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How to Make a PDF Editable

Feb 23 2024

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Make your PDF editable by using online and mobile apps. We’ve got six easy ways to help you start editing, signing, and annotating your PDFs effortlessly.

Because the PDF format is meant to preserve your content, it’s great at saving and securing your information. However, it isn’t so great if you need to modify the content.

Is a PDF editable? Yes, it can be! All you need are the right tools. If you don’t know where to begin and want to edit your PDF document – you’re in luck. We’ll show you how to start making your PDF content editable by:

  • Using a PDF Editor online
  • Using Google Docs
  • Converting PDF to Word
  • Using OCR for scanned PDFs
  • Using mobile apps on Android and iOS
  • Using your Mac computer

Now let’s take a look at working with and creating an editable PDF document.

Why make PDF editable?

First off, it may seem odd to edit a format aimed at locking in your content. So why do it? As a digital worker, it’s a must-have skill. A lot of professional content you need to take action on will be in a PDF.

By making PDFs editable, you make it easier to work with the file. You can correct errors, delete pages, add and modify text, sign forms, or mark up a document with your comments on the spot. And there are different ways to do it.

How to make a PDF editable online

You can begin making PDFs editable by using an online PDF editing tool. It’s quick, direct and only requires a browser. Here’s how:

1. Go to Xodo’s online PDF Editor.

2. Upload your PDF.

3. You can then start editing your content. Simply use any of the available editing features from the drop-down menu in the toolbar.

Viewing an editable PDF document online

3. Once you’re done editing your PDF, select either to Download your file to your device or save your edited PDF to Google Drive or Xodo Drive.

Here's a closer look at the PDF editing tasks possible with the online PDF Editor.

  • Edit PDF text seamlessly with matching fonts, text size, and formatting.
  • Create fillable PDF forms you can fill out from static forms.
  • Annotate PDF drafts by leaving comments, sticky notes, underlines, strikethroughs, and more.
  • Make changes to the overall PDF document by cropping, deleting, adding or rearranging pages.

Check out a more in-depth look at what you can do with our PDF editing guide.

How to make a PDF editable in Google Docs

If you’re working with Google Docs, you can turn your PDF to editable Google Doc on the platform where you can access, view, and even edit PDF content within Google Drive. First, log into your Google account, and then follow the steps below:

1. Open Google Drive and click on New > File Upload

2. Browse for your PDF and click on Open. You can also drag your files into your Google Drive.

3. In Google Drive, right-click on the file and click on Open with > Google Docs.

Opening a PDF to editable Google Doc

Depending on the content of the PDF, you may lose some formatting. So, this method works best if you have simple PDFs focused on textual content.

4. Edit your PDF as needed. Modify or add and delete text and content as you normally would in a Google Doc.

Note that a PDF created from a photo (or photos) can’t be edited with Google Docs.

5. Once done, you can download the newly edited PDF. Go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf).

Make a PDF editable by converting it to Word

If you’re wondering how to turn a PDF into an editable document, you can simply convert it to Microsoft Word.

1. Go to Xodo’s PDF to Word converter.

2. Upload your PDF either from your device, Xodo Drive, or Google Drive, and Dropbox.

3. Click on the Convert button.

4. Once the conversion is done, you can edit your document without having to leave Xodo. Under the "Continue to" section, click on DOCX Editor.

Converting PDF to editable Word document

You can then start editing your new MS Word file instantly.

5. When you're done, you can convert your Word document back to PDF again with Xodo's Word to PDF converter - just upload, convert, and download your file.

While converting back into PDF may be an extra step, the above method provides you with a working back up copy for any other revisions you may need.

How to make a scanned PDF editable

The above methods work quickly for native (electronically generated) PDFs. However, there are scanned PDFs created by scanning in paper documents, which are harder to work with.

For these, you need to use an OCR converter, like Xodo’s, to detect and pull out the text from scanned PDFs.

This turns your image-based PDF to editable PDF you can work with directly in your browser.

1. Go to Xodo’s online OCR converter.

2. Upload your scanned PDF and select .pdf as your output format.

Converting scanned PDF to editable PDF

3. Click on Convert to start the conversion.

4. Then, once the conversion is done, you can click on the PDF Editor button under the the "Continue to" section.

You’re then all set to edit your PDF online as we covered in the first section above.

But what if you need an editable PDF while on the go? We’ve got you covered there, too.

How to make PDF editable on mobile

Thus far, we’ve shown that you can edit PDFs with Xodo online. But you can access the same PDF editing tools on your mobile just as easily!

Xodo is a cross-platform suite with iOS app and Android app versions available.

The steps below are for Android, but are similar to those on iOS, so you can follow along on your Apple device.

1. Tap on the Xodo icon on your mobile device.

2. Select the PDF you wish to edit from the list of available locations.

3. Edit your PDF with the available editing options.

Depending on how you need to edit your PDF, Xodo provides you with several options:

  • Tap on the drop-down menu on the top left to annotate, draw, fill and sign, prepare forms, insert text and objects, and redact PDF content.
  • Tap on the three dots in top right corner and tap on Edit pages to add, delete, rotate and rearrange/import/export PDF pages.
  • Tap on the Lightning bolt icon. Here you can access Xodo’s features to not only edit PDF pages, but to also crop and even compress PDF.
  • Tap and long press anywhere on the page to display the context menu. Select from options to copy, translate, and edit content with available markup and editing tools.
  • Tap on the bottom right icon to add bookmarks and annotations.

Explore more on PDF editing on your device with our detailed guide on mobile PDF editing.

How to make a PDF editable on Mac

One last platform to explore: Mac. Making PDFs editable on Mac is simple. All the tools we covered– Xodo's PDF Editor, PDF to Word converter, OCR tool, and Google Docs – can be accessed through your browser.

You don’t need any installations or added plugins. Just follow the same steps and you’ll get the same quick and easy results.

Access and work seamlessly with PDFs using Xodo

You now have the flexibility of turning PDFs into editable PDF from anywhere, whether you’re online using Xodo or Google Docs, on your mobile device, or on a Mac.

Using Xodo and its 30+ tools to annotate content, edit PDF text, fill forms, and more, lets you seamlessly access and interact with any PDF you take on. Try them out on yours today!

Explore Xodo Tools

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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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