Historically, PDF documents were easy to produce and share, which helped them rise to prominence in business. Today, nearly every business uses PDFs to communicate with clients and record information, but many businesses still have difficulties editing PDFs. A common workaround includes editing another kind of document then scanning or converting it into a PDF file whenever any change is necessary. This process is time-consuming and fraught with disorganization as there are multiple copies of each document. We answer two questions: why is it difficult to edit a PDF document, and are there any tools to overcome those challenges?
Obstacles That Impede PDF Document Editing
The reason PDFs are generally difficult to edit is they are image files intended to be viewed on any computer using any operating system. When PDFs were first designed in the 1990s, Windows-based computers were the most common with Apple’s Macintosh computers holding a visible minority, especially among artists and graphic designers. Due to this split, many file formats did not function on both operating systems, which caused a problem for businesses, schools and governmental agencies.
Adobe bridged this gap using PDFs by creating a version of its PDF reader for each operating system. While this solved the problem of reading the document on any computer, it created a new challenge: limiting how the documents could be edited. Initially, only Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator could edit PDFs. These programs packed a lot of power, but the interfaces were unwieldy for business documents compared to word processors such as Microsoft Word. Since PDFs are image files, the Office suite could work with them as images, but not the text contained within the PDF. This limitation was due to the lack of optical character recognition (OCR) software.
Overcoming the Difficulties of Editing PDF Files
Today, individuals and businesses have access to technology that solves both of those problems. PDFs are no longer proprietary technology overseen by a single company. Instead, they are business standards and many companies develop software that works with them. Other companies have also developed advanced OCR technology, which is essential to convert an image of a letter into something that word processors can use.
Thanks to these technologies, it’s now possible to easily edit PDF documents in many ways. You can turn them into fillable forms by designating areas that other users can input information. Companies can redact sensitive information, remove unnecessary pages or compile multiple PDF documents into a single, larger one. You can even search through PDF files as if they were Word documents, locating and editing specific blocks of text or patterns of text.
Helpful Tools for Editing PDF Documents
Not every program can easily edit PDFs. Power PDF is an ideal choice to view, edit and share PDF files in working or educational settings. This program easily integrates into the Microsoft Office suite and is intuitive for new users. It contains all the powerful functions described above as well as numerous security options to ensure no one has unwanted access to PDFs. As a result, the best way to edit a PDF is with Power PDF.