Want to edit a PDF but find difficulty? Don't worry. It's a very common problem. This article will explain why you can't edit PDFs and provide the solution.

Many reasons can cause the can’t edit PDF problem. To end your troubles faster, we will explain the solution along with the reason.

A quick and worthwhile method to try before troubleshooting the problem is to use a different PDF editor. It can determine if the problem is with the existing software. Click the download button to get one reliable Adobe Acrobat alternative.

Still can’t edit PDF? Then, read on to find out why and how to fix it.

Part 1. Common Fixes to Can’t Edit PDF

You open the PDF file and try to edit it, but you can't do anything. Why can’t I edit a PDF? Here are some of the most common causes and solutions.

Reason 1. The PDF has permission settings or is password protected.

One of the reasons for the popularity of PDFs is the ability to adjust permissions. PDF creators can set the permissions to “read-only” or set a password to prevent others from modifying, copying, and printing the PDF.

Solution: Ask the owner of the PDF for the password or a version without permission; Convert the PDF to Word and convert it back to PDF.

When you want to convert the PDF, you can use online or offline tools. Here, SwifDoo PDF is recommended. Its online converter is famous for its fast speed. It can help you convert PDF to Word and vice versa for free. You can click the button below to access the online service.

SwifDoo Online Converter

If the PDF format is complex, it is more recommended to use its desktop app. It can help you convert PDF to Word without losing formatting and vice versa. You can click the download button below to get it.

Choose PDF to Word on the homepage and add the PDF you want to convert.

PDF to Word

Reason 2. The PDF is image-based.

The PDF may be scanned or image-based without selectable or editable text. In this case, you can’t select text in PDF, let alone edit it.

Solution: Apply OCR technology to make the PDF editable.

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition technology. Below are the steps to apply OCR via SwifDoo PDF.

  • Open the PDF with SwifDoo PDF > Choose Convert and select OCR.


  • Adjust the document language and other settings.
  • Click OK and wait for a few seconds.

OCR Settings

Reason 3. The PDF was created from a wrong program.

If the PDF was created with an outdated or inefficient tool, you may get errors when editing it.

Solution: Use a professional and reliable PDF editor like SwifDoo PDF to create and edit PDFs.

SwifDoo PDF has a rich editing toolkit and is easy to use. It is ideal for both professionals and novices.

Edit PDF with SwifDoo PDF

Part 2. Can’t Edit PDF in Adobe

Adobe Acrobat is arguably the most famous PDF tool. However, you find that it can not help you edit PDF files.

Why can’t I edit my PDF in Adobe Acrobat?

Well, chances are that your Adobe does not support editing. Please note that Adobe Acrobat Reader only allows you to view PDFs.

Solution: Upgrade to Pro; Ensure Adobe Acrobat is up-to-date; Use another PDF editor.

  • If you want to use the editing feature, please upgrade to a paid version like Adobe Acrobat Pro.
  • If you have upgraded to the pro version, make sure the software is up to date. To do so, click the Menu icon > Choose Help and select Check for update.

Check for update

  • In addition, you can use SwifDoo PDF to edit PDFs. The software is feature-rich and offers a 7-day free trial that lets you experience all the features, including editing PDFs.

Part 3. Can’t Edit PDF After Saving

Why can’t I edit my PDF after saving it?

  • You accidentally set the permissions.
  • The file might be corrupted.
  • After saving a PDF form using Adobe Acrobat, all other form fields may be locked and can no longer be modified.

Solution: Remove the permissions; Repair the corrupted PDF; Unlock the form fields.

Steps to unlock form fields:

  • Open PDF with Adobe Acrobat. Choose the Prepare Form tool.

Prepare Form

  • Select the form field that you want to unlock.
  • Right-click the form field and choose Properties.
  • Uncheck the Locked and Read Only checkbox.
  • Check the Locked checkbox and click Close.
  • Click Edit, and you can edit the PDF as needed.

Part 4. Can’t Edit PDF After Signing

Why can't I edit a PDF after signing?

In fact, after the signer signs the PDF, the PDF becomes read-only for everyone. A digital signature is an encryption mechanism that ensures a document cannot be tampered with after signing.

Solution: Go back to the unsigned version. To unlock a PDF for editing after signing, you must return to the unsigned version. If necessary, you can re-sign the document after editing.

Final Words

That’s all about how to fix can’t edit PDF problem. Hopefully, with the help of this article, you can successfully solve the problem and edit the PDF as needed.

Anyway, it is better to use a professional PDF editor when creating and editing PDFs, which can effectively avoid all kinds of mistakes. If you think Adobe Acrobat is too complicated, then SwifDoo PDF will be a good choice!

Lena has been in the editing industry for 8 years. She is familiar with a variety of products that can make things easier, such as PDF tools, video recording software, iOS location changer, etc. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with users to help them solve problems in their work and life. In her spare time, she likes to play with her cat.

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