How to Replace Text in PDF Files

By Cooper Temple

Portable Document Format (PDF) files are representations of printable source material that, because of their ability to be accessed using a PDF reading program, may be viewed by users with varying systems. PDF files may contain a mixture of images and text. If you lose the source material from which the PDF was created, or if you never had access to it, it may be difficult to perform edits to the document, such as replacing text. With the right program, you may replace text in PDF files by following a few steps.

Things You'll Need

  • PDF writing program

Use a Commercial PDF Writing Program

Step 1

Download and install a fee-based PDF creating program to your computer. Prior to selecting one of the many available PDF creating programs, ensure that it has a feature that allows you to replace text within a PDF. Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is used in the following steps, has this feature. Before purchasing Acrobat Pro, which is somewhat costly, try the free trial version (see Resources section).

Step 2

Open Acrobat Pro and launch the PDF file that contains the text that you want to replace. Click once on the "Open" button to launch the "Open" dialog box. Locate the folder in which the PDF file is saved using the "Look in" drop-down menu. Double click on the file name to open it.

Step 3

Click once on the "Tools" drop-down menu and once on the "Advanced Editing" option to generate a list of available editing options. Click once on the "TouchUp Text Tool" option. Acrobat Pro will perform a text recognition cycle within the document that could take a minute or so, depending on the size of the PDF file.

Step 4

Highlight a portion of text that you want to replace within the PDF file by clicking once at the beginning of the selection and dragging to the end while holding down the mouse button. Begin typing the new text. You will notice that the original text is replaced with the new text that you type. Use caution, as the replaced text will not "wrap" to a new line. It will continue to the right.

Step 5

Repeat step 4 as necessary to replace text within the PDF file. To edit replaced text, highlight a desired section. Right click over the selection and select the "Properties" option. This will generate a "Properties" window that will allow you to adjust the appearance of the text, such as font and font size. Remember to save the changes to the PDF by clicking once on the "File" menu and selecting "Save."

Use a Free PDF Writing Program

Step 1

Download and install a free PDF creating program to your computer. Before selecting a free PDF creating program, ensure that it has a feature that allows you to replace text within a PDF. PDFill, which is used in the following steps, has this feature, and may be downloaded at the PDFill web site (see Resources section).

Step 2

Open "PDFill PDF Editor" and launch the PDF file that contains the text that you want to replace. Click once on the "Open" button to launch the "Open" dialogue box. Locate the folder in which the PDF file is saved using the "Look in" drop-down menu. Double click on the file name to open it.

Step 3

Click once on the "Whiteout" button on the PDFill standard toolbar. It is an icon with a white rectangle on it. Place the cursor in the upper left of the section of text that you want to replace and drag to the lower right of the section while holding down the mouse button. This will "whiteout" the existing text.

Step 4

Click once on the "SingleLine Text Tool" button on the PDFill standard toolbar. It is an icon with a single line text box image on it. Place the cursor in the upper left of the section of text in which you want to type replacement text and drag to the lower right of the section while holding down the mouse button. You may then begin typing in the replacement text. If you want to replace more than one line of text, use the "MultiLine Text Tool." The process is the same for both.

Step 5

Repeat steps 3 and 4, as necessary, to replace text within the PDF file. The text boxes may be moved to different locations by clicking on the border and dragging to a new area while holding down the mouse button. Remember to save the changes to the PDF by clicking once on the "File" menu and selecting "Save."