Adobe PDF files (or “Portable Document Format” to give it its full official title) were developed over 20 years ago. They were designed to enable documents to be opened and read across a wide range of platforms, independent of operating system or type of device; so, for example, an Apple Mac user could read a PDF file from their iPhone, and it would look exactly the same as on their Mac.
This feature is a major selling point of the PDF format, as it means people don’t have to worry about file or platform incompatibilities. But there is one downside to PDF files; you can’t easily edit them!
Why it’s so hard to edit PDF files
Adobe has a piece of software called Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is a premium product that enables users to convert files to and from its native PDF file format. Adobe aren’t known for knocking out cheap software, so it comes as no surprise that the majority of occasional PDF file viewers do not want to pay a minimum of £237 for some software they might only use a few times a year!
Although the company offers the Adobe Acrobat Reader program for free (this is the software used to view PDF files), it obviously makes its money from people buying the Acrobat Pro software.
The silver lining can be found in the cloud
Now you might think that the only solution for making a PDF file editable is by buying the Acrobat Pro software, but did you know that there is an easier (and free) way of doing this which everyone can use?
The solution that I am talking about, of course, is Google Docs. The only prerequisites of using Google Docs is that you have an Internet connection (because all conversions are done in your web browser), and that you have a Google account.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Google account, because it’s quick and easy to set up, and best of all it’s free! Google Docs is technically part of the Google Drive cloud storage system, so you can even store your files in the cloud and access them wherever you are, whenever you like.
Making your PDF files editable using Google Docs
Here is how you go about making your PDF files editable in Google Docs:
Step #1 – create a folder in Google Drive
Once you have created your Google account and navigated your way to Drive, you will firstly need to create a folder to store your files in (you can always delete them later if you wish):
Select the red “Create” button;
Choose the “Folder” drop-down menu item;
Type in a name for your new folder and select “OK”.
Once you have created your new folder, you will need to navigate there.
Step #2 – upload your PDF files
You are now ready to upload your PDF files into your folder. Simply press the up arrow icon next to the red Create button you chose a moment ago, and then choose “files” or “folder” depending on which option fits your requirements.
Step #3 – create an editable Google Docs file
Once you have uploaded your files, you will then need to go to the Upload Complete box, select the Settings menu and enable the “Convert text from upload PDF and image files” option. Now you can go into the file and edit it online through Google Docs!
One thing I really like about Google Docs is that the file will now be a searchable PDF!