[K12OSN] Welcome to a new school year and pdf editing...

Chuck Kollars ckollars9 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 30 04:58:44 UTC 2007

> I've been asked to do a fast seminar for our
> on editing pdf docs. 
> I said "You can't." 
> They said yes you can like I was on another planet. 

You were right not so long ago; for a long time it was
completely true that "you can't" edit PDF. But it
isn't any more. 

Just in the last couple of years all kinds of tools
that directly edit PDF have become available. They
read PDF, edit it, and write PDF - no "conversion" to
any other format. (Maybe some sort of patent
protection expired?) Don't look for conversion tools;
look for a native PDF editor. There are several
available as shareware and several others through
retail channels for Windows  -- sorry I don't have the
specifics for Linux that would exactly answer your
query. Google is your friend. 

It's still not true that _all_ PDF documents can be
edited though. Most PDFs actually contain the text as
characters (along with font information, placement
information, illustrations, etc.). These can now be
edited. But once in a while you'll run across a PDF
document that's a giant bitmap of the entire display
area including the text; those cannot be fully edited
(you can change the layout, but not the text) because
the conversion of text to image is realistically a
one-way function. Page through the PDF file with
something like `less`; if you see recognizable text,
it's editable. But if all you see is masses and masses
of gobbledygook characters, it's entirely an image and
is not reasonably editable. 


(I tend in general to agree with the respondent who
said [paraphrasing] "why? let's back up; we shouldn't
be here in the first place". But maybe your teachers
have some special situation.)

-Chuck Kollars

Take the Internet to Go: Yahoo!Go puts the Internet in your pocket: mail, news, photos & more. 

More information about the K12OSN mailing list