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Home / Blog / [3 Methods] How to Make a PDF Editable for Free

[3 Methods] How to Make a PDF Editable for Free

By Roche | Follow twitter | Updated on September 4, 2022 | Deutsch
First of all, PDF has long benefited from the nature of this file format: stability and consistency. That can well explain why users tend to distribute and share their documents in PDF. However, these characteristics make PDFs hard to edit. Therefore, how to make a PDF editable remains to be a burning question.

How do I make a PDF editable so that editing a PDF document is as easy as editing an MS Word document? This post will introduce several feasible methods to make an editable PDF.

What Is an Editable PDF?

PDF is not a new file format for most of us living in this digital era. A real or editable PDF containing both text and images is usually created by Microsoft Office Suite or virtual printers. Truth be told, a PDF document is designed to be non-editable without the assistance of an outside source, specifically a PDF editor. In other words, if you need to make a PDF editable, a dedicated PDF editor is a must.

In the following paragraphs, we will shed some light on how to make an editable PDF on Windows and macOS.

How to Make a PDF Editable on Windows

SwifDoo PDF: A Reliable Converter to Make an Editable PDF

SwifDoo PDF is definitely an easy-to-use desktop PDF program on Windows. Without a cluttered user interface and too many rarely used features scattered across the menu bar, SwifDoo PDF hopes to simplify the process of working with PDF documents. More than 30 different features turn SwifDoo PDF into a suitable PDF program to convert PDF to an editable PDF. In this section, we will provide two different approaches to making a PDF editable on Windows:


Even with a professional PDF editor, some users still feel uneasy to write on a PDF document directly and are still apt to edit a Word document. The most straightforward method to make a PDF editable is to convert it to an editable Word file. Check out how SwifDoo PDF Converter makes a PDF editable with a couple of clicks:

Step 1: Get SwifDoo PDF from the official website or Microsoft AppSource and install it;

Step 2: Open a PDF document using the program, then navigate to the top menu to click Convert;


Step 3: In the Convert tab, select PDF to Word to convert the PDF to an editable Word document.

                                                                              Free Download

You can easily make a PDF editable using the method. Nevertheless, this solution only applies to standard PDF documents. Once your PDF document is a scanned copy, the conversion result may be an image-only PDF as well. In other words, users cannot make changes to the non-editable text within the scanned PDF document, as a page is actually an image layer.

If you want to know if there’s any method that can directly make a PDF editable, the answer is yes. With the support of a PDF OCR engine like SwifDoo PDF, you’ll figure out how to effortlessly make PDF files editable.


A qualified PDF editor enables users to write on a PDF document directly, thus converting it to an editable PDF. Follow the instructions below to get the hang of it:

Step 1: Open a PDF document in SwifDoo PDF;

Step 2: Select Edit or Insert Text from the Edit tab;


Step 3: When the text boxes pop up, enter the text to modify the current page freely.

When you edit the PDF text, SwifDoo PDF allows changing the font style, color, and size; adding an underline or strikethrough; and italicizing the text. If needed, different features have been developed to fully meet the need for editing a PDF document, such as whitening, adding background or images, inserting links, and OCRing. For more information about how to write on a PDF, read the following post.
How to Directly Type on a PDF [Online & Offline]

How to Directly Type on a PDF [Online & Offline]

We want to directly edit the PDF from time to time, just like we do in Word. How can I type on a PDF? Read on to find out several methods to type on PDFs.


What if your PDF is a scanned PDF? SwifDoo PDF’s excellent OCR engine can skillfully deal with scanned copies and convert a PDF to an editable PDF. Many PDF products have widely integrated OCR to recognize handwritten or printed characters within PDFs. This technology will help convert an image-only PDF into a searchable or editable PDF file.

Step 1: Open a scanned PDF using SwifDoo PDF;

Step 2: Click Edit to choose OCR;

Step 3: When the Recognize Document dialog pops up, choose how to output the scanned PDF and specify the page range. Hit the OK button to OCR the PDF.

To ensure a better conversion result, one should choose “Document Language”. Your scanned PDF will be converted to an editable file in a short time.

How to Make a PDF Editable on macOS

When it comes to editing a PDF document on macOS, Preview may be the first application on your mind. However, we need to break this fact: Preview cannot convert a PDF into a Word file or directly edit a PDF file. Under these circumstances, we need the help of a more professional PDF application.

PDF Expert

Recently, PDF Expert released a big update to enable converting PDFs into editable Word files; therefore, users can directly edit a PDF like a Word document. This long-awaited functionality makes this application a full-featured PDF editor on macOS. We’ll cover how to make a PDF editable by converting the PDF into a Word document:

Step 1: Download PDF Expert from the App Store, and open a PDF document using the program;

Step 2: Select Export from the top menu, then Word from the sub-navigation bar;

Step 3: Your PDF document will be converted to an editable Word file in a short time. If necessary, you can share the file with other apps.

PDF Expert is more than a PDF converter; it can directly edit a PDF.

Step 1: Open a PDF document in PDF Expert;

Step 2: Select Edit > Text in the menu bar;

Step 3: Place your cursor on the text you need to modify. When finished editing, remember to save the changes to the document.

If your PDF contains fillable forms and you need to make these forms editable, just fill out the form with a complete set of tools provided by PDF Expert. This application supports invoices, W9 tax forms, contracts, insertion orders, inspection forms, and sales orders. For more details, the related post covers what you need.

Best Free PDF Form Fillers and Creators [Online & Offline]

Best Free PDF Form Fillers and Creators [Online & Offline]

If you need to insert a form into the PDF to display data, click in this post to know how to create a fillable PDF form with online and desktop PDF programs.


How to Make a PDF Editable Online for Free

Google Drive

You may never expect a cloud service provider to make an editable PDF. Of course, these two have no direct relationship, though. But what if Google Drive can really do that? No need to rush; here are the steps to create an editable PDF in Google Drive for free:

Step 1: Choose New on the top left and upload your PDF document to the Drive workspace;


Step 2: Right-click on the PDF to select Open with;


Step 3: In the drop-down menu, choose Google Docs or DocHub. After that, your PDF will be converted into an editable PDF, and you can feel free to make any changes to the document.


Obviously, Google Drive is a reliable free web-based PDF converter to create an editable PDF. However, for non-standard PDF files, such as scanned copies or image-only PDFs, the formatting and page layout will drive you nuts because everything in the document is wrongly placed, and some text will disappear. This may be a big issue using this free online platform. Considering Google Drive is only a cloud service provider rather than a dedicated PDF program, the performance is quite desirable.

Wrapping Up

Whether you ever think about how to make a PDF editable, it’s not that hard when you have so many good PDF editors to choose from. Let’s hope the several tools mentioned can help you easily make an editable PDF.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I make a PDF editable in Word?

A: In case you need to make a PDF editable in Word, the PDF document itself should be a standard PDF. When ready, follow the guide below to edit a PDF in Word:

Step 1: Launch Microsoft Word, go to File > Open menu, then choose the PDF file you want to edit;
Step 2: This PDF will be automatically converted to an editable Word document by Word. Feel free to make any edits to the document;
Step 3: Navigate to File > Save As now. Select PDF from the Save as Type dropdown menu rather than Word Document. You now have a revised PDF file that you may distribute as you choose.

Please note that MS Word is not a professional PDF converter so the converted PDF may not resemble the original one, especially if it has several interactive elements.

Q: How do I make a locked PDF editable?

A: If your PDF files are protected by the permission password, you can choose either decrypt this PDF or remove the password. Decrypting a PDF means typing in the password while removing the password to bypass the password. By adopting any method, you can convert your PDF into an editable one. Whatever you choose to make a locked PDF editable, SwifDoo PDF can be a trustworthy working partner.



Roche has been an active PDF user for 6 years and tried different types of professional PDF tools (both online and desktop version) since at his bachelor degree. Now, Roche works as a columnist for SwifDoo PDF over the course of the last one year, and provides useful and practical solutions pertaining to various PDF topics for users from different features.

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