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edit pdf filesOut of all the common file types found in our computing world, PDF is probably one of the most restrictive ones, while at the same time being available for everyone to use (primarily to read). Indeed, the world of PDF reading is full of sunshine and rainbows, but once you want to create your own PDFs it seems as if you’ll be leaving with an empty wallet – if anything.

No need to fear! While Adobe is hush about it, there are a number of different ways to create and edit PDF files for free without using one of Adobe’s paid products. Let’s find out how this is possible.

Using LibreOffice/OpenOffice

edit pdf files

LibreOffice LibreOffice - A Free Office Suite For Windows, Linux & Mac LibreOffice - A Free Office Suite For Windows, Linux & Mac Read More /OpenOffice is quite a powerful office suite which you can get for free. While it doesn’t match Microsoft Office’s features 100%, it does include a few of its own. With the free suite, you can edit any document you wish and then export it to PDF.

The only way you can do the same thing directly with the Microsoft Office package is if you have Adobe’s paid tool installed, which will place a plugin into Office.  Or alternatively, if you have Office 2007 or Office 2010 already pre-installed on your system, you can save files as PDF’s there as well.

Converting From PDF To Word

edit pdf files free

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While you can easily create PDFs, editing existing ones is a bit more difficult and requires an additional step. You can use sites like this one to convert any PDF to Doc format, which you can then edit in LibreOffice and export to PDF when it’s complete.

Converting From Word & More To PDF

edit pdf files free

If you’d prefer not to install a separate office suite just to export documents to PDF format, you can also use an online converter as well. I like this site very much as it does a very good job of converting Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoints as well as images, webpages, and other unnamed file types into PDF format.

To use the site that I mentioned, you are not required to enter in an email address (even though it looks like it does). Instead, you can just choose the file you wish to convert and wait until the process completes, where you can then download the finished PDF.

Use An Online Editor

edit pdf files

Speaking of online tools, why even use a converter when you could also create PDFs entirely online without ever needing Office or LibreOffice? You can use tools such as PDFescape to do just that. The service only requires that you use a supported browser (which you are more than likely already using at this very moment). You do not even have to be registered to use it, although registering does offer a couple of benefits, the main benefit being the ability to save PDFs to your online account. Registration, of course, is also free.

Conclusion

Those tools should be enough to cover your needs in terms of editing PDF files for free. Word document editors are powerful enough to do a large variety of formatting. Therefore, for the needs of most users, this should be a very good start to PDF editing. Without much time, you’ll be able to start creating professional looking PDF files that you can distribute to numerous people for whatever purposes.

How easy do you find this process? Do you know of a free tool that handles “advanced” PDF features? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Sharon
    October 3, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks for the info. PDF Escape was real easy to use and very effective.

  2. hwoknows
    April 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    What about when you have a pdf form which cannot be saved with the information entered? I need to save the form for my records. I've tried using Cutepdf writer, but the text cannot be selected easily when I need to copy it to another document.

  3. fdf
    February 9, 2016 at 11:47 am

    g

  4. Han Eun Neul
    February 4, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Wow!! Thanks you just saved my life PDF escape it's awesome.

  5. Achraf52
    December 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Personally I use Google docs to create PDF files by making a file then downloading it from .

  6. Delmont
    December 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Nice list, but I can't believe you left out Google Docs.  I've been using them to write my own personal tutorials and books now for a while, and I must say, nothing is more simple than save as -> PDF.  Plus, it comes with all of the goodness that an online document processor has to offer.  Great list though!

  7. Roger Boeken
    November 19, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I agree with simon, probably the best pdf reader available with tons of extra's. I am using it for a few years and install it for everyone who needs to do more with pdf at work. I regularly check online reviews and magazines when they compare pdf tools for free but always return to this one. Unfortunately on windows you may need more than one tool : if you wish to extract pages from a large pdf  or merge multiple pdf in one file use pdfsam.
    One other software to create pdf : scribus (win and mac and linux) a replacement for indesign DTP, creates professional pdf's.

  8. Danny Stieben
    November 18, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Thanks for the info Ibrahim!

    • Ibrahim Ali
      November 18, 2011 at 6:26 am

      No problem.

  9. Danny Stieben
    November 18, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Thanks for the suggestion Simon!

  10. MTC
    November 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    You can always print directly to PDF with Mac OS X without installing anything 'extra.'

    • Danny Stieben
      November 18, 2011 at 1:47 am

      Same in Linux. :) Poor Windows users... ;)

  11. Ibrahim Ali
    November 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    For a private & personal document, I think it's better to finish it on your local computer. I use the PDFill Free Tools (which also has the free pdf writer/virtual printer plugin) which does all the basic things you need. If you add the PDF XC Viewer, you are pretty much covered for all the extra basic editing stuff.

    But watch out the PDFill also dumps on your computer their commercial "PDFill PDF Editor" which, if you use it, puts a big ass ad stamps across the pages.

  12. Davidjfay
    November 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    IIs there a free way to hotlink a pdf?

    • Danny Stieben
      November 18, 2011 at 1:46 am

      I'm not sure, though that question would fall under web technologies, not PDF editing.

  13. Mahir M
    November 12, 2011 at 6:51 am

    i have been using nitro pdf its the best , except when converting to excel which tends to get tricky at times , any one have any apps to convert to excel from pdf . 

    • Danny Stieben
      November 18, 2011 at 1:46 am

      I think I've heard of Nitro PDF but never really looked into it.

  14. Ishar Jay
    November 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I use Kingsoft Office 2012 to make PDF files. It's better than open office and UI is similar to Microsoft Office 2003. 

    • Danny Stieben
      November 18, 2011 at 1:45 am

      Interesting! Is the compatibility with MS document formats up to par?

  15. Steven
    November 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    While it's not "advanced" I use DoPDF a freeware program.  Oh, I Google Chrome is now offering PDF creation through the printer button.

  16. Steve
    November 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I have been using PrimoPDF for a number of years.  It is a small program that when installed adds a "Printer" as well as a "Drop Here to Convert" Icon.  Simply Print your document as you would out of any application, and select PrimoPDF from your list of printers.  Works Great.  It can be downloaded from CNET's Downloads page.

    • Danny Stieben
      November 18, 2011 at 1:43 am

      That's cool! I know Linux/GNOME has a build in feature to "Print to PDF", but I didn't know that it was also possible under Windows. Very nice!

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