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How to Edit PDF Files And Documents Without Adobe Acrobat

February 21, 2022

PDF is a consistent file format that you see the same on every device. And Adobe Acrobat is considered among the best tools to edit PDFs.

Albeit, it’s a slightly expensive solution and not everyone has access to it.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to edit PDF files without using Adobe. 

Wondering how to edit the contents of your PDFs (text, visuals, etc.) without splurging on Adobe Acrobat?

You can edit PDF files using online tools, Google Docs, Google Drive, and other methods we’re about to cover below.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Editing PDF Files And Documents Without Adobe Acrobat
  • 4 Ways To Edit PDF Files Without Adobe Acrobat
  • Things to Keep In Mind When Editing When Considering PDF Editing Tools

Editing PDF Files And Documents Without Adobe Acrobat

Besides being free, PDF files are easier to use, functional, and stable on all devices, systems, platforms, and software platforms.  

The portable file format is a graphical representation of a text which seems like a text but un-editable; that is why it is popular as “read-only documents”. To edit these files, you need the help of a third-party converter.

Below, we’ll cover 4 different methods to help you edit PDF files without having to touch Adobe Acrobat. 

4 Ways To Edit PDF Files Without Adobe Acrobat

If you want to make some quick edits, you can use other tools besides Adobe Acrobat.

You can either do it online or even use simple text processing tools, such as the one below.

Method #1: How to edit a PDF file in MS Word?

The first method includes PDF editing using Word. For this purpose, you need to convert PDF files to Word. You can convert PDF files to Microsoft Word using a very simple procedure. 

Here’s how:

1. Open the PDF file you want to convert in Word; File>Open

2. Word will make a copy of the PDF file and notify you that it will convert its contents into a format that Word can view. The original PDF is unchanged. Select OK.

3. Now, edit its content according to your needs.

Do keep in mind, once you have edited the PDF file by converting it into a Word file, you can convert it back to the original PDF file.

Alternative method for editing PDFs in Word

If you have Word 2013 version or an older version of that, you can also use that to edit PDF documents: 

  1. Open Microsoft Word and click the ‘’File’’ option.
  2. Choose the ‘’Open’’ option.
  3. Now, select the PDF file you want to edit.
  4. Here, you can see a notification that your PDF file is converted into an editable format.
  5. Click ‘’OK’’ and you are ready to edit the file.
  6. Now save the file again into PDF.

Note: For those who have an older Microsoft version, this method will not work for them.

Looking for more info on managing PDF documents in Word?

Be sure to also read:

Method #2: How to edit a PDF file online in Google Drive?

Google Drive is another source to convert PDF files into Google Docs. It also features built-in OCR (optical character recognition), which extracts the content from images. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to convert PDF with Google Docs:

1.  Log into Google Drive.

2. Click and drag the PDF file in the file browser, click New, and then Upload a file to navigate to the file you want to upload.

file upload google drive

3. As the file uploads, you can spot it in your documents.

4. Click on the PDF you have uploaded to see the preview. Open with>Google Docs.

open pdf with google docs to edit

Google Docs will then turn the PDF into an editable google doc automatically.

Note: Google Drive does not provide PDF editing. That is, you cannot convert the PDF to a doc file or fill out the form. You can convert or preview the PDF to a document file. That's all. There are third-party apps that can connect to Google Drive to edit PDF files. First, open the PDF file and click Open with> Connect Other Apps. 

Looking for more info on getting the most out of your Google Doc files?

You might want to also read:

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Method #3: How to edit a PDF file online using third-party apps

Online PDF editing services are best when you’re in a hurry and want to make a few quick edits.

There are many tools that do this and you can make some edits like:

  • Changing, editing, or writing text.
  • Removing or adding a signature to the PDF.
  • Converting a PDF into black and white.
  • Doing a print test, changing the page order, and more.

The best way to edit PDFs online depends on the action you want to take.

Depending on that, you can type that task into a Google search (e.g. “convert MHTML to PDF) and you’ll find a lot of free online tools that do just that.

Tools such as:

  • SmallPDF
  • Pdfpro
  • Pdfbuddy
  • Online2pdf

These tools are easy to use, and you just have to follow the prompt or navigations to convert your PDFs in seconds.

Things to Consider While Using Online PDF Editor

Here are a few things that are worth considering while editing PDF files online. Such as:

  • Online reviews.
  • Opt for a tool that shows Padlock symbol in the address bar.
  • Privacy policy and terms of condition to make sure your PDF content isn’t used by the company.

Method #4: Doing Basic PDF content editing using Preview (for Mac only)

Preview is an app used to convert images and PDF files. It is built-in, and you can spot it by quickly opening the file and going to the “tools panel.” 

You can underline text, add/delete pages, annotate, compress, highlight the sections you want to, sign and fill PDF.

 Here is how:

  • Select “text item” from the toolbar on the top.
  • Choose the text section you want to edit. Make the changes you want to make and click on the blank space.

Moreover, it also allows you to edit images. To edit images in PDF using Preview, follow these simple steps.

  • Click the "Edit" option.
  • Go to the "Image".
  • Navigate to the "Finder" and select the PDF file containing the image.
  • Now, move the image.
  • Finally, edit PDF in Google Docs.

Here are some other ways you can edit your PDF documents on a Mac:

Things to Keep In Mind When Editing When Considering PDF Editing Tools

There are several other software available in the market other than Adobe Acrobat that are slightly cheaper and work equally well, if not better. 

They can be a one-time purchase and will become your go-to tool to edit PDFs. 

The standalone software can cost between $50-$150. The software is worth buying when you work too frequently with PDFs and need advanced changes. They feature some excellent features that are not available on free editing tools. 

Here is what you should look for while selecting a perfect editing tool for yourself;


Always compare the features of different tools available in the market. You surely don’t want to compromise the quality of your PDF files. So, consider a tool that retains the quality of the files. A well-informed purchase will lead to desired results and get the job done perfectly. 


Another thing that you should consider is your budget. If you want to purchase the tool for minimal applications, we do not recommend spending too much. Instead of looking for maximum features, it is best to look for the most useful ones. 

User Experience

The smoothness and production speed of the software are inevitable. Go for the one that offers a free trial to ensure if it is useful for you or not. Besides, a tool with a simple and clean interface is more desirable than a tool with a pretty complex interface.

If you’re frequently working with PDF files and documents though, you might also want to consider going paperless to reduce your paper trail and improve the security of your documents.

A trigger-based converter like Inkit Render with its easy-to-use API generates or converts PDF files from HTML. Then, the tool stores the communications in the cloud in a secure way.


PDF is among the popular file formats used widely around the globe to distribute and deliver files. They can be secured and uneditable. Adobe Acrobat is among the most popular tools to edit and convert PDFs, but some other options are much cheaper and quicker. So, if you have been searching for means to edit PDF files without using Acrobat, this write-up is precisely for you.

We hope it was helpful and now you are equipped with alternative PDF editing tools and software.

And if you’re looking for an automated document generation platform to convert and manage your PDF documents at scale, be sure to check out Inkit Render!

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.