Can you recommend a free PDF editor to correct mistakes in a PDF file?

mike March 4, 2011

I got a PDF file from a friend with several errors in it. Is there a way I can fix it without having to shell out a ton of money for Abobe PDF Editor? Opening it with Adobe Reader I can do, but editing it would require an expensive version of Adobe Editor. Is there a free editor for PDF files?

  1. Lukas Fenz
    February 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    You can't change letters inside your pdf file with PDF-XChange (or Foxit, ...), but you can write note or extract text (use free OCR in PDF-XChange for example). I had the same work several times and can say that it's not easy to do even with Adobe Acrobat. The best way - make all need corrects in the original file and then print to pdf files.

  2. Vinchand
    August 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    simple use open office with pdf import extension thats all,now u can edit pdf files easily

  3. Pguiberteau
    April 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I like Zamzar. I use it to convert files to another format ie: pdf to Word. In Word I can edit then use Zamzar again to convert back to a pdf. Free, easy, and quick.

  4. IOStreamCTO
    March 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    If you have a free Google account, you can simply upload the PDF to Google Docs while being sure to tick the "Covert Document To Google Docs Format" option. You can then directly edit the document and re-publish or download it in PDF format. Your original PDF is now edited and recompiled without any messy "whiteouts" or mismatched fonts - easy and free! By the way, the suggestions regarding the use of PDF-Exchange Viewer - count me in with them. I use the Pro version daily in my workflow and it is EXCELLENT! You should also check out FinePrint Software's FinePrint and pdfFactory Pro print drivers - not free but worth every penny if you compile sophisticated documents from multiple sources (Be sure to read the user guides for all these programs to really understand everything they can do for a business professional!).

  5. jello
    March 12, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I learned about the pdfxchange viewer software on this site recently. It is great. Just make sure you show all the toolbars, because the editing mode is called typewriter, on one of the toolbars and does not appear on its default installation.

  6. Mayank
    March 12, 2011 at 8:17 am

    PDF Is Such A File That You Can't Actually (Fully) Edit It.
    It Takes Some Advanced Options Like Someone Said By Converting It To A Word Document And Then Editing And Then Re-Converting.
    This One Is Basically A Working Solution Without The Need Of Installing Any Other Software.
    You Can't Actually Edit A PDF File Properly, If I Know properly..

  7. Mike
    March 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    thanks these are all good answers. i work for a genological research company.. a co worker sent me a document with errors.. basicly i was looking for a free text editor for the file so i can edit words and locations and correct my co-workers bad grammer with out breaking a arm and leg spending money with adobe.. there are some graphic boxes i might not be able to edit however.. hmmm...

  8. Oron Joffe
    March 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Mike's suggestion of using Illustrator is the best by far, but if you don't have the software, your options are as follows:
    1. Convert the document 'back' to Word (or Excell) using a free tool. The drawback is that the conversion is rarely perfect, and may in fact be unusable, but if it works well, it will give you flexibility in editing.
    2. Use PDF-Exchange, Foxit Reader or other similar tools to edit individual words etc by drawing white blocks over them, then 'typing' with the provided tool. While this will work, it is obviously very limiting in terms of the kind of editing you can do.

    Ultimately, PDFs are not designed to be edited other than having things added to them.

  9. Anne H
    March 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I think Mike's suggestion is best. Otherwise, you could try some of the tools mentioned in the ads to the right. I'm seeing ads for those type of products in the Google ads on this page, but I'd suggest you look at privacy policies. Some are free, but you may be giving up your email address to the company as well as 3rd parties.

  10. Mhguda
    March 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    You could read the pdf text into a wordprocessor. Wordperfect reads pdf documents directly, and I think OpenOffice does, too. Then you can correct all the mistakes, and resave your pdf using that option. Both OpenOffice and Wordperfect can write pdf files.
    Good luck!

  11. Mike
    March 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

    What kind of editing are we talking about?

    Even with dedicated tools like Acrobat Pro it sometimes proofs to be unpractical to directly edit the PDF file. At the end it comes down on how clean the PDF structure is.
    Sometimes you will have overlaying Text and Images boxes, rendered Text, etc. making it very hard (if not impossible) to edit it.

    The only tool which is (almost) perfect for editing PDF's is Adobe Illustrator. Other than that the best option probably is to convert the PDF to a different format e.g. Word, edit it and then create a new PDF.

    example link:

    • mike
      March 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      I work as a genological editor.. i was handed a document from a co worker with mistakes on it.. was looking for a basic free text editor so i didn't have shell out a arm and leg for acrobat pro.. Just needed to replace co workers mistakes with better wording as for the graphics listing who is grandpa grandson father brother etc etc that might be a little tougher to fix then just replaceing words...

  12. Ken Judd
    March 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Facebook now has a free PDF converter app that will convert the file from the PDF to MS Word format. Convert it to Word 2010 edit the file and save it as a PDF file. Easy.

  13. Susendeep dutta
    March 5, 2011 at 5:52 am

    What about PDF -X-change viewer.It's said to be a reader as well as editor.

  14. Tina
    March 5, 2011 at 3:41 am


    the only one I could find that MakeUseOf has recommended in the past is PDFescape. You can not really edit a text. However, you can whiteout mistakes and overwrite them with new text. It's a workaround in case no one has a better suggestions.

  15. Blackdoor82
    March 5, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Print screen it, edit it in your favorite editor like paint.

    • Aibek
      March 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

      not a practical solution :-)

  16. Jeff Rhind
    March 5, 2011 at 3:36 am

    There are two you can try that are both online apps.

    1.) PDF Escape @
    and 2.) PDF Hammer @

    • Tina
      March 5, 2011 at 3:50 am

      As far as I know, PDF Hammer only allows re-arranging of pages within or removal of single pages from the PDF document. You cannot edit the content of a page. PDFescape is a little more advanced, though.

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