Edit text in PDFs

This document explains how to add or replace text, correct typos, change fonts and typeface, adjust alignment, and resize text in a PDF. See the step-by-step instructions below.

Watch a quick video tutorial and get started

Edit text and images in your PDF now. Click Get Started to launch Acrobat:

Add, change, format, delete, or highlight text

When you add text in a PDF, by default Acrobat picks nearby font attributes for the new text. Similarly, when you edit existing text in a PDF and the font is not available on the system, by default the font fall-backs to a specific font in a particular script. For example, font fall-backs to Minion Pro in roman script fonts. This default behavior can lead to fonts with an inconsistent appearance in a PDF document. To make it consistent throughout all the PDFs, you can choose a specific font for both adding text and editing text using the Font Options under the Content Editing preferences.

  1. In Acrobat, on the Edit menu, choose Preferences. The Preferences dialog box is displayed.
    (Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+K keys on Windows or Command+K keys on macOS.)

  2. In the dialog box, click Content Editing under Categories. The Font Options are displayed as shown in the screenshot below.

    Change default font for adding and editing text in a PDF

  3. Select an appropriate font in the drop-down lists:

    • Fallback Font for Editing
    • Default Font for Add Text and Font Size
  4. Click OK to save the changes and close the Preferences dialog box.

When you edit text, the text in the paragraph reflows within its text box to accommodate the changes. Each text box is independent, and inserting text in one text block does not push down an adjacent text box or reflow to the next page.  

  1. Choose Tools > Edit PDF > Edit .

    Choose Tools, Edit PDF, Edit
    The dotted outlines identify the text and images you can edit.

  2. Select the text you want to edit. The text-box turns blue upon selection, and a rotation handle appears at the top of the selected text-box.

    Select the text you want to edit

  3. Edit the text by doing one of the following:
    • Type new text to replace the selected text, or press Delete to remove it.
    • To rotate the text box, use the rotation handle at the top of the selected text box.
    • Manage list items using the list controls (bulleted and numbered) in the right-side Format panel. You can create list items, convert an existing paragraph to a list item, convert an existing list item to a paragraph, and convert from one list type to another.
    • Select a font, font size, or other formatting options in the right-side Format panel. You can also use the advanced format options, such as line spacing, character spacing, horizontal scaling, stroke width, and color.
    Formatting options
    Formatting options in the right pane

    Note:

    For legal reasons, you must have purchased a font and have it installed on your system to revise text using that font.

    You can edit text only if the font used for that text is installed on your system. If the font isn’t installed on your system, but is embedded in the PDF, you can change only the color or font size. If the font is not installed or embedded, you can't edit any of the text.

  4. Click outside the selection to deselect it and start over.
  1. Choose Tools > Edit PDF > Edit .

    Choose Tools, Edit PDF, Edit
    The dotted outlines identify the text and images you can edit.

  2. Select the text you want to change.

  3. In the right-side Format panel, select a font, font size, or other formatting options. You can also use the advanced format options, such as line spacing, character spacing, horizontal scaling, stroke width, and color.

    Formatting options
    Formatting options in the right pane

    Note:

    For legal reasons, you must have purchased a font and have it installed on your system to revise text using that font.

    You can edit text only if the font used for that text is installed on your system. If the font isn’t installed on your system, but is embedded in the PDF, you can change only the color or font size. If the font is not installed or embedded, you can't edit any of the text.

  4. Click outside the selection to deselect it and start over.

You can add or insert new text into a PDF using any of the fonts installed on the system.

  1. Select Tools > Edit PDF > Add Text .

    Add text tool
    Open a PDF and then choose Tools > Edit PDF > Add text.

  2. Drag to define the width of the text block you want to add.
  3. For vertical text, right-click the text box, and choose Make Text Direction Vertical.

  4. The Add text tool intelligently detects the following text properties of text close to the point of click:

    • Font name, size, and color
    • Character, paragraph, and line spacing
    • Horizontal scaling

    These text properties are automatically applied to the text that you add at the point of click.

    You can change the text properties using the options under Format in the right pane.

  5. Type the text.
  6. To resize the text box, drag a selection handle.
  7. To move the text box, place the pointer over the line of the bounding box (avoid the selection handles). When the cursor changes to Move pointer , drag the box to the new location. To maintain alignment with the other list items, press Shift as you drag.

You can move or rotate text boxes on a page. The Edit Text & Images tool outlines each text box, so it is clear what text is affected. Edits are confined to the page. You cannot drag a text block to another page, or move or rotate individual characters or words within a text box. However, you can copy text boxes and paste them on another page.

Resizing a text box causes the text to reflow within the new text box boundaries. It does not change the size of the text. As with other text edits, resizing is limited to the current page. Text does not flow to the next page.

  1. Select Tools > Edit PDF > Edit .

  2. Click the text box you want to move, rotate, or resize.
    Select the text you want to edit
    A bounding box with selection handles surrounds the text box you clicked.

  3. Do any of the following:

    Move

    Place the pointer over the line of the bounding box (avoid the selection handles). When the cursor changes to Move pointer , drag the box to the desired location. Hold down the Shift key as you drag to constrain the movement vertically or horizontally.

    Move text box

    Rotate

    Click and hold the  Rotation pointer , drag in the direction you want it to rotate.

    Rotate text box

    Resize

    Place the pointer over any of the circular selection handles, and drag the handle to resize the text block.

    Resize text box

If you want to mark up selected text with highlight, strikethrough, or underline, use the Comment tool. The actual text doesn't change in the PDF. Those mark ups only indicate where and how the text should be edited in the source file. For more information, see Highlight, strikethrough, or underline text.

You can use annotation and drawing markup tools to add comments. Comments are notes and drawings that communicate ideas or provide feedback for PDFs. You can type a text message using the Sticky Note tool. Alternatively, you can use a drawing tool to add a line, circle, or other shape and then type a message in the associated pop-up note. For more information, see Use annotation and drawing markup tools to add comments in PDFs.

You can add items to a numbered or bulleted list, create list items, convert an existing paragraph to a list item, convert an existing list item to a paragraph, and convert from one list type to another.

  1. Select Tools > Edit PDF > Edit .

    Note:

    Acrobat detects paragraphs and lists separately. Therefore, both paragraph and list may appear in the same bounding box while editing. After you save or save as the changed file and reopen it, the paragraph and list items are displayed in separate bounding boxes.

  2. Do the following:

    To add or remove items from a numbered or bulleted list:

    • You can add or remove items to the list at all nested levels using the same familiar controls that you use in MS Office. For example, press Enter at the end of a list item to insert a new row. Press Backspace to remove the new row and position the cursor back to the end of the previous list item.

    To create a numbered or bulleted list:

    1. Place the cursor in the document at the location where you want to add a list.
    2. Choose the appropriate list type (bulleted or numbered) under Format in the right pane.

    To convert an existing paragraph to a list item:

    • Place the cursor in the paragraph, and then choose the appropriate list type (bulleted or numbered) under Format in the right pane.

    To convert an existing list item to a paragraph:

    1. Select all items in the list. The appropriate list type is highlighted under Format in the right pane.
    2. Click the highlighted list type.

    To convert from one list type to another:

    1. Place the cursor in the list item or select all items in the list.
    2. Choose the appropriate list type (bulleted or numbered) under Format in the right pane.
    Formatting options
    Formatting options in the right pane

    Note:

    You can also use Keyboard to add a list item. For example, before a paragraph, you can type number ‘a’ followed by the closing parenthesis ‘)’ and then add one space. It adds a numbered list starting with “a)”.

Edit a PDF form

You can use the Fill & Sign tools to add text and other symbols anywhere on the form. For instructions, see Fill and sign your PDF form.

You can create, distribute, track, fill, and sign PDF forms using Acrobat. For more information, see PDF forms help.

Rotate, move, delete, extract, or renumber PDF pages

You can easily organize pages in a PDF if you have permissions to edit the PDF. For more information, see Rotate, move, delete, extract, or renumber PDF pages.

Update headers, footers, background, or watermarks

Acrobat lets you add a header and footer throughout a PDF. Headers and footers can include a date, automatic page numbering, Bates numbers for legal documents, or the title and author. For more information, see Add headers, footers, and Bates numbering to PDFs.

You can selectively apply a background to only specific pages or page ranges in one or more PDFs. A PDF supports only one background per page, but the backgrounds can vary from page to page. For more information, see Add backgrounds to PDFs.

A watermark is a text or an image that appears either in front of or behind existing document content, like a stamp. For example, you could apply a “Confidential” watermark to pages with sensitive information. You can add multiple watermarks to one or more PDFs, but you must add each watermark separately. For more information, see Add watermarks to PDFs.


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