Using a PDF program is a great tool when you want to send a document electronically that you don't anyone to be able to edit. But what about when you're on the receiving end of a PDF that you want to make changes to, like an online application?
Those blank grey fields stare back at you, mocking your attempts to click on them. Before you find yourself printing the document and filling it in by hand, check out some simple tools to outsmart those PDF editing restrictions.
For easy and quick edits, I like to use an online tool from PDFEscape.com. This handy online PDF editor lets you insert text notes (annotate), fill in forms, even create new forms boxes. Just click on"Click Here to Use PDFescape Now Free" and follow the steps to upload your PDF - you don't have to download any software onto your computer.
Choose the "Start using unregistered" option if you just have one document to edit, or register to save files and access them over and over. Once you've uploaded the PDF from your computer, select the edit options on the top left side of your screen. Here you can add text, use whiteout, add images or links, create a form field, or add lines. When you're done, download and save or print your edited document.
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One of the drawbacks to PDFEscape is privacy; you're basically uploading your files to someone else's server. If you're editing sensitive PDFs, consider something a bit more secure, like PDF-XChange Viewer. You can download PDF-Xchange and then just click on "Get Free PDF-Xchange Viewer NOW!"
Once you download and install it, you can elect to make it your default PDF viewer. If you make it your default program, simply click on any PDF file to open the program. If you decline to set it as your default PDF viewer, simply open the program and drag and drop a file into it, or right click a PDF, choose "Open With," and select PDF-Xchange Viewer.
Under "Tools" you'll see "Comment and Markup Tools." If you want to fill out a form, choose theTypewriter tool and click anywhere on the PDF that you'd like to add text to. From this menu you can highlight, add text boxes and annotate the document.
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With these FREE programs you're still a bit limited. You're basically just writing on the document, but what if you want to edit the actual text in the PDF? At that point you will need a paid software program like, Nitro Pro, a full-featured program that lets you do just about anything you'd want to do to a PDF including editing text or converting scanned documents into editable PDFs.
Let us know if you try any of these OR if you've had a situation where you wanted/needed to edit a PDF but couldn't. Do you think this is potentially dangerous/controversial? (Remember, if you can edit their documents, they can edit yours!) We want to know what you think.
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Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and electronics repair service for consumers and businesses. Andrea established the company with her husband, Ryan, from a spare room in their home in Redding, Calif., in March 2004. Andrea is a writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures that speaks to the novice techno user. To ask your puzzling tech questions email her at firstname.lastname@example.org