How To Edit A PDF File Online (A Step-By-Step Guide)

In this tutorial, we will learn how to Edit A PDF File and we will review several applications that will help us edit a PDF document online:

To edit a PDF document is not a straightforward task, although, there are many applications that make it simple, learning something new when you need to urgently accomplish a task is quite frustrating.

Before editing PDF files, let’s work-out on some basics.

What Are PDF Files And Why All the Fuss?

PDF stands for portable document format’, they are shareable files that cannot be edited. You might be familiar with the extension .pdf which is present as a suffix in all the PDF files.

PDF files are primarily meant for viewing and not editing. Most of the important formalities like examination forms, tax forms, or any other document are primarily available in PDF format. This is done to protect the original formatting of the documents as a PDF file cannot be edited.

On the contrary, Word files that have the .doc or .docx extensions can be easily edited using valid applications, hence they are not preferred for important documentation.

How To Edit A Pdf Document_ (3)

How To Edit A PDF File

If PDF Files Are Not Meant to be Edited, Then What Are We Doing Here? Can you edit a PDF? (Is It Even Legal?) Let’s see!!

Human beings indeed make mistakes, right? Although the PDF files are not meant to be edited, still, one can make a mistake in the primary file and may now want to correct it.


You might need to add details to your college assignment, but it’s already a PDF!


Some PDF files contain a ‘form field’ which lets you enter personal information on it like name, address, etc.

Suggested reading =>> Online PDF to Word Converter

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) What does a PDF file contain?

Answer: Similar to a Word file, PDF files can contain audio, images, form fields, text, charts, links, etc. It is a tool for the documentation of specialized information.

Q #2) Why is the PDF format so popular?

Answer: PDF files allow easy mobile access and are not easily editable. Hence, people prefer to send important information in the form of PDF files.

Q #3) How to open a PDF file?

Answer: For this, you’ll need a special application that lets you open .pdf extensions. The most popular of them is Adobe Acrobat which lets you view, create and edit PDF files.

Q #4) What are the disadvantages of a PDF file?

Answer: It is difficult to work with text on a PDF file as it cannot be edited. Another disadvantage is that, to edit a PDF document, you will need a paid software.

Q #5) How do I create a PDF file?

Answer: Open Acrobat and choose “Tools” -> “Create PDF”.

  1. Select the file type that you want to create a PDF from i.e. single file, multiple files, scan, or other option.
  2. Click “Create” or “Next” depending on the file type.
  3. Follow the prompts to convert to PDF and save to your desired location.

Q #6) How to edit a PDF document?

Answer: There are various software applications that help you in editing PDF files. Some of them are Adobe Acrobat, Google Docs, etc.

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List Of Available Software To Edit PDF Files

Here is a list of online applications that are used to edit a PDF document:

  1. Google Docs
  2. WPS Office
  3. Adobe Acrobat
  4. Smallpdf

#1) Google Docs

Google docs is a word processing software. Like MS Word or Pages, it offers various utilities to create several documents and share them with your colleagues. It also offers free grammar and spell-checks.

To edit a PDF file on Google docs is fairly simple, you just need to follow the steps below:

  • Go to the File menu and click ‘Open’ or press Ctrl+O.

Open Option - Edit A PDF File Online

  • The ‘Open a file’ window appears, you can open a file from your drive or your device.

Open a File Window

  • The file now opens up for viewing in Google drive, select the ‘Open with Google Docs’ option from the top.

Open with Google Docs’

  • After you’ve edited your document, go to the ‘File’ menu and select the ‘Download’ option to download the file to your device or you can share it with your peers.

Google Docs - Download Option

Website: Google Docs

#2) WPS Office

WPS office suite is another word processing software like MS Word. It is an offline software that can run on your desktop. Most of the essential features are free and are at par with applications like MS Word or LibreOffice, yet, some of the features are paid for.

The feature in which we are interested is also paid (sadly). Although the WPS office suite allows editing of a PDF file that is long upto three pages, however, for a file longer than three pages; one needs to buy the premium version.

To edit PDF documents on the WPS office suite, just follow the simple steps given below.

  • Click on the File menu on the right-hand side of the screen and select ‘Open’.

Open Option - WPS Office - Edit A PDF File Online

  • From the ‘Open File’ window, select the location and the file you want to edit.

Open File Window - WPS Office

  • The file now opens up in a different window. From the toolbar, select the ‘PDF to Office’ and from the dropdown menu select ‘PDF to Word.

Pdf to Word’ - WPS Office

Note: You need to have a premium version to edit a file of more than three pages.

Pricing: $10/ trimonthly or $30/year.

#3) Adobe Acrobat Online

Probably the most famous application for creating, editing, and sharing PDF files is Adobe Acrobat that remains the foremost contender in the field of .pdf extension.

The online platform of Adobe Acrobat allows you to make comments on your file, edit it, compress it, etc. There are a free trial and a premium subscription option. Signing in is mandatory for using the platform.

To edit PDFs on Adobe Acrobat, just go on with the below steps:

  • Sign-in or Sign-up to open your personal account on Adobe’s online platform.

Sign-in or Sign-up - Adobe Acrobat Reader - Edit A PDF File Online

  • The ‘Home’ window appears with lots of features to tune your file. From the top toolbar, select the ‘Edit’ menu, now, from the dropdown list, select whatever feature you want to use for your document.

adobe acrobat - home window

  • After selecting the feature, upload your file from your device and the file opens up on your screen.

selecting the feature- upload

  • From the tools provided, edit your document according to your standard. Now, to download a copy, go to the ‘Share’ dropdown menu on the left side of the screen and select the ‘Download a copy’ option. You may also share it on different platforms.

Adobe Acrobat - Download a copy’

Note: Adobe’s online platform offers a free trial and a premium version.

Pricing: $15/month

Website: Adobe Acrobat Online

#4) Smallpdf

Smallpdf is similar to other online PDF editors. The advantage of using Smallpdf is that it does not require a ‘Sign in/up’. It offers you almost every feature that is available with the premium version, but its free version also allows comfortable editing.

To edit a PDF file on Smallpdf, follow the below steps:

  • Open/Drag and drop your file on the ‘Edit Page’.

Smallpdf - Edit Page - Edit A PDF File Online

  • Use the Tools given on the right-hand side of the screen to edit your PDF and use the ‘Download’ dropdown menu given on the left-hand side to save your edited file.

Smallpdf - Download

Note: Smallpdf offers a free trial and a premium version.

Pricing: $9/month

Website: Smallpdf


In this tutorial, we have tried to give the easiest and simplest means of editing a PDF file. The process can be as complicated as you want it to be. However, the means we have shared can be generally applied for a quick change in your pdf file.

Keep in mind that applications like Google docs allow first-hand editing and not editing the document over the page. This means that Google docs will also change the document’s formatting and you need to adjust the formatting after you have edited the file.

All the other platforms allow editing over the document (i.e. image over image) so you need not worry about the formatting going haywire. Anyways, editing a PDF file is a fairly easy task and now with this tutorial, you can do it without wasting your time in experimenting with the process.

Research Process

Time Taken To Research And Write This Tutorial: 2-3 Days
Total Tools Researched Online: 19
Top Tools Shortlisted For Review: 4

=> Contact us to suggest a listing here.