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Scanned PDF documents are some of the most difficult file types to work with. When you scan a document and save it directly in a PDF format, all text, diagrams, graphics and images are merged into a large image file which can't be edited. If you want to make a scanned document easier to work with, you will need to deconstruct the large image into manageable elements in the document. Let's learn the steps to edit scanned PDF files with PDFelement.

How to Edit a Scanned PDF on Windows 10

The OCR technology may sound scary, but it is really easy to use with the best program to edit scanned PDF files on Windows 10.

Step 1. Import PDF into PDFelement

Launch PDFelement and click the "Open File..." button located in the bottom left corner of the window. Select the file and click "Open" to upload your file into the software.

edit scanned pdf

Step 2. Perform OCR on Scanned Document

A pop-up message will appear to remind you to perform OCR on the scanned PDF file. Click the "Perform OCR" button and the software will ask you to choose the language source of the PDF file to assist it with recognizing the text.

how to edit scanned pdf

Step 3. Edit Scanned PDF File

Once OCR is complete, you will be able to edit the PDF file accordingly. Open the "Edit" tab to see the range of edits you can do to your scanned PDF file.

Modify the text on your PDF by clicking "Edit". Click anywhere on the document to add, delete or change the existing text. Add a new set of texts by clicking on the "Add Text" button.

Click any object in the PDF file to edit images and diagrams. You can delete the object by right-clicking it and choose the "Delete" option. You can also cut or copy objects using this step. Select the object to reposition it around your document. To add a new image file on the document, click the "Add Image" button.

how to edit a scanned pdf

Step 4. Save Edited Scanned PDF

Throughout the editing process, remember to perform "Ctrl + S" to save your work. Once you are happy with your file, go to "File" and select the "Save as" option. Choose the destination folder and then hit the "Save" button.

convert scanned pdf to editable pdf

You might be wondering how to convert scanned PDF to editable PDF file. The best scanned PDF editing tool is able to edit, convert, create, protect, sign and print your PDF files, as well as complete PDF forms without the need to print them out. PDFelement's OCR plugin is a useful feature. It does a great job retaining the appearance of the document while converting it into a readable, editable and searchable PDF file. It supports a wide range of languages (e.g. English, Korean, Italian, Bahasa Indonesia, French, German, Russian, Czech, Turkish, Arabic, Portuguese etc.) which means you can use this feature no matter what language you use.

Video on How to Edit a Scanned PDF with PDFelement

Other Solutions for Scanned PDF Editors with OCR

1. Nitro PDF Editor (Nitro Pro)

Nitro PDF editor is a program that has great functionality to edit all PDF document types including scanned documents. You can organize and clean up your documents by using the assign page number feature. You can add watermarks, bookmarks, or logos as you find necessary.


  • Add, edit, or remove PDF bates numbering
  • Offers OCR function
  • Insert, rotate, or extract individual pages


  • The price is quite high
  • Support for PDF indexing is missing
  • OCR crashes while working with large documents

Supporting OS: Windows

Price: $ 159.99

Ratings: We rate it 3 stars.

2. Adobe® Acrobat®

Adobe is a name that is quite popular in the PDF world, due to its great variety of features. However, it is packed with many features that the average user will never need. It comes with an automatic OCR that can be used to edit scanned PDF files and image-based PDF files. However, Adobe® Acrobat® XI support ended in 2017. In this case, you can click here to find out the best alternatives to Adobe Acrobat.


  • Efficient and fresh interface
  • Document cloud service is available
  • Built in PDF routing and signing


  • There is no option to undo OCR once it's performed
  • The subscription model is complicated and confusing
  • The cost is very high

Supporting OS: Windows & Mac

Price: $14.99 per month

Ratings: We rate it 4 stars.

3. Soda PDF 8

Soda PDF editor also comes with OCR support, which can be used to make scanned PDF files editable. It comes with an "Auto" function that recognizes the text automatically. The page range feature can be used to recognize the text within all images, and the functionality to convert it into PDF is also available.


  • "Entire document" function to recognize text of entire document
  • "Batch" feature to recognize text of a selected batch


  • Features need to be purchased separately
  • OCR quality is spotty

Supporting OS: Windows & Mac

Price: $40

Ratings: We rate it 4 stars

4. Apower PDF Editor - Free Scanned PDF Editor

If you need a PDF editor for image-based and scanned files, Apower PDF editor has useful OCR technology support. It also has several extra features like adding a header or footer, deleting protected data on a PDF, and form filling or form creation features are also available.


  • Convert scanned and image-based documents to editable PDFs
  • Manage pages of your PDF file


  • Unintuitive interface
  • Slow to load when working with large documents

Supporting OS: Windows

Price: Free

Ratings: We rate it 3.5.

Useful Tips for Editing Scanned PDFs with OCR

  • Before scanning the whole stack of documents, test pages with different settings and apply OCR to see how well it works on them. Use the settings where the OCR yielded the best result.
  • High quality scans give the best OCR results. As a rule of thumb, make sure the scanned document is between 300 and 600 dpi for the best OCR results.
  • Text covering overly bright or dark graphics in the original document will not be recognized by the OCR because the contrast between the two is not high enough. If this is the problem, adjust the contrast to ensure that the OCR feature will be able to read the text.
  • For the best result, use the black and white setting.
  • Make sure the source document is laid flat on the scanner bed to avoid distorted text, which will "confuse" the OCR.
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Home > How-Tos > How to Edit Scanned PDF Files Quickly
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Posted by to How-Tos
Updated on Jun 12,2019 15:45 pm

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