Directly Editing Text in PDF Documents on Your iPhone or iPad


I happen to send invoices as PDF documents, and I use the same format. Normally, all I need to do is simply boot my computer and edit an existing invoice using the same program I’ve been using for years, Able2Extract. While away from my computer on a trip, all I had with me was the iPhone and the iPad Pro and I really needed to send an invoice to a client.

I couldn’t wait to get back from the trip and I wasn’t ready to install a PDF editor on someone else’s computer. I combed the whole App Store looking for a PDF editor that could actually edit the text in a PDF file.

I came across several PDF editors and tried all of them, but all they could do was markup, annotate, fill form fields, sign and add comments. None of those I tried actually had the capability to edit the text in a PDF document except one.

Introducing PDFelement for iOS

pdfelement for ios

PDFelement is very different from the rest of the PDF editors I tried using on the iPad. Although it’s probably the only one capable of editing text in PDF documents, it still has the basic features of a PDF editor.

If all you want to do is highlight, annotate and fill PDF forms, this application does it all. You can as well add text boxes, freehand drawings, and several other things.

You can also directly sign forms with your regular handwriting using your Apple Pencil.

Directly editing text in PDF Forms

To directly edit a PDF file using PDFelement:

1. Copy the app to be edited to the app. You can use WiFi transfer, hook the iPhone or iPad up to your computer and copy using iTunes, or just pull it from the cloud.

2. Tap the text edit button at the top of the displayed document.

edit pdf on iphone and ipad

3. Texts that can be edited should have borders. Tap inside the border and start editing.

4. To change font size or color, highlight the text and tap “Font” when the context menu shows.

edit pdf on iphone and ipad

5. When you’re done, hit the back button and the document should be saved.

Note: To access all the features, you need to login to your Wondershare account. If you don’t have one, creating one is easy and no payment detail is required. This app is totally free, all that’s required is a valid Wondershare account.

Other useful features

I also tried using this app to re-arrange the pages of a PDF document and it worked just fine. Extracting a single page from a large PDF file and saving as a separate file too is possible with this app. You can as well merge several PDF files to form a single file. With this app, I was also able to directly sign PDF documents using Apple Pencil.

Unfortunately, iOS 11 features like split-screen multitasking and drag-and-drop doesn’t seem to work. Hopefully, this would be fixed in subsequent updates. Also, I tried converting a PDF file with a table to a Word document and the result wasn’t too good. But these are not features I actually need. It got the most important part right and that’s what matters to me.

I reviewed the Windows version of PDFelement about two years ago, but I haven’t tried the macOS version yet. I’m willing to give it a shot after the free iOS app has greatly impressed me. Who knows, it might finally replace Able2Extract.


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