Tutorial] How to Edit and Edit a Pdf File


  • #1

How to edit/edit a PDF file with LibreOffice / Acrobat Reader / Foxit Reader / InkScape


Presentation Présentation

This must have happened to you for some reason, you have needed to modify a PDF document from time to time in order to make minor changes (error corrections, updates, content addition…).

The best way to do this is to start from the file that was used to create the PDF file. There is no shortage of PDF editors who work directly with PDF, and these also provide good results, but they usually pay for themselves. We will therefore see in this Small topic some alternatives to the paid software that allow to make modifications to PDF files for free:

  • LibreOffice : For conversion from PDF to word processing format
  • Acrobat Reader : To add text and drawing annotations
  • Foxit Reader: For inserting a TextBox with formatting
  • InkScape : For editing and replacing text in PDF format

We will use the same PDF file to compare the different solutions. We will therefore try to modify the same formatted text box in this file.

1-/ FreeOffice: Conversion from PDF to word processing format


  1. The free software Community office suite allows you to open PDF files while converting them into a format usable by Writer, the Suite’s dedicated word processor.
  2. Once the PDF file is converted to Writer format, you can edit it just like any other document. Once the modifications are completed, you have the possibility to export it to PDF format.
  3. The result: With the various options of the word processor, you can modify the part of the PDF file as desired (text color, text size, font, formatting).
  4. However, be aware that the conversion of the PDF file to the LibreOffice format results in slight formatting differences.

2-/ Acrobat Reader: Add text and drawing annotations


  1. Adobe Reader offers a PDF reader with a function for adding comments and drawings. Thanks to its drawing toolbar, you will be able to hide elements of the PDF file by adding a rectangle.
  2. In order to obtain an area that blends with the background color of the document, the outline and the background color of this rectangle are modified.
  3. When the rectangle is placed over the text to be modified, you just have to add a text comment after the existing text.
  4. The result: The formatting options for comments allowed you to change the font, size, and color of the text. However, it is not possible to add bold, italic or underlined formats, which limits the possibilities.

3-/ Foxit Reader: Inserting a TextBox with formatting


  1. The PDF Foxit Reader is full of options that allow you to add dialog boxes on top of existing text.
  2. These dialog boxes allow you to completely change the text formatting. (font, size, color, bold, italic …)
  3. By changing the outline color of the dialog box, the comment can be merged with the rest of the document.
  4. The result: Adding a formatted comment text box (color, font …) on top of the existing text, allows you to display a correction in the text of a PDF file.
  5. However, the original text will remain in the document (under the commentary).

4-/ InkScape: Editing and replacing text in PDF format


  1. This is a free vector drawing software. InkScape allows you to edit a PDF file, while still maintaining the document’s formatting.
  2. To open the PDF file in InkScape, use the File menu –> Open. A window for customizing the PDF import into InkScape should then appear. It is also possible to choose the quality of the import of certain parts of the document (gradient, replacement of PDF fonts in native font …).
  3. When the document is open, choose the icon for editing text (in the left bar). Then select the text field you want to change.
  4. InkScape then recognizes text elements and their formatting (font, color, size, bold, italics, etc.).
  5. All you have to do is replace the existing text with the desired text and save the file in PDF format.
  6. The result: Unlike other solutions that rely on PDF readers (Adobe or Foxit), InkScape directly modifies the text in the file. This means that the text to be modified can be deleted completely from the document. The multiple text formatting options are quite comprehensive, in order to remain faithful to the original formatting.

5-/ Conclusion

You can find the Advantages and disadvantages of using this software to edit a PDF file in the table below:

Benefit(s) Disadvantage(s)
LibreOffice LibreOffice Modification from a complete word processing software The conversion is not perfectly faithful to the original document (formatting, layout …)
Acrobat Reader Modification directly in PDF format
  • Comment formatting options are incomplete (bold, italics …)
  • The original text remains in the document, it is simply hidden.
Foxit Reader
  • Modification directly in PDF format
  • Extensive text formatting options
The original text remains in the document, it is simply hidden.
InkScape InkScape Preserves the formatting of the original document Result file is usually larger than the original PDF file.

Your feedback is welcome




  • #2


Super awesome your tutorial !

Thank you very much. Great:



  • #3

Hi r34gtr

Thank you, it’s a pleasure ;) :)

Hoping that it will be useful for the members of the forum :)


  • #4

There is no shortage of PDF editors who work directly with PDF, and these also provide good results, but they usually pay for themselves. We will therefore see in this little topic, some alternatives to paid software that allow you to make changes to PDF files for free:??????




  • #6

Okay, that’s fine, but why don’t we just use

and it will allow you to do all of this in a matter of minutes.




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