PDFs are widely recognized and used files that contain documents and the related texts, fonts, vector graphics, annotations, and pictures. PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is instrumental in storing documents as they are presented in a digestible manner. PDF was developed by Adobe but has become an open-source format that allows editing through various applications and software. The editing techniques may vary on the platform. Here are the best ways to edit PDFs on Windows and Mac for free.
Microsoft Windows comes with Microsoft Office, which consists of a widely recognized word processor called Microsoft Word, which most people are aware of and uses regularly. They may not be aware that it can be used to edit PDFs, which easy to do.
It would help if you imported a PDF to Microsoft Word before you can edit. Here is how you can import and export PDFs to and from Microsoft Word and edit the files, and it is relatively easy.
- Open Microsoft Word and select File > Open and browse your PDFs. Select a file and click on the Open button. Files can be viewed on the window on the right.
- A dialog box appears that Microsoft Word might take time to convert PDF to an editable file and that the file will not look like the original PDF document if it had some graphics as it will be converted to text format.
The margins, columns, tables, page breaks, footnotes, frames, and fonts differ between the PDF file and Microsoft Word. Text documents may transfer better than documents having several raster images such as charts, tags, and footnotes. These limitations of converting PDF to a DOC file should be considered, and those with lots of pictures are better suited to another way to edit their files.
- The documents can be normally edited on Microsoft Word. Sentences and paragraphs can be added, and pictures can be inserted using Insert > Picture and tables can be inserted, font and font size changed.
- When the document is changed as desired, select File > Save As and choose PDF from the save as dropdown list.
- Choose Optimize for Standard and click Save.
macOS has features that make a filling and signing a PDF easy. Features used to edit a PDF depending on the version of macOS. Mojave is a recent update to the operating systems, which consists of Quick Look, which has editing tools. The older versions can open PDF in the Preview app, where there are options to add text, highlight, underline and strikethrough text, add and remove pages, rotate pages, and add comments.
Here are some editing tips:
- Open the document in Preview and Quick Look and click on the space where data can be added. It will be possible to type there.
- A PDF might have boxes where a tick and a cross input is required. Users can put across by pressing X. To put a tick, click on the Text box, drag it to the box where a tick is required, and type Option/Alt and V, a tick on Macs.
- Copy text by pressing Command and C on the keyboard. Copying can also be done by right-clicking on the required text.
Free editing software on Macbook and Windows are good for basic editing of PDFs, but they fall flat when it comes to advanced editing. It’s an additional feature of Microsoft Word and macOS Preview. There are other purposes made applications specifically to alter PDF files. PDFelement is a reputed software used by a wide variety of industry-leading experts. The latest version of PDFelement 6 is really cheap with a good variety of features, making it stand above free software.
- Edit raster images: Raster images can be edited on PDFelement 6. The software reads them, and there are a full host of editing tools for this specific purpose.
- Scan documents: Paper documents can be scanned, and the software will convert them into an editable PDF file.
- Create PDFs from other files: PDFelement allows conversion of file formats other than PDFs to PDF such as image, text formats, and it generates PDFs from OCR scans.
- Make Interactive Forms: PDFs can create interactive forms from other non-interactive file formats such as Microsoft Word and Excel.
- Encryption: Files can be encrypted to secure documents.
PDFelement is the best alternative to Adobe Acrobat, which is the current leader in PDF editing apps. It offers the same features for free. The OCR scan and other advanced scan features are the only features that are not available for free as they require a Pro subscription, which is still a lot cheaper than Acrobat. Acrobat costs $450 for the desktop Pro version. Pro version is $99.95 with a full-featured PDF editor. But you can start with $59.95 to require a standard version. Comparison with the two versions here>>
Pro vs. Std: Pro version has the following extra features over the Std version.
- Automatic Form Recognition
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
- Bates Numbering
- Form Data Extraction
- Extended Compatibility Support for File Formats
- Batch Process PDF Files
- File Size Optimization
- Scanner to PDFs
- Support PDF/A
Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 and several versions of macOS are supported. It is free to download and can upgrade to the paid version if the user feels satisfied, and due to its $60 price, it’s a more digestible upgrade. Users are recommended to use it to edit, scan and create documents.