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Old 03-06-2013, 02:05 AM   #1
veole
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Question Best program to edit PDF?

I need a program to edit already made PDF files, one that works like a text editor. I'd like to be able to create an index / bookmarks, and to copy / paste text and images easily. I use Windows and I don't want to use the Adobe software.

Foxit Editor, Nitro PDF, ...?

Thanks.

Last edited by veole; 03-06-2013 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:12 AM   #2
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Moved to the PDF forum.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:16 AM   #3
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You don't want to use Adobe software? That's too bad, because Adobe is the granddaddy of PDF (they invented it). To answer your question, there is no such thing as "best". In fact, the "best" is bullsh*t (see Penn and Teller's Bullshit S03E13).

PDF files aren't meant to be edited. Think of them as a final destination format. If you want the "best", OCR them in ABBYY FineReader (which will import them as a bunch of images, one for each page), proofread it, track down the fonts, and redo the layout in InDesign or Word - which is a lot of work, but will give you much more options in terms of "edit-ability". For simple edits, Adobe Acrobat Professional (which costs way too much for what it can do) will probably do the job, but inserting images is pure madness (you have to create stamps). :|

Have fun editing PDF files.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:46 AM   #4
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I don't need OCR, I just want to edit real text + images pdfs, like docs in a word processor.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:51 AM   #5
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A PDF file doesn't contain "text" or "images". It contains instructions of the form "draw such-and-such a shape at such-and-such coordinates". That's why, as the previous poster very rightly advised you, the best way to "edit" a PDF is often to OCR it.

PDF isn't like a word processor document or an eBook; it's a digital representation of a printed page. It knows nothing about about paragraphs, lines, words, or images.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:52 AM   #6
veole
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So what exactly is a PDF Editor and why do companies sell them like "editors"?

Last edited by veole; 03-06-2013 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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The best thing to do w/ a .pdf is to go back to the original / source document for any but the most trivial of modifications.

Enfocus used to make a stand-alone program, Tailor which would allow fairly arbitrary editing of a .pdf, even re-flowing text, but they've since switched to making PitStop, a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat which allows one to edit arbitrarily, if not elegantly.

Next best option is to use a tool which will parse a .pdf into its own native format --- most drawing programs will do this --- at one point in time, I was maintaining a compleat book in Macromedia FreeHand (had to import it as a .pdf since the book was typeset using a proprietary typesetting program which we discontinued use of at my previous employer). This will re-encode all the text from whatever encoding was used in the .pdf into the native format used by the drawing program, so all text should be proofed character-for-character. There's also the Markzware plug-in pdf2dtp which will import a .pdf into either Quark XPress or Adobe InDesign which works quite well (but still requires proof-reading).

For simple edits, one should be able to make do w/ one of the programs billed as a .pdf editor, but for the most part, they're more useful for filling out forms or annotations.

Inkscape is a free drawing program which is able to import .pdfs, but will require a fair bit of work for any but the most trivial of edits (and will still require careful proof-reading).

William
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veole View Post
So what exactly is a PDF Editor and why do companies sell them like "editors"?
They are sold because people want to buy them. Adobe makes the best one. Nuance makes a pretty good one. As has been mentioned PDF is not a directly editable format like Word or standard word processors. It is a display format that is page oriented. In this way it is similar to the now defunct page maker which has been replaced by PDF. You can modify information within the document but it doesn't do an in place replacement since this would require exact same length changes and adding stuff you disrupt the formatting of other places. Instead it builds a pointer to the new changes that are placed somewhere towards the end of the document. When it is displayed the PDF reader uses the pointer to find the data and then displays it in the correct place. The new data might be a letter or a word and it is as if it were pasted over the original place.

If there is a lot of editing then the display can get really complicated and some readers will have trouble displaying it. In particular converters will have trouble making sense out of it and may make errors in the conversion. There is very little if any semantic information in the document so it is hard to convert. Adobe did spend some time trying to add some semantic data to permit a document to reflow in electronic readers (tagged) and this kind of document is better but even adobe can have trouble reflowing a document that has been edited a lot.

Dale

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Old 03-06-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
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If it wasn't saved as a tagged PDF (which the vast majority of PDFs out there aren't), you'll have a tough time editing or even converting it, regardless of the software used. And it probably won't look right either, with differences in line or paragraph width, differences in fonts, etc.

It's a lot better to go back to the original document from which the PDF was created, edit it, then save (export) it as a PDF. If you don't have the original document, OCR-ing it and doing the grunt work that I mentioned earlier is your next "best" thing.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:16 PM   #10
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I run a website which contains many pdfs which are from time to time updated, and once had the misfortune to delete/lose or whatever, my original word doc for one of them.

So I put the pdf up in its reader, went "select all copy all", pasted into an empty word file, and recreated the original word doc, though of course it needed a fair amount of reformatting (tabs are lost, for instance). But at least I had my original word doc back where it belonged. Fortunately it was only a dozen pages or so.

Some pdfs are "secured" so you can't "select all copy all", only a page at a time. That doesn't sound like fun if it is several hundred pages; but if you are deperate...

There is, simply, no dead easy edit-a-pdf in itself for the technical reasons explained.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:43 AM   #11
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Copy-pasting from a PDF doesn't preserve italics or bolds, and you lose styles, the TOC, footnotes, cross-references, bookmarks, etc. It's the same thing as exporting as plain text (which is a very bad idea for a book).
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:24 PM   #12
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If you can open and see the PDF you can disable any security feature it has.

http://www.becyhome.de/becypdfmetaed...iption_eng.htm
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veole View Post
I need a program to edit already made PDF files, one that works like a text editor. I'd like to be able to create an index / bookmarks, and to copy / paste text and images easily. I use Windows and I don't want to use the Adobe software.

Foxit Editor, Nitro PDF, ...?

Thanks.
The Adobe software is unquestionably the best for editing PDFs.

*NOTHING* is great for editing text in PDFs. Best is to grab the source document ("native file" in my corner of the doc-processing industry) and edit that, and re-convert.

Second-best, if you need to do more than touchup, is to convert the PDF to Word or HTML, re-create the original formatting, edit that in whatever program it needs to be in, and re-create the PDF.

There is nothing--NOTHING--that will allow you to edit a PDF as if it were a word processing file. PDF is designed to be a fixed, stable format for printing. That it does anything else is a marvel; other features weren't part of the original design plan.

---
That said... unfortunately, I don't know which of the 3rd-party programs allows creation of bookmarks. I expect at least one of them does. Get a trial version and test it yourself, because none of the advertising hype will tell you if it does exactly what you want, and most likely even other people who've worked with the programs, will be using them differently.

People who want to do extensive PDF editing usually get Acrobat Pro. (Do you mind saying what your objections to it are? Is it just price? -- I do know that's substantial, but if you're working with PDFs professionally, it really is worth it. And you can possibly get an older version at a discount from vendors who still have them available.)
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:45 AM   #14
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Use adobe acrobat professional. The best I ever inbuilt good tools and features. Have a good time.
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