How to edit PDFs with OpenOffice

So you’ve got one small bit of information on a PDF form that needs updating but you don’t have the original Word document that was used to create the PDF.  You don’t want to recreate the whole form.  And you don’t want to pay for a PDF-editing program like Adobe  Acrobat Pro (which BTW is an excellent investment if you can afford it).

Here’s a decent solution that works for Mac and Windows users:

  1. Download and install OpenOffice which is a very capable and FREE suite of MS Office-like tools.
  2. Download and install a FREE extension for OpenOffice called “Pdf Import Extension” .(http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Pdf_Import_Extension)

OpenOffice logoYou’ll use the Draw program in the OpenOffice suite to open the PDF file that you need to edit.  But before getting into the business of editing your PDF, you need to install the Pdf Import extension.  Open OpenOffice Draw and go to the “Tools” menu and choose “Extension Manager”.  Then use the “Add…” button to find and install the extension file you downloaded.

Once everything is installed, open a PDF from OpenOffice Draw.  It will take a moment to translate the PDF.  Do your editing as needed, and when done, be sure to export the file as a PDF (“File” > “Export as PDF…”).

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