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Can't Edit PDF? Here Is How to Fix

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2024-05-22 13:36:15 • Filed to: PDF Edit • Proven solutions

PDFs are great for disseminating information and sharing documents but when you can't edit PDF, they can also be a hassle to use. Think about it, when you have received a PDF document that is a form that needs to be filled and you can't edit it, it can be quite the problem. You could print the document and fill in the form by hand but that wouldn't be ideal if you intend to send it via email.

So what do you do when you can't edit PDF files? But more importantly, why can't you edit PDF files? Understanding why may open your eyes to the possibility of being able to edit a PDF document and ending all your PDF-related woes. This article is going to address both these questions and offer you a complete solution to help you edit PDF files easily.

Why Can't You Edit PDF?

There are lots of reasons why you cannot edit PDF files, some of them are straightforward, meaning you will have a solution in no time and others may be difficult and not very easy to solve. The following are the top 5 reasons why most people can't edit a PDF file.

1. The PDF document was created without the necessary administrative rights

Sometimes you may be unable to edit a PDF file because the creator of the document turned off the editing capability for other users. You can check the permission settings of the PDF file, if it says "read-only," you can only read the PDF and can't edit the file.

2. The PDF document is password-protected

The creator set up a password to protect PDF documents from being edited or tampered with, that's why you can't edit PDF documents.

3. Can't edit PDF with a PDF reader

Most PDF readers, like the free Adobe Acrobat Reader and Foxit PDF Reader, do not offer editing functionalities. Consider using a PDF editor that supports editing capabilities if you need to make a PDF file editable.

4. The PDF document was created with the wrong program

When the PDF document was created using a less-than-effective PDF creator, you may have trouble editing the document even when you have a PDF editor.

5. Can't edit a PDF after signing

After you sign a PDF with an eSignature service, the file is locked and becomes read-only.

6. The PDF document is image-based

If a PDF file is created from an image by a photo editor or converter, the PDF is noneditable.

7. Lack of a subscription to Acrobat

You can't edit PDF files using Acrobat with a subscription. If you have Acrobat on your computer and want to edit files with it, make sure you have a valid subscription to Acrobat.

What is PDF that Can be Edited?

Not all PDF are created equal. Here are three primary types of PDF files and how to edit PDF them respectively.

Fillable PDF: A fillable PDF incorporates fillable fields that you can edit. You can edit a fillable PDF on any PDF viewer, such as a browser, Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Text-based PDF: A text-based PDF can be edited when it is opened in a PDF editor, such as Wondershare PDFelement, Adobe Acrobat. You can easily edit text, images, links in PDF or combine, add or delete pages from PDF.

Image-based PDF: A image-based PDF can be edited after it is scanned by an OCR tool. Therefore, you will need a PDF editor with OCR function to edit a scanned or image-based PDF.

How Can I Edit a PDF File that Can't be Edited?

Most of the reasons why you can't edit PDF files have to do with the software you are using. If you use the wrong or substandard software, you may be unable to edit a PDF document. You therefore need the best software in the business and that can only be Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor. The main reason why it is the best is that it perfectly marries simplicity and efficiency. The following are some of the features that make PDFelement the ideal choice.

Edit PDF with a powerful PDF editor

  • It allows the user to not only open PDF documents to view but also edits them. You can add and remove text or images.
  • It can be used to annotate PDF documents. You can add comments, highlight, and even add custom stamps to the document.
  • It also comes with an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature that turns image-based into fully editable documents without altering the layout.
  • PDFelement makes convert PDF to other formats very quick and easy. It can change PDF to MS Office formats, Text, Image, HTML, and so on.
  • It can combine multiple PDF files into one PDF or one image at once easily.
  • It allows you to compare two PDF files to find out the differences between them quickly and clearly.

Here's how to use it to edit PDF documents. Begin by installing the program to your computer and then follow these simple steps to edit the PDF.

Step 1: Open the PDF

To open the PDF, drag and drop the file to the main window of the program or click the "Open PDF" button on the Home window in PDFelement.

cannot edit pdf

Step 2: Edit PDF Text and Images

To edit the text in the PDF, click on "Edit" and then click on the text you would like to edit and a text box will appear where you can make changes. You can also edit images if you want. When you click on the image you want to edit, a box will appear around it. Drag the box to resize or rotate the image.

edit pdf that cant be edited

Step 3: Edit PDF Pages

You can add pages to the PDF document by clicking on "Page" and then "Insert". Choose whether you want to add a "Blank Page" or add a page "From PDF". You can also delete a page by clicking on "Delete".

pdf that can be edited

Step 4: Edit PDF Links

You can edit the links in the PDF document by clicking on "Edit" and then "Add Link". Double click on the linked text to open a dialog box where you can alter the link properties. To delete a link, right-click on the linked text and then choose "Delete".

how can you edit pdf file

Step 5: Edit Fonts and Colors

To change the font and colors, click on the "Edit" button. Now click on the text you want to change and when the text box appears, select the text. Choose a font from the available by clicking on the drop-down menu next to the font type. The font color is right next to it.

how can i edit pdf file

Remove password protection from PDF

How can you edit PDF with a password protection? You can easily remove the password protection with a PDF editing tool like Adobe Acrobat or Wondershare PDFelement.

To remove protection from PDF with Acrobat, go to Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Remove Security. Then enter the password and click OK.

To remove password encryption with PDFelement, go to Protect > Encrypt. Then uncheck the Permission Password. Enter the password and click Save.

edit protected pdf

If you have forgotten the password, you can print the PDF file to make a editable copy. Open the PDF file in a PDF editor, go to File > Print to make a copy.

Edit PDF without administrative rights

If a PDF file can't be edited because it is read-only, you can reach out to the owner to modify permission settings. Alternatively, you can apply a workaround by converting the PDF to Microsoft Word and then saving it as a PDF again using Microsoft Word. You can then edit the new PDF. however, it's important to note that converting PDF to Word may alter the formatting.

Edit a PDF after signing it

If you've requested an eSignature from someone using a eSignature tool, you might find that editing is restricted since the signer can manually lock the PDF after signing.

How can you edit the PDF file again? You'll need to return the PDF to the unsigned version, make your changes, and then send the file out again for signature.

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Buy PDFelement right now!

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Audrey Goodwin

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