Filling up a PDF form is pretty easy. You fire up a PDF editor application, use the text tool in it and type away.
Editing a PDF which already has text in it? It's not that easy.
Say for example, you have an application form which has a few text fields but instead of blank boxes to type in, there is already text in some of the fields like "Write in CAPITAL letters", "Include your State", etc.
I know this is a rare example, and your use case scenario might be a lot different. Editing such forms can be a lot more difficult. Why? Because PDFs are meant to be finalized versions of documents, hence you can't delete text from them like you would do in Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer.
You could try taking a screenshot of the PDF and use an image editor to erase the text. Then you could print and scan the edited version to create a new PDF. Use a PDF editor to write what you wanted to in it. That's a lot of work. And what if you don't have a printer or a scanner?
There are a few ways to do this including using paid applications like Adobe Acrobat. Inkscape is a free option which supports PDF editing and it could work well (depends on the PDFs content).
If you have Microsoft Office, you could try using Word to edit PDFs. LibreOffice supports editing PDF documents as well. During my tests, all three programs rendered parts of a test document useless (for e.g. check boxes were missing or distorted, images/logos were blurred etc).
Even if I could erase text using these applications, I would not be able to use the document because the programs had modified other parts of the PDF. Offline free PDF editors that I tried didn't have a whiteout or eraser option either.
There are quite a few online services that let you edit PDFs. And one of the most popular ones is Google Docs.
1. Upload the PDF to your Google Drive.
2. Double-click on it to preview it.
3. There is an "Open With" option at the top of the screen. Click on it and select "DocHub". (This is a third-party service but is trusted by Google).
4. You will be prompted to grant DocHub permission to access your Google Drive. It needs this to read/write your PDFs. Once you allow this option, you can use the DocHub website directly in the future (as long as you're signed in to your Google account).
5. The PDF should load in DocHub and you will see a toolbar at the top of the screen.
6. Select the Whiteout tool (eraser icon).
7. Draw a box over the text that you wish to delete. And it will be deleted.
8. Save the PDF and it's ready for use.
In case of our application form example, this method can be used to make the text field appear blank. After which you can use the text tool in DocHub or any PDF editor to fill the form.
There you go, a free cross-platform to whiteout text in PDFs. All you need is a web browser, and a PDF, obviously you need one.
Online services may not work in all situations as you may not want to upload confidential documents to an online service. If the PDF document is generic however, it is a valid option that should work in many contexts.
Now You: Which tool or service do you use for editing PDFs?Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.