How to Unlock PDF Files for Editing

By Lanae Carr

Since they are highly secure, PDF files cannot be easily edited by recipients. Adobe created the document type as an easy way of sharing files between computers and over the Internet, giving the file type its name--portable document format. However, more and more organizations use PDF files to share information in a format they do not want to be altered. You will find that many documents you receive in PDF format are well suited to other uses and can be used as a template to create a new document. If you would like to edit the PDF file to tailor it to a new use, you must first unlock the document by converting it to a word-processor file.

Things You'll Need

  • Word processor

Step 1

Upload your PDF document to a free online file-conversion website if you do not have Adobe Acrobat Professional. If you have a copy of Adobe Acrobat professional, open the PDF document and export it to Word by clicking the "Export" shortcut.

Step 2

Select the type of word-processor file you wish to create in the drop-down menu. Microsoft Word documents have the extension .doc while WordPerfect files have the extension .wpd.

Step 3

Enter your email address. If you are not already a subscriber to an online-conversion website, the system will need your email address to send you a link to your new document once the conversion process is complete.

Step 4

Download your converted file in your word processor. Edit the document as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Text documents are the easiest PDF documents to edit in a word processor, as they rarely appear as images in the file.
  • Graphics, charts and other stylized formatting will appear as images in your word-processor file and can not be edited. Outside of modifying the object as you would an image, for example cropping, adjusting brightness or darkness, you must use these graphics as is or delete them from the new document.