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  1. #1
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    Hassle-free editing of PDFs possible?

    Hi,

    In my work as a translator, 99% of the time I use MSWord or Excel. I sometimes have short PDF files and I copy and paste the text into a Word file, play around with it and generally get something satisfactory. I have PDF Architect with their paid "Editing" module and I've also installed a trial version of Nitro 9. I also have Foxit and a few conversion utilities.

    However, now and again I get large PDF files ready for going to print with lots of tables, graphics etc. So far, I have converted these to Word using a variety of methods, none of them very satisfactory. The latest 36-page document I converted via Nitro 9 trial version. The result was pretty decent to be honest, but editing the Word file was a slow process as the file was very big and I had to wait while Word processed the edited text and displayed the results. In some places the text was half hidden or missing etc. Also, due to the hundreds of sections and columns used by Word to reproduce the layout, one false keystroke and everything falls apart.

    Obviously, the way to go would be to edit directly in the PDF application.

    The above programs seem to work ok, but for some reason (maybe because I don't understand how PDFs work...) the editing is laborious. For example, if I try to edit text, each line seems to be in its own text box. Sometimes, a paragraph will have several text boxes containing random parts of the paragraph laid one on top of the other. If I start editing the text, the other text boxes are unaffected, so I either have to continue in the same box and then delete the others afterwards, or I have to jump around and try to follow the text box layout - it's even complicated just explaining it here!

    Another thing I've noticed is that graphics people love using the most obscure (and sometimes expensive) font they can find. This causes problems for me as I'm not going to buy fonts each time I have a PDF to translate and I can't find any way of replacing fonts in the apps I've tried. (It may even hose the whole document layout...)

    Is the editing problem something to do with the original being made with Acrobat and the other programs not being able to reproduce the document exactly?

    Anyway, if anyone has any tips or bright ideas on how to edit PDF files more easily, it would make my job easier...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Which version of MS Office?

    Office 2013 provides full read, write, and edit support for PDFs.

    Bruce

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to BruceR For This Useful Post:

    Marp (2014-06-11),PointFive (2014-06-12)

  4. #3
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    Office 2003
    I never upgraded cos I hated the ribbon in 2010/13. I may have to check it out.

    Thanks for the feedback, Bruce

  5. #4
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    I hate the ribbon as well. You can add a menu bar back into office. Here are some free ones. I use ubitmenu on office 2007
    http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenu-languages/ or

    http://www.addintools.com/office2010/menutoolbar/

  6. #5
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    Ultimately the answer is to get away from having to edit PDFs as the source. It's a wonderful presentation format but pretty clunky overall when it comes to being forced into an editable format.

    That said, PDF Fusion is on sale today for $25 (30 day money back guarantee). I can't say if it is any more error-free in conversions than everything else is though.

  8. #7
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    Office 2013 (which I otherwise love) has failed many times to convert PDF files for me. The message given for the failure was usually related to graphics. Smaller files with little or no graphics have converted easily, and if they convert they are editable.
    Thanks
    chuck

  9. #8
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    Hi Marp:

    If you haven't looked into them yet, LibreOffice now includes native PDF editing. I tried it once, but have Acrobat Pro, so that was easier for me and I didn't try again, but its a possibility, and free. The other PDF editor I have used is called, PDF-XChange Editor, from www.tracker-software.com. The free version actually allows some editing, but the paid version (not very expensive) does much of what Acrobat can do. Worth a look.

    Best wishes.
    Rob

  10. #9
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    A new article describes details of editing PDF files in Word 2013: How to edit PDFs in Microsoft Word

    Bruce

  11. #10
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Your best option is to tell your clients that you need their media in the raw format or it will cost more to translate.
    "PDF" was designed to be difficult or even impossible to edit or convert, nobody uses it to develop documents so unless your client is the IRS and lost all originals they have a better format available.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  12. #11
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    I find "Wondershare PDF Converter" to do a great job at converting PDF's to Word / Excel / PowerPoint / HTML etc.. It came as a bonus with another piece of software I purchased sometime ago and I've used it quite a bit since. Been useful for me but your mileage may vary - might be worth a look? Find it here;

    http://www.wondershare.com/pdf-converter/

    Cheers..

  13. #12
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    For long or complex PDFs, I don't think there's any easy way to "fix" the PDF in the PDF.

    This may be a start. For PDFs, I always start at the source, ie. Adobe.
    Convert PDF to Word
    https://www.adobe.com/products/acrob...converter.html

    >> Obviously, the way to go would be to edit directly in the PDF application.

    I disagree. For you the translator, it's just complicated.

    For what it's worth, a short explanation. Creating a Word *.doc and creating a *.pdf are jobs with different priorities. Word is a wordprocessor and intended for layout and content changes within Word. A *.pdf is not. A *.pdf is made to print reliably on different operating systems and printers.

    Consider page numbering, on Word one can simply change the page size. No equivalent on *.pdf, or even in Acrobat. I like Acrobat, been using it since version 3.

    For many *.pdf uses, page numbering is critical, and expected to be constant.

    Translating from one language to another is complex due to changes in text length. The block of text changes in size, and layout is affected.

    Editing text in a *.pdf is for very simple changes. Adobe warns of this.

    I believe both Microsoft and Adobe advise returning to the 'authoring environment' for anything more than a simple change to any PDF. Then, creating a new PDF.

    By the way, this messiness when the end use, or end user, of the digital file changes, occurs from Word to web page also. There are accessibility particulars as well.

    I guess translation of written language is the most difficult. Even harder than math to english, or music to english.

    Maybe it's easier to think of each page of a PDF as a picture, not sequenced blocks of text and images.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by dried_squid; 2014-07-05 at 14:37. Reason: spelling

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