Read only PDF documents can be of two types. The first type is where the PDF has scanned or image content only with no baseline text. Although you have the access to editing that content, you cannot because the editor software will not detect any text in PDF. The second one is when your PDF document has text in it, but you cannot edit it due to the permission passwords embedded into that PDF document.
Luckily, in this guide, you will get answers to all your questions like how to edit read only PDF documents regardless of what type they are. And we will share some free and paid options to provide you with the best editing experience as per your needs using UPDF, Google Drive, and MS Word.
Part 1. How to Edit a Read-Only PDF With UPDF? (Scanned/Image PDF and Password Protected)
The first method is using UPDF for read-only PDFs and it works for both password-protected PDFs and those having scanned content in them. UPDF not only allows you to edit those PDFs but you can Export them to other editable formats like Word Text PPT Excel, etc.
On top of that, UPDF offers the UPDF AI feature which provides ChatGPT integration in its interface. UPDF AI can significantly improve your working efficiency especially when you need to translate, summarize, rewrite, or write something and it comes at an extremely cheap price. UPDF will make editing your PDFs much easier with all its features combined so you must download and give it a try.
Way 1. Edit Read Only PDF for Password Protected PDF files
In the first way we will discuss how to edit PDFs that are giving you the read-only status due to password protection. Luckily, UPDF works for both open passwords and protection passwords and it can remove all of them in one go. Below is a step-by-step guide on editing read-only PDFs using UPDF:
Step 1: Double-click UPDF icon on desktop folder in your PC for opening it and click “Open File” to select the read-only PDF that you need to edit. Provide its open password when asked and click “Unlock” to open that document in UPDF.
Step 2: When that PDF is open you need to navigate to the right vertical menu and click “Protect Using Password” > “Remove Security”. If UPDF asks for permission password you must provide at this step and then finally click “Remove” > “Save”
Step 3: Now all the protections will be removed from that PDF so you may click “Edit PDF” to gain editing access in that PDF document or you can click “Export PDF” and select your desired format to convert PDF. You will need to follow the on-screen file-saving steps to use the export feature.
Way 2. Edit Read Only PDF for Scanned or Image PDFs
Say that your PDF document does not have any password protection but it is giving you the read-only status because it contains no text information, and the text is present in scanned/image form which cannot be directly edited. UPDF offers the OCR feature which can make such documents editable and you can directly work on their text. To use this feature you must download the UPDF app on your computers and smartphones since one account will work on 4 different devices.
Step 1: Launch UPDF on a PC and click “File” > “Open” to open the PDF document with scanned/image content in it. Click “OCR” button from right top and proceed with clicking “Perform OCR” and the file saving steps.
Step 2: UPDF will automatically perform OCR on your file and open the OCR file that contains editable text. Now you may click “Edit PDF” and edit any text or images in that editable file.
So, if UPDF meets the use case for you download and try it now. Purchase UPDF Pro to get access to all those premium-locked features and unleash your PDF editing capabilities.
Part 2. How to Edit a Read-Only PDF With Microsoft Word? (Free for Scanned/Image PDF)
If you prefer using a free method instead then you can try using Microsoft Word. Although it gets the job done it is not the finest option to work with PDF documents. In fact as you open your PDF in MS Word you will get a warning message about losing some formatting and content since MS Word is not very efficient at dealing with PDF documents. However it might be a good choice for you if you have PDF documents that contain only plain text without any graphics or formatting. If you can overlook the demerits of using this method, you may follow the steps below:
Step 1: You need to open MS Word on your PC by double-clicking its desktop icon and then drag-and-drop the PDF document into MS Word. Now MS Word will give you a warning about how this conversion can give you content integrity and formatting issues. You need to click “OK” to proceed opening the PDF in Word.
Step 2: Now the whole PDF content is converted into Word format so you can edit it as you want. You will have access to all the Word’s text editing tools that you get in other Word documents so edit the read-only PDF however you want to.
Step 3: After you are done with all the edits pressing “Ctrl + S” will only save that document as a Word file. So, if you want to save it as a PDF document once again you must go to “File” > “Save as” and select PDF from the document type dropdown option. Click “Save” and you will be done.
Part 3. How to Edit Read Only PDF Online With Google Drive?
When you don’t have MS Word installed on your PC and you need to use a free and online alternative for editing read-only PDFs that also works on the go, your only option will be using Google Drive. Although it may get the job don’t, it comes with certain issues like complete internet dependency, issues with formatting and content integrity, etc.
Remember that this method only works for PDFs that have scanned/image content in them and if they are password protected then you must have the password to use this method. However, for some users these issues may not be as big so they can proceed with the steps below using Google Drive to edit read-only PDFs.
Step 1: You will first open Google Drive on a web browser and upload the PDF to Drive using “+ NEW” button. If you already have the PDF uploaded to Google Drive, then you may skip this process.
Step 2: Open “Recents” tab in Drive and click on “3-dots/options” button on the thumbnail of that PDF file. Here you need to click “Open With” and then select “Google Docs”. Your PDF with scanned/image content will now be converted into text and opened in Google Docs in a new tab.
Step 3: Once you are done with all your edits you can save that but it will save as a Google Docs/Word file. To save as PDF you must click “File” > “Download” > “PDF” and this way Google Docs will give you the PDF file format again.
Part 4. FAQS About How to Edit Read Only PDF
Q1. How to Save An Editable PDF As Read Only?
UPDF is a great option for saving an editable PDF as a read-only PDF. You can have two ways to do that.The first one is that you can add permission password by clicking “Protect with password” > “Permissions” and then enter the password then click “Apply”. The other one is using OCR feature where you will click “OCR” > “image only PDF” > “Perform OCR” this way the PDF will be saved as a read-only one.
Q2. How to Edit a Read-only PDF in Adobe Acrobat？
Open Adobe Acrobat and then open the PDF in it. Remove restrictions by clicking “File” > “properties” > “Security”. Now you can click “Tools > “Edit PDF” for making changes and save once you are done.
Q3. How to Edit Read Only PDF on Android?
You can use an app on Android for editing read-only PDF app like UPDF or Adobe Acrobat. Open the PDF then provide password to make it editable. Now you can use editing features and make all the changes.
We hope that now you know how to edit read only PDF documents. With the methods and guides discussed above you can use the most effective method according to your use case. Going for UPDF will always be the better choice since it meets all your needs and does not mess up your content integrity or formatting ensuring perfect conversion every time. Download it today and purchase UPDF Pro to gain access to all premium features.