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How to Edit Text in a PDF Online

PDFs stand as one of the best formats for sending and receiving documents over the web. This is largely due to the fact that PDF formatting settings are preserved across all devices. This means that no matter how someone chooses to open and view a PDF, it will appear the same to all users. In this tutorial, we explain how to change PDF text using

Changing text in PDFs does come with some important drawbacks, however. It’s notoriously difficult to edit a PDF once it’s been created. Considering that most PDFs are built in document editors (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint for example), it’s usually far easier to make changes to the text of a document in the editor itself. 

Sometimes, though, this isn’t a possibility. Whether you don’t have access to the original document or need to make a quick edit, PDF.Live’s online editor allows you to make changes directly to a PDF. PDF.Live makes adding new text and erasing old text simpler than ever.

Editing current text can be somewhat difficult, though, if the free online PDF editor doesn’t have the font that was used in the original document. It may not be able to re-create the text in the exact same font, color, and size that was chosen when the PDF was built. 

That said, we’ll show you how to edit text in a PDF as well as how to delete text and create new content that may look similar to the PDF’s original text.

Can You Edit Existing Text in a PDF?

  1. Upload your PDF to the PDF.Live editor
edit pdf screenshot showing pdf live's online pdf editing tool

Find the PDF you’d like to edit the text in and click the PDF.Live editor link to get started. PDF.Live’s editor functions entirely in your web browser with no additional downloads. Either drag and drop your PDF into the editor or click Select file to Edit and navigate to where your PDF is stored on your computer. Once you’ve uploaded your PDF, click Edit PDF

  1. Click the Edit tab and select Edit text & image & shapes. 
edit text pdf online, screen shot showing where to find pdf live's text editor on the main menu

You will then be able to draw a cursor over any piece of content with your PDF. The PDF.Live editor will try to recognize whether it’s a picture, shape, or text and allow you to make adjustments to it.

Remember: Online PDF editors aren’t intended to create or design documents, the way that Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Canva are. PDF.Live is for making small edits. It has a far easier time recognizing text, images, and shapes that you’ve created using the editor. It will try its best to recognize native elements (elements created outside PDF.Live), but it may not be an exact match.  

  1. Click and drag a box over the piece of content you’d like to edit. 
edit text in a pdf with pdf live. screen shot showing how to change a word in a pdf

Using the edit text tool, we’ve selected a piece of text in our PDF. Once you’ve drawn a box, the editor will figure out what type of content you’ve selected. 

screenshot showing how to change text in a pdf online with pdf live

You’ll notice teal boxes around the word or images that you’ve selected. You’ll also notice that the editor has recognized the font color as black, the font as Times-Roman, and the size as 24.9. This won’t be entirely accurate, but it’s the closest analog that the editor has found. If you know the original font, size, and color of your text, you can make a more accurate recreation. 

  1. Type in new text or delete the original text and replace it. 

From here, you can either type in new text or delete the existing text and replace it with new text. PDF.Live’s editor treats text, images, and shapes native to your PDF as the same, so it may have a tough time editing existing text. 

In this example, we’ve just deleted the word “canoes” and added text with the word “coracles”:

screenshot showing how to change text in a pdf online with pdf live

However, because we’re the original creator of the document, we know that this specific piece of text is Helvetica-Bold with 18 point font. With these formatting settings, the text looks much more in line with the original PDF. 

screenshot showing how to change text in a pdf online with pdf live

The final result looks like this:

screenshot showing how to change text in a pdf online with pdf live

This won’t be exactly the same as if you made the changes in a document editor, but with the powerful PDF.Live editor and a few critical tweaks you can edit text in existing PDFs easily.