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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    How to edit text in a PDF file?
    I have a large PDF file (2000 some odd pages) of transcriptions that needs to be edited. THere are many spelling mistakes etc that i want to fix as i go through but i cant figure out how to edit the text i.e delete and retype, with Acrobat Pro or Preview or anything else. I downloaded 2 PDF editing apps but Iam having the same problem with them. They say they have editing capacity but only seems like you can insert corrections in floating windows ad stuff like that.

    I dont see the difficulty in just having a simple function that allows you to delete the original letters and then type something else in. Is this not possible or am I just completely lost and doing something wrong?

    I would just use textedit but when i open this document as a txt file it completely freezes up my computer because i guess its too big. it takes about 10 seconds for it to process simple things like scrolling down. The PDF is really fast about all that but then again i cant figure out how to edit it.

    Some one in the know please weigh in.

  2. #2

    Jaygray's Avatar
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    Acrobat claims to have the ability to edit text. In reality though, it is a joke. If you misspell a word you can usually correct the spelling. However, if you need to add a paragraph or edit text on a form, it usually screws up the formatting of the document pretty bad. Sentences often don't wrap properly when you insert words. If you need to edit 2000 pages without the original document, you're probably out of luck.

  3. #3

    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
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    I don't know how useful or how accurate this is but you can at least try it.

    It is suppose to convert PDF files into a .DOC. I think it would be easier to correct spelling and formatting in Doc than a PDF.

  4. #4

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    For that matter if you open the PDF in Preview you can usually copy and paste it into Pages as text, edit it and re-export as PDF.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  5. #5


    Member Since
    May 17, 2011
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    I've had this same problem, and tried a bunch of free PDF editors for my iMac i7 Mid 2011 with no luck. Ended up going with AnyBiz PDF Editor for Mac, which has a text function so you can basically make a text box and write anything into your documents. It's a paid program, but super cheap compared to Adobe Acrobat...
    ... Plus I think they give discounts to students. I think it's $49 regular and $35 for students. Has a bunch of extra features as well, that come in handy from time to time. Hope this helps!

  6. #6


    Member Since
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    PDFs are not meant to be editable. Even the ones that can do this (like PDF Studio, Acrobat Pro et al) can't really do very much, certainly nothing like what the original document creation software could have done.

    With long documents or more than very minor spelling error touchups, your best bet is to either:

    a. Invest in a program that can convert PDF into Word (.doc) format.
    b. Locate the original program from which the PDF was made (such as Word) and re-edit there and just make a new PDF.

  7. #7

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    Is there Optical Character Recognition software for Mac? We OCR scans all the time at work, using Acrobat for Windows.

  8. #8

    mtbinva's Avatar
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    There is a big misnomer in re editing PDF's. There are two types of PDF's that are in use today;

    1. Image based PDF. This could be a scanned or or converted PDF that is actually and image, and not editable text. Therefore, to edit text, the approach would be about the same as any paint program and then adding text. (REAL basic analogy)

    The other option here is something already mentioned; OCR. If memory serves, I believe Acrobat has an OCR engine within the program.

    2. There is what is often referred to as "smart PDF" where the text is actually "editable"; or selectable.

    Bottom line, it boils down to how the PDF was created. These methods mentioned are often used in Litigation Technology and used in litigation for the production of documents in a litigious matter.

    This is just a REAL short answer, and am sure others can add or otherwise embellish on the two.

  9. #9

    mtbinva's Avatar
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    Yes, that would be the best approach. However for distribution, I would use the PDF. This keeps the source document from being changes without your approval.

    Now, there are ways to do this with acrobat, and even Word, however for brevity, this is the short answer.

    To get more granular, you could do a Google search and research what would work best for your situation.

    Just my 0.02

  10. #10

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbinva View Post
    Yes, that would be the best approach. However for distribution, I would use the PDF. This keeps the source document from being changes without your approval.
    Yeah, like that was the whole point of pdf to begin with. Well, that and being "universal". Now they come along with software that lets you edit the uneditable file. Poof! Security out the window.

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    Open Office has a PDF extension that will load the PDF into a “Draw” document. You can then edit each element, including the text.

  12. #12

    CyberCrone's Avatar
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    Nov 09, 2011
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    I'm new to Mac so I don't know much about what is available for editing PDF files on the Mac. However, on Windows platforms there is a program called PDF Suite that allows full editing functions on any PDF file. Thus I assume it is possible on Macs as well if someone has taken the trouble to create such a program. I am hoping there is; so far I haven't had much luck. I got excited when I discovered a program for Mac named PDF Suite like the one for Windows but apparently it is not by the same publisher and doesn't offer full functionality. It's only $2 on the App Store and allows you to move things around, but I think you can't actually edit text with it, which of course is what the original poster wanted. This info offered for whatever it's worth.

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