How to Edit a PDF for Free in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Ever found yourself needing to edit a PDF? Naturally, you open it in Adobe Reader, click “Edit PDF”, and… you’re told to sign in and pay for editing functions.

Thankfully, you can use the basic functions built into Adobe Acrobat Reader to edit your PDFs for free. These instructions are for Windows, but on macOS the steps should be practically the same.

Keep in mind that this is for inserting text and checkmarks into a PDF, not removing or changing existing hardcoded text! It’s ideal for filling in things such as invoices, applications, or other pre-formatted documents – especially if you’d otherwise have to print them, fill them in, and then scan them back to a digital version.

A few of the types of edits you can make in Adobe Acrobat DC

Edit a PDF File Free in 4 Steps

  1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download Reader here if you don’t already have it.

    If it’s not already your default program, right-click the PDF file, hover open “Open With”, and choose Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. If it doesn’t appear in the list here, click on “Choose another app” in the same dropdown and find Reader there.Screenshot of how to open Adobe Acrobat DC in Windows.

  2. Open the “Sign and Fill” function.

    You can find it in the quick menu above your document, or through the top menu via View > Tools > Fill & Sign > Open.Screenshot of a PDF open in Adobe Acrobat DC and an arrow showing where to find the Fill & Sign tool.

  3. Click the region you need to edit.

    Some fields will allow you to click on them and fill them with perfectly-fitting text. Otherwise, click on the area and write your text. You can adjust the position and size of your text to fit most sections.Screenshot of a PDF filled in with Adobe Acrobat DC's free filling tools.

  4. Once you’re done adjusting the PDF, you can save.

    I recommend choosing “Save As” and saving it as a new file, in case you need to make any further edits or retain the original.Screenshot of how to save a PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC.

There you have it, edit your PDF files in mere minutes, without the need to buy anything extra!