converting PDFs to Word Documents 

You’ve probably come across a PDF you needed to be a Word document or maybe the other way around. PDF editors can do that for you!

To convert a PDF into a word document, make sure the file is saved on your device. Upload it into your PDF editor and choose Convert from the menu options. There are multiple formats you can convert the file to. Be sure to choose Word and start file conversion, and you will get the Word document in editable formats.

Converting PDFs to Word Documents

Follow these same steps for Word files you want to convert to a PDF. Another thing you can do is download the Word file as a PDF right from the software you’re using to type your document.

Understanding the limitations of PDF to Word conversion

While a PDF converter may seem like a convenient solution, it doesn’t always address all your PDF-related challenges. The primary concern lies in the performance of most free PDF converters, which often fall short. Preserving the original layout of a PDF can be particularly challenging because PDFs are essentially created by printing images onto blank pages. Unlike other file formats like documents or presentations, there are no standardized rules for object placement within a PDF. This makes the process of converting PDFs to other formats quite intriguing, to say the least.

At Kdan, we have dedicated ourselves to tackling this issue by developing a top-notch PDF editor that aims to provide the best solution possible. With Kdan PDF Reader, you have the convenience of converting PDFs to Microsoft Office Documents effortlessly. This feature allows you to transform a PDF file into an editable Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document, enabling you to make necessary changes, collaborate with others, and maintain the integrity of your content. Whether you need to modify text, update tables, or refine presentations, PDF Reader simplifies the process, making it an invaluable tool for professionals in various industries.

Merging and Splitting PDFs

Sometimes you have two PDFs you want to combine or you only need a few pages out of a file. If this is the case, you need to merge PDF files or split the PDF document.

Merge PDF files

If you have a DOC file and you want to move some of its content to another document, all you have to do is cut-and-paste. With PDFs though, it’s a bit different. Unless you have a PDF editing program, you won’t be able to add a new page. Copying text from one PDF file to another can also be tricky, especially if the PDF is a scan of a paper document.

PDF Reader enables you to bring multiple PDFs together. Get started by selecting the documents you want to merge. Once your documents are added, make sure they are in the desired order. You can rearrange the page order by clicking and moving them around in the queue. When everything looks good, click Combine and the system will create your new PDF for you to download.

If you need to combine more than 10 PDF files, use the same steps. Upload the combined PDF you just made with the rest of the files you want to add and click Combine again. You can do this as many times as you need, merging PDFs until you have the document you want,

Splitting a single PDF into multiple documents

If you’re using a certain browser like Safari or Chrome, you can split up your PDF pages with the free print option. Just right-click the file and pick “Open with,” then choose a browser. You may need to make sure your browser has a PDF viewer or plugin. Hit the print icon in the PDF viewer window. Then, instead of selecting a printer, choose “Save as PDF” in the destination drop-down. Pick “Custom” in the pages section. Type in the pages you want to save separated by commas or you can enter a range (i.e. 2,4-6,9). Remember to rename and save your file.

Split PDF files

You can also use an advanced PDF editor for splitting PDFs. Upload your PDF into the editor and delete the pages you don’t need. You can right click then select delete or do a batch edit. With batch editing, you can delete multiple pages at once.

How to reduce PDF size

If your PDF file size is too large, there are several things you can do to the original file to make it smaller. 

The first thing you can do is compress the PDF. Powerful PDF tools can apply various compression algorithms to reduce the file size without significantly affecting the quality of the document. 

Compress PDF size

If your PDF file contains high-resolution images, reducing their resolution can significantly decrease the file size. You can use image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or online tools to resize the images before re-saving the PDF. In a similar vein, trimming unnecessary content such as blank pages or unnecessary images can help reduce the file size. 

When saving a PDF, most software offers options to optimize the file size. Look for settings like “Optimize PDF” or “Reduce File Size” in your PDF software, and experiment with different options to find the best balance between file size and quality.

Finally, large PDFs can be split into smaller files. Smaller files usually have a reduced size, which can be beneficial if you only need to share or work with specific sections of the document. As discussed previously, splitting PDFs can be done in-browser or with an edit PDF tool. If you want to do it directly in the browser, although many prefer Google Chrome, consider browsers other than Google as there might be a better option for your needs.

Remember to always keep a backup of your original file as you edit PDF files. Saving a backup before applying any compression or modification methods means that if anything goes wrong, you still have a copy of the original file to work with.

Adding bookmarks for easier navigation

PDF documents can often be quite long, especially if they’re academic documents. This can be a bit overwhelming for readers, so it’s good to add bookmarks to your PDF to mark important sections. You can easily go back to where you left off if you need to take a break.

It’s much like a physical book – you need a bookmark to keep your place while you’re away. That’s why bookmarks are so important in PDF documents – they’re especially useful in the digital age, when everyone’s reading e-books!

Here’s how to add PDF bookmarks:

  1. Open the file in your PDF editor. 
  2. Select Tools > Edit PDF > More > Add Bookmark. 
  3. In the bookmarks panel, type or edit the name of the new bookmark.

    That’s it! To view your bookmarks, click the Bookmark icon and choose where you want to jump to.

Annotation, Review and Commenting Tools

One of the most useful features of a PDF is the ability to annotate and comment directly on the text. How to annotate a PDF varies slightly based on your PDF software, but here’s how it’s generally done.

PDF annotation refers to the process of adding comments, notes, and annotations to a PDF document. It allows you to provide feedback, make suggestions, or highlight important information within the document. You can make notes in the margins of the file for personal or professional reference, or utilize the highlight tool to identify important points. This makes it easier to collaborate when multiple parties have access to the document– it’s a way to make sure that everybody is on the same page.

Annotate PDF

Annotating PDFs

PDF annotation can be done using various tools and features available in PDF readers or editing software.

Common tools for PDF annotation include:

  • Annotate Tools: This simple tool enables you to draw, highlight, underline, or strike through specific text or sections of the PDF. It is typically found in its own toolbar or menu of your PDF software.
  • Markup Tools: These freehand drawing tools provide options for adding shapes, lines, arrows, or symbols to the PDF, making it easier to emphasize or illustrate specific points.
  • Sticky Notes: You can add virtual sticky notes to the PDF, similar to physical sticky notes, to leave comments or add extra notes to provide additional information.
  • Note Color: Some PDF software allows you to change the color of the annotations or sticky notes, making it convenient to differentiate between different types of comments or users.

If the markup or editing toolbars aren’t immediately visible, you may need to turn them on in your PDF software’s “View” menu. 

One of the most important things to know how to do when annotating a PDF is typing directly on the document. A good PDF reader should give you the option to create a new text box that allows you to directly input information. Once you’ve created a text box, you can type whatever you want. This is a way to directly create notes for the margins of your document.

Adding text comments

Another way to type on a PDF and add comments to PDF files is through the “Edit” or “Text” tool in the toolbar or menu. When you select this tool and click the area of the PDF where you want to add text, a text box or cursor will appear. You can then enter editable text, including comments, bullet-point lists, and other notes. 

Then, use the editing bar or format options to customize the text’s font, size, alignment, and other properties. You want your text to be small enough to fit in the document’s margins, but not so small that it’s illegible. Make sure to save any comments to PDF files after you’re done typing; PDF editors don’t always auto-save. 

However, if there isn’t enough blank space on your PDF for a typed note, a digital sticky note is preferable. This won’t obscure any of the information in the PDF, and it’s still easy to read.

Highlighting PDFs

Another important PDF annotation feature is highlighting. This lets you save the most important information in the PDF to return to later. To highlight important text in a PDF document, you can use the highlighter tool provided by most PDF readers or editors. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the PDF document in your preferred PDF reader or editor.
  2. Select the highlighter tool from the toolbar or menu.
  3. Drag the cursor over the text you want to highlight, or click and drag to select a specific area.
Highlight PDF

The selected text will be highlighted with a color chosen by the tool. You can usually customize the highlight color using the color palette or settings within the tool. Make sure to pick a color that stands out from the PDF’s background colors.

Reviewing and commenting

The review and commenting tools in your PDF editor allow multiple people to collaborate and provide feedback on a shared PDF document. PDF commenting is a powerful way to collaborate within a business– you’re able to work on the same file and see each others’ comments and concerns in real time, allowing you to make changes efficiently. 

Here is how to effectively leverage these tools for your PDF collaboration needs.

  1. Open the PDF document in a PDF reader or editor that supports collaboration features.
  2. Locate the review or commenting toolbar or menu. It may include options such as “Review,” “Comments,” or “Collaborate.”
  3. Use the available tools to add comments, notes, or annotations to the PDF. These could include highlighting, underlining, strikethrough, or adding sticky notes.
  4. Save the annotated PDF and share it with others via email, cloud storage, or file-sharing platforms.

When others open the PDF, they can view the comments and annotations, and also add their own feedback using the same review and commenting tools. Users can reply to comments, resolve issues, or discuss changes within the comments section of the PDF.

Writing directly on PDF

Another method of adding comments and information to a PDF is writing on it directly. This works best if you have a touch-screen or stylus pen input device. If you’re using a stylus pen, ensure it is compatible with your device and PDF software. Once you’ve opened the PDF in a PDF reader that supports writing on PDFs, here’s what to do:

  1. Select the “Draw” or “Pen” tool from the toolbar or menu.
  2. Choose the color and thickness of the pen or marker.
  3. Use your mouse or stylus to write directly on the PDF document.
  4. Use the eraser tool to correct or remove any mistakes.
  5. Save the changes to the PDF document and share it with the appropriate parties if necessary.

Writing directly on a PDF with drawing tools can be a quicker way to highlight features than the markup tool. Instead of selecting an arrow, setting the points, and making sure it’s the right thickness and size, you can simply draw an arrow with the stroke of a fingertip or stylus to point to the feature. If you have to annotate a large PDF file quickly, drawing or writing directly on it may be a preferable option.

Adding signatures

You can also add a signature to a PDF. This is common for contracts, leases, and other documents that need a signature for legal recognition. There are several ways to add a signature to a PDF. If you’re using PDF Reader from Kdan Mobile, it couldn’t be more simple. Simply select the Signature tool and then follow the instructions for Mac or PC.

Add signature to a PDF

To add a signature to a PDF on Mac using PDF Reader, click on the signature option on your annotation menu bar. This will give you access to your signature library. Or, you can simply right-click on the place where a signature needs to be added. 

Once you’ve chosen where to add a signature, you can either use an existing signature style or create a new one by signing your trackpad, typing your name, or importing a photo of your signature. The signature will appear on the digital document and can be dragged and resized at will. When you click sign, the signature will attach, and you can send the signed document. 

For Windows, the steps are very similar. You will open your PDF and click the signature tool on the menu bar. You will have an option to select an existing signature or create a new one. You can sign PDF documents with your mouse, stylus, trackpad, or even your finger if your Windows computer supports a touch screen. You can resize and drag the signature wherever it needs to go, and then click sign to attach it to the document. 

Securing and Protecting PDFs

Another advantage of PDF is that they can be easily secured and protected. There are two primary ways to do this: Password protection and encryption. PDFs with passwords are becoming increasingly commonplace as cybersecurity is highly emphasized; make sure your files are protected, too!

Adding password to PDF

Adding password protection to a PDF document is a crucial step to enhance its security and restrict unauthorized access. Password protection ensures that only individuals with the correct password can open and view the document. It can also provide additional options for restricting actions such as printing, copying, or modifying the PDF. Most PDF readers and editors offer the ability to add passwords to PDF documents. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open the PDF document in a PDF reader or editor software that supports password protection.
  2. Look for the “Security” or “Protect” option in the toolbar or menu. It may also be listed under the “File” or “Document” options.
  3. Choose the option to “Add Password” or “Encrypt Document” to set up the password protection.
  4. A dialog box will appear, prompting you to enter a password for opening the PDF (also known as the userpassword). Enter a strong, unique password that you can remember, but others cannot easily guess.
  5. If available, you may also have the option to set permissions for actions like printing, copying, or modifying the document. Configure the permissions according to your requirements.
  6. Save the password-protected PDF document, preferably with a different filename to differentiate it from the original file.

These steps will allow you to add password protection to your edited file.

Add protection to PDF files

PDF encryption

If you need even more security, you can encrypt your PDF before file sharing. PDF encryption is a powerful security feature that essentially scrambles the contents of your document. This makes it virtually impossible for unauthorized individuals to access without the correct decryption key. It is an extra layer of security on top of password protection; while a hacker may be able to crack a password, decryption keys are much harder to create. Here’s how you can encrypt a PDF document:

  1. Open the PDF document in a PDF reader or editor software that supports encryption.
  2. Look for the “Security” or “Protect” option in the toolbar or menu.
  3. Choose the option to “Encrypt Document” or “Apply Encryption” to set up encryption.
  4. Select the encryption method and strength. AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is commonly used and offers strong encryption algorithms.
  5. Enter a strong encryption password to protect the document. This password, also called the owner password, is different from the password used for opening the document. Make sure to use a strong password that is difficult to guess or crack. Don’t share this password with anyone– unlike the password used in password protection, this is not necessary to open the PDF. 
  6. Save the encrypted PDF document, preferably with a different filename to differentiate it from the original file.

By applying password protection and encryption to a PDF document, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and modification. Password protection ensures that only individuals with the correct password can open the document, while encryption adds an extra layer of security by encoding the content. This makes PDF one of the safest file formats you can use for business, because it’s so easily protected. 

To reduce the risk of unauthorized access and modification even further, make sure to choose strong passwords and keep them secure. A trustworthy password manager can be very helpful for this. Avoid sharing sensitive PDFs through public file-sharing platforms or as unencrypted email attachments. To remove password from PDF, obtaining the password and a reliable PDF reader app is required to decrypt the PDF file.

You should also regularly update your PDF reading and editing software. Software updates often include security patches and improvements, ensuring that your documents remain protected. To edit a secured PDF, use an advanced PDF editor app to decrypt the PDF file first. 


You now know all of the major techniques involved in editing a PDF. PDFs are a common file type used in all sorts of applications, and knowing how to edit them, convert them, add images, and manipulate the files makes them even more useful for your work or study. 

As you may have realized, a huge part of your ability to edit PDF files comes from the tools you use. If you want software that supports all of your PDF editing needs, you should try Kdan PDF Reader. Our user-friendly PDF solution will make it easy to annotate, comment, sign, and protect your files, all while helping keep your files organized and let you read them anywhere. 

Knowing how to edit a PDF unlocks the potential of this file type. PDF editing is a crucial part of many business and scholarly interactions. We hope that this comprehensive guide will help you with all of your PDF editing needs.

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