Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free PDF Editor

I recently received a PDF file from my friend which I want to make a little editing before sending it to others. I was stuck there for a while, looking for a free PDF editor software, as it is obviously not worth for me to purchase a commercial PDF Editor software just for one time (or occasional) use. It took me quite some time, but I finally manage to find a few ways to edit PDF file for free.

Editing PDF Files using OpenOffice
I figured the best way to edit a PDF file is to use OpenOffice 3.0.

OpenOffice is an open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more... You can basically consider it as the free version of Microsoft Office. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose, which is great.

In the latest version of OpenOffice -- 3.0 (which is still in Beta stage), a PDF Import Extension allows modifying existing PDF files for which the original source files do not exist anymore. With this extension installed, PDF documents will be imported in Draw and Impress, preserving the layout of the original PDF file and allowing basic editing.

This method is applicable to not only Microsoft Windows user, but also to those who use Linux or Mac.

How To Edit PDF File With OpenOffice
First, you will need to install OpenOffice 3.0. The free download is available here.

Then download and install the Sun PDF Import Extension. To install an extension to the OpenOffice, simply open one of the OpenOffice application such as the Writer, then go to Tools > Extension Manager, and add the extension there.

After installing the Sun PDF Import Extension, whenever you try to open a PDF file, OppenOffice will automatically import and open it in Draw (one of the OpenOffice application). From there, you will be able to edit the PDF document and then export it back as a PDF after finish editing it.

Editing PDF Files With PDF to Word Doc Converter
Another way to edit an existing PDF document is by converting it into Microsoft Word format. Here's a free application capable of converting a PDF into Microsoft Word: Free PDF to Word Doc Converter. The idea is simply converting a PDF file into Words document, edit it, and then convert it back to PDF format. There's a limitation using this method though. If the PDF document that you try to convert contains images, the converter fails to maintain the original layout of the PDF file. Unless you find a better converter, this method applies to PDF documents with only plain text, or with very few images.

There are several commercial PDF Editors out there, such as Foxit PDF Editor (USD99 per license), or the Adobe Acrobat (USD299 per license) that have lots of great features which make PDF editing an extremely easy task. If you need to edit PDF file on a frequent basis, you may consider purchasing these software. But if you are like me who only need it once in a while, and looking for a free PDF Editor, you may try out the method above :).


cohnsey said...

awesome tip. I dont want to buy that darn adobe program so this will save me some cash. thanks

Photobuch said...

I never knew about this software.Thanks so much for the information.please let us know more.

Admin said...

I am glad you find this useful.. I will certainly post more stuff that I find useful on this blog :)

Maria said...

What do you think about Don`t you think it`s a nice one? ;-)

Admin said...

If you just want to fill in some extra text to a PDF file, PDFfiller is actually an easier tool to use (compare to OpenOffice) since it's an online service which do not need installation... However if you want to do things like modifying/removing text/image from a PDF file, PDFfiller will not help. OpenOffice is the only free tool which I have found so far to be able to do this.

Anonymous said...

I purchased the software PDFill PDF Editor for $19.99 and it is working great as a PDF editor.


Anonymous said...

You should look into pdfXchange viewer, it has most of the editing capabilities, form filling, annotations. For Free.
And if you want more capabilities, the pro version is only 24 USD.

mbah gendeng said...

y i think i must download this program

Pardes said...

Thanks SO MUCH for posting this. I've been beating my head against a wall trying to find an easy method and you handed it to me.

Martin said...


PDFfiller is not free. And it has very poor editing tools.

I worked on it for an hour trying to make it look right and then was asked to pay at the end. No warning.

Not the way I do business. I don't like being tricked.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, you have saved me a lot of time and money! I really needed this to edit my promo banner and to read/ edit my research as my wordpad and notepad have gone walkies =)

Monty Reed said...

I just tried clicking on the link and version 3 is not available. So I clicked on the "Download" tab and then clicked to download the newest version of Open Office 3.1 I had been using open office on my other computer because it came with Vista and works (yuck) I am looking forward to having open office on all of my computers. I hope this pdf edit works. I have one friend who sends me pdfs all of the time. Today I have flier he wants me to print 5000 copies for a non profit and the phone number is wrong. Usually I would email the edits to him and wait, but he is asleep and I am supposed to print these and give them to him in the morning. This will really help. Thanks for the Post.

Yracel said...

Just used this suggestion and it is awesome! Works like a charm! Thank God for people like you who have not only figured out a alternate way to edit .pdf files, but went the extra mile to let others know about it. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this excellent tip. I have been looking for a cheap way to edit the text in pdfs for ages and the open office method works really well (also free is very cheap!).

Boris Epstein said...

Hello there,

Thanks, this sounds like a really good plan... except that for some reason that PDF Import process seems extremely slow (like 5 minutes to import a 5MB PDF file) on a Dual Core 2+ GHz 2 GB RAM machine).

Any idea why?



Cam said...

Hi, thanks for your info. It didn't work for the first instance that I was hoping to use it for, a business card with lots of vector graphics. Like Boris, I found the file took over 5 mins to open also.
However, I will store this solution away for future PDFs that are largely text based, I imagine it will work beautifully.

Chris said...

Have a look at it's a free open source vector graphics editor and is great for editing PDF files :)

Alex said...

Today I was reading pdf file and something happened.Then the file was damaged.But fortunately I found in google-pdf fixer.Software solved the problems very easy and free of cost.Moreover I knew how utility recovering data from damaged .pdf (Portable Document Format) files – the international standard of portable electronic documents.

Angie said...

Hi there,

I followed the instructions provided to the letter, but when the pdf finally opened up in Draw (it took a very, very long time to upload), the whole document was in strange symbols, not English. I use a MAC with Snow Leopard - any ideas what happened, how to fix it so I can read it, or how to avoid this from happening?


Anonymous said...

This is briliant! Does exactly what I needed to do. I am impressed!

KK said...

I also tried PD Fill which claims to be a "Free PDF & Image Writer." The program was very clunky.
Free PDF Editor

KK said...

Still, thank you for taking the time to review these products. Good work,
Free PDF Editor

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