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PDFs are a monster to edit, but these 4 free apps make it easy for you

Sending PDFs is fairly straightforward, but editing can be problematic, especially on the relatively small screen of your phone. Maybe you just have to sign a document or fill in a form. Luckily, we found easy and quick ways to edit a PDF file on an iPhone ($ 1,000 on Amazon) and on an Android phone, as well as on a Mac and a PC. I guide you through the basics of adding text, signing documents, adding annotations, and filling in forms. And best of all, all the apps and software I recommend here are free.

I should note that you can not make any changes to existing text with any of these free apps. If you're looking for paid apps that you can interact with and customize existing text, we'll work on summarizing our favorites. For more information about using all apps in this story, see the video at the top of the story.

Basic PDF Changes on a Mac

Each Mac comes bundled with a program called Apple Preview. It lets you view and edit photos and PDF files.

To start, just double-click on your PDF file and it should automatically open in the preview. If for some reason this is not the case, open your application folder and then the preview. It is the icon with a postcard of the ocean and a small magnifying glass on the corner. From there you will be prompted in a window to select the desired file. When you're done, click the blue button Open and you're back in the game.

To access the toolbar, click the Markup tool in the upper-right corner of the search box. The symbol is a pencil tip within a circle. Click on the Text tool ̵

1; it is the symbol of a letter T inside a square – and a text box will appear in the center of your document. You can move the field anywhere on the page.

To change the appearance of the text, tap the Text Style tool – it's the icon with the italic letter A. To change the size of the text box, click one of the blue dots , In this way, you can make the text box wider or narrower by dragging it to the left or right.

There are also tools for drawing and sketching. With the Draw tool, you can use the cursor to draw just about anything you want, while the Sketch tool transforms the objects you draw into shapes with a customizable fill and border , If you draw only a line or a squiggle, you can change the color and thickness with the tool Shape Style – the stacked parallel lines – or the tool Edge – the small square inside a large square , If you do not feel very artistic, you can also add pre-made shapes.


Preview offers you several ways to add and save a copy of your signature.


Maybe my favorite tool is the ability to add a signature. Click on the arrow next to the tool Sign – the italic letter J – and click on the button Create signature . You can use your trackpad to sign your signature with your finger or scan it with your Mac's built-in camera.

To use the trackpad, click the Trackpad tab, and then press the key] Click here to begin . When you have finished signing, press any key. If you like your signature, press Done . The other way to create a signature is to sign and scan your name on a piece of white paper. Instead of the Trackpad tab, select the Camera tab. Place the sheet of paper in front of the camera and align your signature on the black line. After a moment, your signature will be displayed on the screen in the camera preview. If you like, click Done .

To add one of your saved signatures, simply click on the desired one in the menu Login . Then drag and resize it and reposition it wherever your signature is needed.

To save all changes, just click Save . You can also export your changes and create a new PDF file.

Markup Mode on the iPhone

Just like the Mac, you do not need a special app for basic changes on an iPhone. Instead of the preview, there is the markup mode. To edit a PDF file in an e-mail message or in a file saved in the Book app, tap the mode icon Mark – circle with pencil tip – to begin , These are the same tools that appear on your screen after you take a screenshot.

At the bottom of the screen are various tools: highlighter, pen, pencil, and eraser. You can also tap the plus sign on the right to add text boxes, shapes, a loupe, and even signatures.

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The mark-up mode is integrated directly into iOS and allows easy editing of photos and PDF files.


If you have a signature previewed on your Mac, it's automatically synced from your iCloud account to the Markup Mode on your iPhone. Tap Add or Remove Signature and then at the top left of the screen on the plus sign to add a new one to your phone. Sign with your finger in the line and press to save Done .

If you make changes to your PDF file, you can use the arrow keys left and right above to navigate forward or backward through your additions. However, there is also an eraser tool that lets you remove unwanted drawings, sketches, or markups, regardless of the order in which you made them. PDF or if you are in Books, you can do so via the iOS sharing menu Send AirDrop, e-mail or print.

Adobe Fill & Sign on Android

Unfortunately, no system-wide PDF editing tool is created Fortunately, there is an endless list of apps for editing PDF files in the Google Play Store. For basic information, especially forms, see Adobe Fill and Sign, which is available for free at the Play Store.

First, open Adobe Fill and Sign and select your PDF file. When you open the app for the first time, you can set the app to open by default whenever you open a PDF file. When your file is open, tap anywhere on the screen and add a text box. Once you enter text, you can move the field by tapping and dragging it. You can change the size with uppercase and lowercase letters as in the top bar of the text box.

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Adding signatures and initials is easy. Adobe Fill & Sign limits itself to a signature and a set of initials. When you tap the tool for the first time, a signature line appears on the screen. Use your finger to sign your signature or initials. If you want to change your saved signatures or initials, just tap the X on the right side of the tool.

Your signature or initials are drawn on your document in a customizable box and repositioned. On the right side of the box is a small blue circle with white arrows left and right. Touch and drag the circle to the left or right to zoom in or out.

Adobe Fill & Sign also has a profile where you can store information such as your address and email address to fill out forms. To add this information to a PDF form, simply tap the field you'd like to fill in and tap the information stored in the same field in your profile.

Adobe Fill & Sign saves while editing while you continue. When you're done, you can email your PDF file and save it to Google Drive or other apps via the Android sharing menu.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC on PC

If you're working on a PC, I recommend downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. It is a free scaled-down version of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Reader DC has many powerful tools for basic editing. If you're in a mix of PCs and Macs, there's also a Mac version.

Open Reader and select the file to edit. On the Tools tab, you can select different toolsets, depending on the changes you want to make. For example, one of the toolsets is Adobe Fill & Sign.

The toolbar allows you to add text boxes, signatures, initials, shapes, and check boxes. It works very much like Preview.

One of my favorite tools in Acrobat Reader is the stamp tool. Click the Tools tab and open the Toolset Stamp . The toolbar now has a tool stamp and a tool palette stamp that contains a number of different stamp types that you can choose from, such as: For example, "Approved," http: // www. cnet.com/"Sign Here "and" Confidential ".

When you're done with the PDF changes, you can save them or export them to a new PDF or other file format, such as a Word Doc.

Now that you have several options for editing a PDF file, watch our video on how to create your own GIF.

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Originally published on the 12th of August.

Update on August 18: Explains the Cost of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

899 USD

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