Can Adobe Reader Edit PDF? The Best Alternative Explored

Have you ever tried to use Adobe Reader to Edit PDF but found that there was no way to change existing text or images? Many users of the free Adobe Reader discover that editing PDF just can't be done in the Adobe Acrobat Reader app. What's more, even the premium products such as Acrobat DC and Pro DC essentially become another version of the free PDF reading application once the free trial period elapses. You can make annotations such as comments or highlight text and even fill and sign interactive PDF forms. However, unless you have a subscription or a perpetual license, that's pretty much all you can do.

Now compare this with another application called UPDF. It's a 100% free application but it is a full-fledged PDF editor with all the necessary tools for editing, converting, compressing, securing, performing OCR, and other PDF actions. A quick look at the features list unveils what's under the hood of UPDF.

Features of the Best Adobe Reader to Edit PDF

UPDF is the first free premium PDF editor of its kind. It offers the premium features you would expect in a top PDF editor but it's available as free software. Some feature highlights are mentioned below:

adobe reader editor
  • Read and View PDF - Convenient reading tools and features provide a natural reading experience
  • Comprehensive PDF Editing - Text, images, links, watermarks, etc.
  • PDF Annotation - Highlighting, strikethrough, underlining, adding shapes, adding text comments, etc.
  • Create and Fill PDF Forms - Create interactive PDF forms or fill and sign PDFs with a digital or handwritten signature
  • Convert PDF to various formats to edit in other applications
  • Protect documents with password security for viewing and modifying PDFs
  • Perform OCR to convert scanned PDFs into editable PDFs
  • Organize PDFs with merging and splitting features - easy page manipulation and extraction
  • Windows and Mac versions are available

Why is UPDF Better Than Adobe Reader to Edit PDF?

We've already seen the obvious reason - that Adobe Reader cannot edit PDF files in the strictest sense of the term. It can merely annotate, fill, and sign PDFs. No doubt, it's a fantastic PDF reader, but UPDF ticks all the boxes of a PDF editor in addition to being a smoother PDF reading app.

The second reason is also obvious - the 100% free angle. UPDF is breaking the market with its unique offering of premium software that is not open-source but still available free of cost.

The third reason - and the most important one, in our opinion - is the full set of features it comes with. Nobody expects unlimited OCR, advanced PDF conversion, enterprise-grade security features, etc. in a free software application, but there you have it! That's UPDF!

If there were a fourth reason, it would be the user-friendly interface and responsive operation. The software is as fast as the best PDF editors out there and definitely more intuitive than even products from Adobe, Nitro, and other major players in the PDF space.

How to Use the Adobe Reader Alternative to Edit PDF

Step 1: Go to Edit Mode

When any PDF is opened in UPDF, clicking the Edit tab in the main menu bar on top will put you in edit mode

It will also reveal the full editing toolbar, which contains more useful features

Step 2: Edit Text

Select any block or line of text to see the blue border around it

This border can be used to move the text as is or even change the size

Clicking into the box will allow you to edit the text inside, and you can control it with the Attributes toolbar

Step 3: Add a Text Box

For this step, click one of the text options - regular and artistic

Click on the document to add the text box

Input or paste the new text into the text box

Resize or reposition it using the border handles

Step 4: Edit Images

Click an image to select it

Choose one of the editing options in the toolbar - Replace, Rotate, Extract, Copy, Delete, etc.

Workaround to Use Adobe Reader to Edit PDFs

Even though Adobe Reader is not a PDF editor, there's a little trick that works with documents that don't have a color background or image background. The trick involves masking existing text with a shape that's the same color as the background, which is why white works best. Of course, this won't work in all situations, but you can do a pretty clean 'edit-lookalike' with this workaround. Here are the steps to follow for the masking procedure and adding text on top of that.

Step 1: Click on Comment

Go to the Comment section to see the annotation tools

how to edit pdf file in adobe reader

Look for the Shapes tool and click it to reveal shape options - the icon will clearly show you which button it is

adobe reader editor

Step 2: Add a Shape on Top of the Text

Choose the rectangle icon and drag-and-draw it over the text you're masking

Make sure that the shape color is exactly the same as the background and that it covers all of the text in question - also make sure that the opacity is set to 100% and there's no border or shadow to spoil the masking effect

Step 3: Add a Text Box

adobe acrobat reader edit pdf

Click the Text Box icon in the Comment toolbar

Click the area of the document where you added the rectangular shape

how to edit pdf in adobe reader

Type in your text

Resize and text box and bring it into the correct position [User Tip: using the arrow keys on your keyboard gives you more control when moving a text box or any other PDF element]

And that's basically it. The only challenge is to find the right font for your newly added text, especially if there's text surrounding the editing part and you need to match your new font with the existing one used in the file. If it's pretty much a standard or common font, you shouldn't have that problem because the text box should automatically identify the attributes of the surrounding text. If not, you'll need to manually format the text. Nevertheless, we recommend using UPDF as an alternative to edit PDF with Adobe Reader DC. It has more features, it includes granular PDF editing at the intralayer level, it's very intuitive for first-time users, and it comes with a whole toolkit of PDF utilities that you can use for business, education, and personal PDF management. And it doesn't hurt that it's 100% free, either!