How to Find & Replace Text in a PDF

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Adobe Acrobat enables you to locate, highlight and change certain text elements in a PDF.

PDF (Portable Document Format) files are in a final-destination file format and are notoriously difficult to change or edit. The tools in Adobe Acrobat, however, enable you to find and replace text in certain circumstances. Making these changes can be helpful if you are unable to locate or change the source file, from which the PDF was created. Keep in mind, though, that changing the PDF will make it different from the original.


Step 1

Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat. The tools for editing text are not available in Adobe Reader.

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Step 2

Enter the text you want to find in the "Find" toolbar and press the "Enter" key. Acrobat jumps to and highlights the first occurrence of the text in the PDF.


Step 3

Select the "Tools" menu, select "Advanced Editing," then select "Touchup Text Tool."

Step 4

Select the text you want to replace, if is not already selected.


Step 5

Type the new text to replace the old text.

Step 6

Click the "Next" button in the "Find" toolbar to continue to the next occurrence of the text in the PDF.

Step 7

Repeat Steps 4 through 6 for each occurrence of the text.

Step 8

Save the document frequently.


You cannot find or replace text in a raster image PDF. A raster image can be a photo or a scanned image of a document.


You can only replace text if you have the same font loaded on your system that is used in the PDF. Changing the PDF without also changing the original source file will make them different. If a new PDF is created from the original source file, the changes you made in the old PDF will not appear in the new PDF.