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A Simplified Look into How to Add Shapes to a PDF File

November 27, 2021

PDF files are a great way of electronically displaying information on a document so that you can share or print it in a secure and hard-to-alter format. A PDF file allows you to create a document that accurately represents your data in a visually appealing way. PDF files also help you present information in a compact and well-detailed format that is easy to read and access.

In this article, we'll discuss various PDF file options that you can work with and answer the following questions about integrating shapes on PDF files:

What is a PDF file?

PDF is a contraction for Portable Document Format. A PDF file can thus be defined as an electronic document shared between users for viewing or printing purposes. The PDF style of document formatting allows you to exchange information electronically without running the risk of having the information altered by the other party.

PDF file format is compatible with all types of computer operating systems and devices. Regardless of whether you have PDF software on your device, you can still open, print, or review a PDF document as it was initially designed, including all its fonts and graphics.

Adobe Systems developed the first-ever PDF file to exchange information in a secure format. It has since become the universal standard for exchanging information, with Adobe Systems relinquishing the PDF control rights to the International Organization for Standardization, ISO.

How Can I Create A PDF File?

Whether you have a Microsoft Windows or a Macintosh computer, you can easily create or convert a document, be it a Word, PowerPoint, or Excel document, into a PDF File.

To design a PDF file from scratch, you will need a PDF editor like Adobe or Acrobat Pro on your machine. These apps have annotations, text editing, form filling, shapes, and image insertion features that allow you to input your information as needed.

Converting a document into a PDF file helps to secure the information you want to share. This data security feature is beneficial if you share a legal document or private information that you don't wish to be altered by the end user/s.

You can convert a document into a PDF file by selecting either Create PDF, Export as PDF, or Print as PDF options on your machine.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of PDF Files?

PDF files go a long way in helping you present your ideas and other types of information in a simplified way that communicates to your audience in a detailed and easy to comprehend manner.

Advantages of a PDF File

  • A PDF file communicates private or legally binding information in a secure format. This format is especially great for large organizations and private institutions where you may need to exchange information with others without the fear of document alteration.
  • PDF files allow you to create different types of documents while articulating your information in a multi-dimensional format. You can input information in a PDF document in the form of text, images, shapes, and colors as you wish.
  • A PDF file is a convenient way of sharing information. It allows you to share and store documents for review in an electronic format and printed format.

Disadvantages of a PDF File

  • A PDF file is hard to edit once it is completed and shared. It is hard to correct any information on the document once it leaves the hands of the author.
  • With the new international status of PDF as an Open Standard, many types of PDF editors have come up, each requiring a different way of working with to create, manage and review a document. This status makes it hard for users to share information freely if the PDF editors they use are different.

Can I Add Shapes to a PDF File?

Yes, a PDF file allows you to add shapes easily. PDF files come with a host of shape options that you can use to input whatever information you need to grab your audience's attention. This file format allows you to draw your free-form shapes using a provided Pencil Tool or insert pre-determined shapes available on the Tools menu to add shapes to your document. The various shapes you can add to your PDF file include:

  • Rectangles
  • Arrows
  • Ellipses
  • Straight Lines
  • Polygons
  • Clouds
  • Oval
  • Connected Lines
  • Text Callout

To add your favorite shape to your PDF file;

  • Go to Tools, then click on the Comment toolbar.
  • Select the Drawing tools option available on the Comment toolbar
  • Select the Drawing Mark-Up tool
  • Please select your desired shape and add it to your PDF file.
  • Drag the corner points of your selected shape to resize it as desired.
  • If need be, you can right-click or CTRL-click on the shape to either change the shape's color or add its line values to your desired thickness.
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Can I Add Shapes to PDF on Adobe?

You can easily add shapes to your PDF file on Adobe, just like any other PDF editor. To achieve this, you must first open your PDF file as Adobe only allows you to add shapes within a workflow model. To add shapes to your PDF file on Adobe:

  • Click on the Drawing Tools Menu
  • Select the Drawing Tools Icon
  • Click on Expand Drawing Tools option to select your desired shape.
  • Once you select a shape, place it on your PDF file.
  • You can click on the shape to write inside it or right-click on it to change its properties to suit your documentation needs.

Is It Possible to Add Shapes on Free Online PDF Editors?

Free Online PDF editors allow you to format and share your PDF files easily without spending a dime. While free online PDF editors have certain limitations in the features you can work with to create your PDF file, you can use them to add basic shapes to articulate your information in an organized and visually appealing manner.

To add shapes to your PDF file using a free online PDF editor, all you'll need is a working web browser and a good internet connection. You can then choose which free online PDF editor to create your PDF file. In a free online PDF editor, all the file processing is done online, so you'll need to download your document once you've finished editing to save or share it.

How Can I Add Shapes to a PDF File on Acrobat Pro?

Acrobat Pro, like any other PDF editor, allows you to add shapes to a PDF file. It also comes with extra features and updates that allow you cloud storage of 100GB for your PDF files and the ability to input and track digital signatures on the PDF file in real-time.

Here is how to add shapes to your PDF file on Acrobat Pro:

  • Select Comment Tools
  • Click on Drawing Tools
  • Select your desired shape from the shapes menu on Drawing tools
  • To add more shapes for your selection, click on Expand Drawing Tools.

Depending on the settings of your Acrobat Pro editor, you can find the Drawing Tools option placed in a different location if some features, like the Show All Labels, are enabled.

If the Drawing Tools option does not appear in the Comment Tools Option, here's what to do:

  • Click on the Options button on the right side of your computer
  • Slide your mouse to the Drawing Tools option on the Options menu
  • Select the shapes that appear in a side menu on the left-hand side
  • You can select the Expand Drawing Tools option to select more shapes as you like.

How Do Shapes Help to Define A PDF File?

Shapes are an essential part of our everyday lives. Look around you, and you'll see how life, in general, is defined by shapes. Shapes define a PDF file by giving more presence to the specific information the author wants to put forward.

Shapes help to give visual guidance to the recipients of the PDF file you create. PDF editors allow you to input text into a shape to draw your readers' attention to specific information on the file.

PDF files allow you the option of various shapes like the rectangle, arrow, oval and straight lines which you can use to create simple shapes that communicate your ideas in a more pronounced manner.

The cloud, polygon, and other closed shapes let you segment your data inside the shape if you so desire. Other shapes like the polygon line help you create open shapes with segments where you can put your information if your communication goals demand so.

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
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