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Unlocking Free Ways to Create Editable PDFs: 4 Cutting-Edge Methods

Dec 15, 2023

In today's digital landscape, PDFs are the linchpin of information exchange and documentation. They seamlessly facilitate the sharing, preservation, and presentation of content across a multitude of domains, be it in business, education, or personal use. Nonetheless, there are occasions when the demand for editable PDFs takes precedence. In this exploration of the most up-to-date methods, we introduce four innovative and cost-effective approaches that can metamorphose your static PDFs into dynamic, editable documents. Whether you are a professional seeking an efficient solution or a student looking to add annotations and tailor your study materials, these cutting-edge techniques provide you with the means to fully harness the potential of your PDFs without straining your budget.

What do you understand by editable PDF?

An editable PDF is a type of Portable Document Format file that allows you to make changes, additions, or annotations to its content. Unlike standard, non-editable PDFs, which are usually locked to prevent modifications, editable PDFs grant users the ability to alter text, add images, insert or delete pages, fill out forms, and make various other adjustments using PDF editing tools or software. This flexibility makes editable PDFs highly versatile and suitable for tasks like form completion, collaborative document editing, and customization to meet specific needs.

An editable PDF is primarily composed of text, which can be modified or revised using a PDF editor. These text-based PDFs are usually generated by directly saving a document as a PDF from software such as Microsoft Word or similar applications. As long as they haven't been secured with password protection, text-based PDFs can be edited to suit your specific requirements.

Exploring PDF Editing Options in Windows

Windows does not come with its own native, fully-featured PDF editor. While Windows 10 and later versions have a built-in PDF viewer through Microsoft Edge, which allows you to view PDF files, it does not offer comprehensive editing capabilities. 

To edit PDFs on Windows, you often need third-party PDF editing software or online tools. Some of these tools offer both free and paid versions, giving you the ability to make various edits to PDF documents, such as adding or editing text, adding annotations, and more.

However, to edit a PDF on this operating system, one approach is to convert the PDF into a Word file:

For more advanced PDF tasks, consider using the Wisecleaner PDF Editor, where you can add annotations, mark up text, and even convert PDF files to different formats, such as images or Word files.

Creating Editable PDFs on a Windows System With the Wisecleaner PDF Editor

The Wisecleaner PDF Editor is a comprehensive PDF file management solution for Windows. With this tool, you can not only view PDF files for free but also efficiently create, merge, split, compress, and add annotations to PDF documents. It stands as a top-tier alternative to Adobe Acrobat on the Windows platform. 

There are numerous compelling reasons to consider opting for this comprehensive tool. Wise PDF Editor is designed with user-friendliness in mind, offering a wide array of essential features for efficient PDF file management. It neatly organizes a variety of PDF tools under distinct tabs, making them readily accessible through a convenient search function.

The layout of Wise PDF Editor mirrors the familiar design of popular Microsoft Office applications. This intuitive arrangement ensures that you can effortlessly locate the tools you need to effectively edit your PDF files.

Enhanced security is another standout feature, with the option to protect your sensitive data and confidential information using both user passwords and permission passwords. The software also supports the addition of watermarks to your documents, bolstering copyright protection.

Sharing information has never been simpler with Wise PDF Editor. You can easily attach your file to an email, Dropbox, or Google Drive, allowing for one-click sharing. Alternatively, you can print the document and share it with friends.

Furthermore, Wise PDF Editor is a lightweight software solution that minimizes disk space consumption compared to other PDF software. Its swift download and installation process ensures that it won't overburden your system resources.

Some of the most appealing features of Wise PDF Editor include:

PDF Editing: Access a comprehensive suite of PDF editing tools, including the creation of PDFs from various sources, text manipulation, page management, theme customization, and more.

PDF Conversion: Seamlessly convert files between PDF and various formats, such as Word, Excel, images, and more. The software can also transform scanned or image-based PDFs into searchable and editable documents using OCR.

PDF Merging/Splitting: Merge multiple PDFs into a single document and split large PDFs into smaller, manageable segments.

PDF Compression/Extraction: Reduce PDF file sizes without compromising quality, and efficiently extract specific pages to create individual PDF files.

Using Wise PDF Editor is quite a straightforward process:

Step 1:  Install and open Wise PDF Editor, then access the upper-left corner drop-down menu. Choose "Open" from the menu.

Step 2:  Locate the PDF file you want to edit.

Step 3: After completing your desired edits, save the document as either a Word file or a PDF. Within the Save menu, select the appropriate document format from the "Save as" dropdown menu and click "OK."

Enabling PDF Editability in Preview on a Mac

The bundled Preview app on Mac OS is your versatile tool for viewing and manipulating PDF and image files. It offers a wide range of functions, allowing you to view, print, rotate, resize, rename, highlight, annotate, bookmark, share, export, and even make edits to PDFs. The 'Markup' toolbar provides options to sketch and add shapes, text, signatures, notes, and more to your PDF documents.

However, it is important to note that while Preview allows you to add content to PDFs, it doesn't support direct editing of existing text. To modify the text, you will need to use a workaround by whiting out the original text and adding new text in its place. Preview also lacks OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capabilities, meaning it cannot convert scanned PDFs into editable formats.

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Open PDF with Preview App

Step 2: Click on the Markup toolbar

Step 3: Now tap on the “T” icon to add a new text field to a blank area of your PDF

Step 4: Finally, click on “A” icon to change font style or size, input your texts

Creating Editable PDFs Using Online Tools

This web-based PDF editor empowers you to make direct modifications to your PDF files. You can insert various texts, and images, or even draw shapes like boxes, circles, and arrows on your PDF pages. Moreover, it enables you to highlight specific passages or include watermarks within the PDF.

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Upload the file you intend to edit.

Step 2: Select a page thumbnail located on the left side.

Step 3: Pick an editing tool from the menu positioned above the preview.

Step 4: Utilize the full-size PDF image to draw, write, and make various edits. You have the option to zoom in and out using the magnifying glass buttons, undo changes, reset the entire page, and more.

Step 5: Adjust settings like color, font, stroke size, and more by accessing the "Options" menu situated on the left.

Step 6: Click "Save" and then select "Save" once more to receive your edited PDF.


1. Is it possible to convert a non-editable PDF into an editable format?

For certain read-only PDF files, you can enable editing by removing the read-only attribute in the file properties. Right-click the file, choose Properties, uncheck the Read-only box, and click OK. Alternatively, you can employ online or offline PDF converters to transform your PDF into an editable file format.

2. Why is editing a PDF for free not always possible?

PDF documents may be encrypted with password protection, restricting editing unless you have the password to unlock it. Your PDF reader might offer only viewing capabilities, preventing you from making edits. Some PDFs are generated with outdated or inefficient software, making editing a challenging task. The editing tool you're using may be too intricate or difficult to navigate for simple PDF modifications.

3. How to determine if a PDF document is editable?

When you open a scanned or image-based document, you will notice the presence of a yellow bar on the screen. This bar serves as an indicator, informing you whether the current document contains editable text or not. This feature is especially useful for quickly assessing a document's editability.


As we navigate an increasingly digital world, the ability to create and edit PDFs is becoming more crucial than ever. Fortunately, we have explored four innovative, cost-free methods to make PDFs editable. These cutting-edge techniques offer flexibility and efficiency to annotate and customize PDFs. By embracing these methods, you can unlock the full potential of your PDF documents without burning a hole in your pocket.