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How To Edit A PDF In InDesign

How To Edit A PDF In InDesign

Whether you’re a big fan of the PDF format or not, it has become part of our day-to-day lives. Invented as a smart and secure way to present your documents, this format is heavily used and often edited in work environments. However, it has also seeped into our private lives and today is used for all kinds of files, even images.

Its compatibility and neat presentation have made it exceedingly popular. Nonetheless, it does have some limitations. The main issues we encounter with PDFs is that they can be difficult to edit. While other formats can be edited without a second thought, you need to use special programs for this sort of file.

When it comes to making changes to a PDF file, InDesign is a popular choice. On this page, we will explain how to edit a PDF in InDesign, and other programs and platforms you can use to achieve the same result.

How To Edit A PDF In InDesign

InDesign is a software created by Adobe for layout and page design. It’s an editorial program, widely used to create all sorts of digital and printable items such as brochures, posters, business cards, books etc. So, the question is: how do you edit a PDF in InDesign? Read the steps below to find out:

  1. Open the file in InDesign by going to File, then Place and find the file you want.
  2. Next, use the tools to make the adjustments you need. Here are some examples:
    1. Add new text by clicking on the ‘T’ icon. This will add a text box you can write in and position wherever you like on the page.
    2. Delete text by using the paintbrush tool. Simply select the same color of the background and paint over the text you wish to delete.
    3. Add images to the document and adjust their size and position on the page as you please.
  3. Finally, don’t forget to save the new version of your document.

While InDesign offers some useful tools for editing PDFs, it does have its limitations. It’s mostly suitable for changing the layout and incorporating images, but less useful when it comes to making changes to the text.

edit pdf indesign

What You Need To Know About Editing A PDF In InDesign

Finding the best way to edit a PDF can be a bit of a minefield. While InDesign offers some useful tools and is largely compatible with this format, it may not be the best option for you. Take a look at our tips below to help you decide how to edit your PDFs:

  • InDesign is a great option for editing the images in a PDF page or making changes to the layout. It offers a wide range of tools for enhancing pictures and making your documents more attractive.
  • This program allows you to add a text box to write new text or to ‘delete’ text by covering it up, but you can’t edit existing text. If you need to make corrections or re-write parts of a PDF, you’re better off using Adobe Acrobat Pro or an online PDF editor.
  • Sometimes PDF files are saved as images, regardless of whether they contain only text. If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing you need to do is convert your file using OCR software. Once you have done this, you will be able to edit the text.
  • InDesign is an Adobe program that can be downloaded onto your device. To use it, you will have to subscribe to a membership, which can be paid monthly or yearly. You can opt for just InDesign or choose a package with other Adobe products.

Which Programs Allow You To Edit A PDF

Unlike other formats like Word, your options are a lot more limited when it comes to editing a PDF. As a general rule, we recommend using other formats to create and edit your documents and reserve PDF only for saving it once you’re finished.

However, if the document has been sent to you, and you don’t have access to the original, there are a few options for making changes to this kind of file.

Editing A PDF From A PC

From a PC, the most popular choice is to install a program such as InDesign or Acrobat Pro. Most software comes with a paid subscription, so make sure it’s the right option for what you need to do before signing up. Alternatively, you can edit your files online for free from any device.

Here are some options available on the main operating systems: Windows, Mac and Linux.


Adobe InDesign can be installed on all Windows devices. You can subscribe to the full range of Cloud products, which includes Adobe Acrobat Pro, for maximum flexibility. For a quick and cheaper solution, try an online editor like FormatPDF.


All Adobe products are also available on Mac computers, including InDesign and Acrobat Pro. Sign up for the free trial to see if it’s the right fit for your requirements and whether it’s worth the investment.


As an alternative to an online editor, you can install an open-source tool on Linux devices. Master PDF Editor, for instance, is specially designed for manipulating this file format, including editing the text.

Edit A PDF From A Smartphone Or Tablet

If you work on the go or need to make a quick change to a document when you’re not in front of your computer, you can always use your smartphone. Most online editing platforms are compatible with smartphones and tablets, and there are also apps available for both Apple and Android devices.

iPhone or iPad

If you’re one of those people that must have an app for everything, you will be pleased to know there are several apps for editing PDFs. There’s a special version of Adobe Acrobat Reader designed especially for editing these files on the go. It’s not free, but it does offer a 7-day trial if you’d like to just check it out.


If you use an Android device, you will also have a few different apps to choose from. PDFelement is designed for both opening and modifying these files. What’s more, all the basic features are free to use.

Jesse works as a freelance translator and copywriter. She has a degree in Media & Culture and is passionate about anything to do with language and writing. With a love for research and learning, she has written about all sorts of topics including Technology, Gastronomy, Travel, Nutrition and more. She currently collaborates with FormatPDF as a copywriter.
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