How to Edit in Adobe Reader

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In our world of technology, faxing and mailing documents are becoming more and more obsolete. Printing PDF documents and completing forms by hand can be seen as unprofessional and may prove illegible in some cases. Forms, legal documentation and other paperwork often are emailed so that they can be electronically completed and instantly returned to the sender. Adobe Reader is the most commonly used program to open PDF files. It is often overlooked as a means to edit such files and save valuable time and effort because it is a reader and not the full version of the Adobe application. However, Adobe Reader 9 has the capability to edit PDF documents.

Before the Edit

Step 1

Open your PDF document using Adobe Reader 9. (It is available as free download if you don't have it. See Resources.) Review and examine the format of the document.

Step 2

Go to the Document>Security>Show Security Properties from the main menu options. A new screen will appear called Document Properties. This screen will give you an idea of what the author of the document has given you permission to edit, change or add to the document.

Step 3

Review the document to ensure that it is complete and legible.

Filling Out Form and Signing A Document

Step 1

Move your cursor to the first form field and fill in the appropriate information. The cursor will automatically adjust as you move over the different types of form fields. You will see the text tool when over the text form fields. When you are over drop-down lists, radio buttons, or checkboxes, your cursor will become a pointing hand tool.

Step 2

Use the Tab key to move through the form, entering all information necessary to complete the form. The Escape key can be used to delete information mistakenly entered in a field.

Step 3

Depending on the rights that the author has set for the document, on the File menu you will either be able to Save a Copy of your completed document (you will not be able to rename it if this is the only option) or Save As (you can rename the document).

Step 4

Go to Document> Sign> Sign Document to add a signature to a document. A new window will pop up and will guide you through the process of creating a new signature or selecting one that has been previously stored.


After reviewing your form or document, it is not necessary to save it first. You are able to go to File> Attach to Email and use your default email program to immediately send your document. Then you can save a copy on your local hard drive if the document is time sensitive.


If you are having issues editing a form or document, the author may have not saved the appropriate permissions. In this case, you are not able to make adjustments to the document settings and will need to inform the sender that the document permissions need to be changed and request that the document be re-sent.

Adobe Reader 9 is not able to make changes to the original document itself. If the author enables commenting, you can add comments and editing notations to a PDF document.

references & resources