While it is easy to cut, copy, and paste text on a word document, with PDF files, you need to apply a few tweaks to be able to freely edit text. Shown here are the best ways you can make use of the cut, copy and paste functions to move text around the PDF, as if it were a rich document editor.
Note: these methods would not work if the PDF were scanned, or the copy-paste functions were disabled by the PDF creator.
1. By “Inserting Text” in the PDF Reader
All free PDF readers have an option to insert any in-line text if that option hasn’t been disabled previously. For those using Adobe Acrobat Reader, it lets you select and copy any block of text.
To paste it within the document, right-click and select “Insert text at cursor.”
Apart from blocks of text, Adobe Acrobat Reader also lets you add your signature on any page or specific lines. For this select a “Fill & Sign” option from the menu near the top.
Among the free PDF viewing tools, Foxit Reader gives much better results in text insertion compared to Adobe Acrobat Reader. The new text can be freely inserted below existing text without those annoying squiggly boxes. This text addition tool is called “Typewriter,” which can be accessed from the “Home” menu. Copy-pasting is a breeze with this valuable feature.
The Foxit Reader has a few more options to edit text in the PDF file. These include text highlights, squiggly underlines, strikethrough, a drawing area, note section, pencil, and eraser.
Other free PDF readers that support copy-paste functions include:
- Google Drive: Web
- Slim PDF Reader: Windows, Mac, Linux
- Javelin PDF Reader: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
- Sumatra PDF: Windows
- Evince: Linux
2. Using a PDF Edit Software
The only disadvantage with the above free PDF readers is that you can’t use the cut (Ctrl + X) command. Also, they can’t match the new text with the existing PDF font styles. If you want a more professional document-editing environment, you will need a PDF editor’s full set of features.
With Adobe Acrobat Reader, an “edit text & images” feature can be accessed from the “Edit” menu. This will upgrade you to Adobe Acrobat Standard and Pro versions (free trial available) where you can edit the document more freely.
Soda PDF is a brilliant tool for professional editing of PDF documents. It takes a few minutes to download and install the software.
Once you open the PDF files in Soda PDF, you can easily select any block of text.
As soon as you click “Edit,” the “Cut, Copy, and Paste” options are prominently visible. The font style is replicated accurately, and once you make a fresh PDF print, it’s difficult to notice any new text additions.
Other PDF editors that support the cut function in addition to copy-pasting include:
- Foxit PDF Editor: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web
- Kdan PDF Reader: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
- Scribus: Windows, Linux, Mac
3. Editing a PDF in a Browser
You can edit text in PDF documents while in a browser with various tools, such as Sejda. Just upload the PDF document in the edit window, then continue on to select text. This will activate a highlighted area where you can freely use the Cut, Copy, and Paste options. Click “Apply changes” once you’re done.
Other browser-based PDF editing tools that support cut, copy and paste include:
4. Using a PDF to Doc Converter
You can convert a PDF to a Word document and later reconvert it to a PDF file once you finish editing the text. There are many tools for this, such as PDF Wiz. It is free to use and impressively converts PDF files to multiple formats, including .doc, .docx, and .txt.
A major limitation of the PDF Wiz free edition software is that it only supports converting the first PDF page.
Another way is to use Google Docs. Upload your PDF to Google Drive and open the document with Google Docs.
All the PDF text is now ripe for editing. You can save the changes in the original PDF file. And, of course, you can use the Cut, Copy, and Paste options without any hassle.
There are many online PDF to Doc conversion tools that allow you to cut, copy, and paste text and are free to use, including:
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can't I cut and paste from a PDF?
If you’re unable to cut and paste from a PDF file, it means the source is write-protected, thanks to security restrictions. It’s very difficult for most consumer PDF editing software to remove those restrictions.
Can you edit a PDF in Word?
Word isn’t designed to handle PDF documents. However, if the PDF file doesn’t have complex fonts, images and other design elements and isn’t secure-protected, then it can be easily rendered in Word for editing.
Can I remove a watermark from a PDF?
Some PDF editing software, such as Adobe Acrobat, have a watermark removal feature either in the free or pro versions. But if the source PDF file is securely protected, you won’t be able to remove the watermark as easily.
Image Credit: Jane via Adobe Stock All screenshots by Sayak Boral
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