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How to Edit a PDF for VBS (or anything else!)

How to Edit a PDF

Hey friends! My name is Daniel with the team at Orange. Today I want to share a quick video tutorial on how to get most out of using the PDFs provided by Orange VBS or any other PDFs you might be working with for other projects. One of the most frequently asked questions our team gets is how to edit a PDF. So I’m going to break down how to do this as well as share a few programs and some online tools you can use to get these files ready to go. Let’s get started!

When deciding to edit a PDF, it’s important to first distinguish the difference between simply adding text/images and replacing text/images. Making this distinction is important because it will dictate whether the process will be free for you or not. So, first you have to ask yourself, “Am I just wanting to add text to the existing document – like adding my church’s name and logo to this VBS registration form?” Or do I want to replace existing text with my own text? And maybe I want to change the font and also replacing some of these questions with my own, essentially changing up the original design or outline. There’s a difference! Or maybe you want to do both. These will be important questions to ask yourself before you get started so you can choose the process that will be the most effective and time-efficient for you – because we all know that if we’re in the middle of VBS planning – how we use our time is important!

A Note About Word

Many aren’t aware, but if you own Microsoft Word 2019, 2016 or 2013, you already have an option to edit a PDF at your disposal. Simply, open a PDF in Word, allow it to convert the file and then edit to your hearts content. Note that this open works best with PDFs that are primarily text and not heavy on design. It’s a great alternative if you need to do some basic editing or text changes.

Adding/Inserting Text on PDFs

If you only need to add text to an existing PDF, meaning you don’t want to change anything else about this document other than adding to what is already there, then I have good news for you. There is usually no cost to edit a PDF like this, and you likely already have access to software that will allow you to do this pretty easily. So let’s highlight a couple ways you might do this.

Some programs that come included with your operating system have the ability to add text to your PDFs. The most popular ones include Adobe Reader, which is Windows and Mac compatible and Preview for Mac. Adobe Reader has the handy “Fill and Sign” tool that you can use to add text (like adding names to your VBS certificates). Preview for Macs can also do this by going to Annotate > Text and you’ll see a text box pop up on the document.

Replacing Existing Text/Images on PDFs

If you decide that you need the capability to replace existing text with your own, then your free options are limited. You may need to pay for a subscription to a web-based PDF editor to make your replacements. There are a number of options out there, the most popular being Adobe Acrobat Pro. But before you purchase anything, I recommend trying a free version of one of the many online PDF editors out there. A simple Google search like “Best Free Online PDF Editors” should do the trick. This search will produce a ton of options like PDF Elements, PDF Expert for Mac or the free online tool, PDF Escape.

My current favorite tool to edit a PDF is the Sejda Online PDF Editor (pronounced “say-duh”). This is one of the very few free PDF editors that actually lets you edit pre-existing text in the PDF without adding a watermark. Many of the free editors that support text replacement throw a giant watermark of their logo over your PDF once you try to save and download it. But Sejda is one of the few that don’t! Your main limitations with the free version is that it will only allow you to edit 3 PDFs per hour, it’s limited to PDFs fewer than 200 pages, and it doesn’t edit PDFs larger than 50MB. If you decide to go ahead and upgrade, you can choose from a $5 week-long pass, a $7.50 per month subscription, or $63 billed annually.

Lastly, the most popular option would be to bite the bullet a pay for an Adobe Acrobat DC subscription. These run between $13 – 15/month depending on your operating system or maybe a Creative Cloud subscription. The subscription to Creative Cloud gives you access to not just Acrobat but other Adobe software like Illustrator and Photoshop. And these softwares give you the greatest editing capacity.

And that’s it! I hope that gives you a few options to help you decide which is the best fit for you and your PDF editing needs. As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions at all. We’re always happy to help however we can.

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