How to Edit Scanned PDF Files


Mar 30,2020 • Filed to: OCR PDF

"How can I edit a scanned PDF document without Adobe Acrobat?"
"Is it possible to edit scanned PDFs without converting the file?"

If you have an image-based PDF file and want to edit it, you need a PDF editor with the OCR function. However, most PDF editor programs do not come with this feature. And Adobe Acrobat is quite expensive and complicated for the average user. Luckily, we've decided to share the easiest and cheapest way to edit scanned PDFs with PDFelement Pro on both Mac and Windows systems.

Part 1. How to Edit Scanned PDF Documents on Mac

One of the ways you can edit scanned PDFs on Mac is to use a program like PDFelement Pro. This tool presents features that can be used to fully edit even scanned PDF documents. The reason you can use this program to edit a scanned PDF is that it has a fully functioning OCR feature. It can also be used to fully edit the PDF document once OCR has been performed. With this professional PDF editor, you can edit text and images within your document effortlessly.

Step 1. Perform OCR on Scanned PDF

To begin, click 'Open File' to open the scanned PDF in the program on Mac. You will get a notification showing that the file is a scanned PDF and that you should perform OCR. Go to the 'Tool' > 'OCR Text Recognition'. You can even select the page range and OCR language. Then click on the 'Perform OCR' button to perform OCR on the scanned PDF.

how to edit scanned pdf documents for free

Step 2. Edit text in Scanned PDF

Next, click the 'Text' button on the top toolbar to enter PDF editing mode. Now double click on the texts in the PDF and edit as required. Alternatively, you can also click the 'Add Text' button to insert texts anywhere you like.

edit scanned pdf file

Step 3. Edit Images in Scanned PDF

After you click the 'Image' button, you can control-click (double click) on any image in the scanned PDF and then delete it, crop it or extract the image for other use. You even can click anywhere in the scanned PDF to insert an image. View a detailed guide on how to insert or add image to PDF on Mac or Windows PC.

edit scanned pdf free

Step 4. Edit pages in scanned PDF

This smart PDF editing tool also allows you to edit scanned PDF pages. Once you import scanned PDFs into the program, go to the toolbar of the interface and select options to rotate pages, delete pages, or extract pages from scanned PDFs. See the entire process on how to edit pages on PDF.

how to edit scanned pdf

Part 2. How to Edit Scanned PDF Document on Windows

If you need to edit scanned PDF files on Windows, you can use PDFelement Pro and enable the OCR plugin. With the help of this tool, you will not need to worry about editing scanned PDFs on your Windows computer, and you can use the editing tools of this program to add text or markup your PDF files. Follow the guide below to edit scanned PDFs on Windows.

Step 1. Import PDF document to the Windows editor

Install and run the program on your PC. In the main interface, you will see an 'Open' icon. Click the icon to import the scanned PDF document you need to edit. Or you can directly drag and drop the PDF file into the program, and it will open automatically.

edit scanned pdf

Step 2. Edit scanned PDF document on Windows

To do this, you need to download the OCR plugin and click 'Perform OCR'. Then, you can start to edit scanned PDF files with various editing tools from this editor. Edit, markup, add images or even remove text from your PDF file.

perform ocr

Part 3. How to Edit Scanned PDFs for Free

Another way to edit a scanned PDF document is to use a free online tool like Free Online OCR. This tool also has an OCR feature that you can use to convert a PDF image to text and then edit scanned PDFs for free. Like most online OCR tools, it is allowed to utilize and can be very solid, despite the fact that it might constrain the quantity of archives you can take a shot at on the double. This makes it ideal for a lower volume of documents. The following is a step-by-step guide to help you use the program to edit scanned PDF documents for free.

Step 1. Go to the official website and click on 'Choose File' to upload the scanned PDF into the program. Select the document's language and then click 'Start'.

how to edit scanned pdf documents for free

Step 2. Wait for the program to detect the text in the document. Once the process is complete, the text will be displayed on the next screen in TXT format. You can then edit the text in this window. You can download the text in TXT format when you're done.

edit scanned pdf free

The online tool can be useful for editing scanned PDFs but it does have a few problems. They include the following:

  • You can only extract the PDFs to TXT format.
  • The extracted text will lose its formatting including text font and color.
  • This free online tool may not be able to extract text from multiple documents at once.

Part 4. How to Make Scanned PDF Files Editable

With the help of PDFelement Pro, you can make scanned PDFs editable. Convert scanned PDFs to Word, Excel, PPT, EPUB, HTML, and Texts thanks to the advanced OCR function. The below steps will show you how to convert scanned PDF to Word format.

Step 1. Import scanned PDF into the program

After launching the program, you can directly drag and drop your scanned PDF document into the program dock. The document will automatically open in the PDF editor.

Step 2. Start converting scanned PDFs to Word

In the top toolbar, click the 'Convert' button. A pop-up window with output format options will appear. You can choose to convert the scanned PDF to Word format and edit it. After you confirm the output settings, click 'Convert' to start the conversion.

If you want to convert scanned PDFs to other formats like Excel, PPT, EPUB, HTML or text, check out this detailed guide on convert scanned PDF to text, etc.

Part 5. How to Scan Documents to PDF

1. What is a scanned PDF document?

When we want to change a physical document into digital form, we use a scanner to scan the document rather than re-typing it manually. A scanner will take a snap-shot of the document then turn it into PDF using software integrated with the scanner. The computer will only recognize the scanned PDF as an image that contains words, but there is no information structure behind the document. So you are not able to text search the scanned PDF document without the use of OCR.

2. Scan to PDF

If you are using a Mac

For Mac users, you can scan a document into PDF by using Image Capture. After your scanner is activated on Mac, place your document on to the bed of the scanner and follow the below simple steps to scan to PDF:

Step 1. Launch Image Capture and check the option of “Detect Separate Items.” Then Image Capture will automatically scan your document into JPG format.

Step 2. You can click the Show Details button to change the format to PDF. In the “Scan to” section, select a destination to save the output PDF file to.

Step 3. Lastly, click the "Press" button and the document will be scanned to PDF in the Image Capture.

how to edit scanned pdf

If you are using an iPhone

There are many apps available in the Apple Store that allow you to scan to PDF without using a printer or scanner device. We recommend you use Genius Scan, which is an app that allows you to scan documents to PDF on the go. It also enables you to quickly export your documents as JPEG or PDF files. You even can email or organize the scanned documents.

Step 1. Open Genius Scan on your iPhone and click the Camera icon to take a picture of your document.

Step 2. Then press "Use" to enhance the picture. Or press the arrow to rotate the picture.

Step 3. Now press the "Share" icon to save the document into PDF format. Lastly, press Save to confirm your changes.

edit scanned pdf

Ivan Cook

chief Editor

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