Can I edit a PDF in Photoshop? There’s an easier way!

There are various reasons why you would want to edit a PDF in Photoshop. But editing a PDF in Photoshop is not ideal. Let’s look at what’s available and what is the alternative.

A PDF can be edited in Photoshop but has very little capabilities available. Text can’t be edited and only one page can be opened and edited at a time. Layers are not available.

There are may things that photoshop is capable of but altering PDF’s is not top of the list. However, there are alternatives. Read on to find out more.

Opening a PDF in Photoshop

Photoshop will open most files but not all. It won’t open InDesign files but if an InDesign file is saved as a PDF it will open.
That’s the great thing about Creative Cloud, they are all interlinked. You’ll always find a workaround and a solution to your problem.
So yes Photoshop will open a PDF
File – Open – Select PDF

However you will notice that if your PDF is multi page, you can’t open a multi page document in Photoshop.

You can select more than one page by holding down Shift for Multi Selection but they won’t open as one document.

It will open each page as a separate Photoshop file. You can then open a New Doc in Photoshop and paste each page into this file. Each page will become a separate layer within the file.

Photoshop does not have multi page capability. It is a photo editing program and not a publishing tool and works on the premise of an artboard not page layout.

Selecting a page will open the document on that page. The background will be transparent (checkerboard). Once open you can select boxes and add to the file but text can’t be edited in any way. It is a flat image and to change anything is going to take some time, especially if colors or text needs to be altered.

What are the Alternatives?

The big issue here is editing the file. Let’s look at other ways to do that rather than using Photoshop.
As I say Photoshop has amazing capabilities and adding anything to a file is no problem but editing what is there is a problem.

I would advise either going back to the original program the file was created in or going to Adobe Acrobat.
If you have Photoshop chances are (but not always) that you have access to the other Creative Cloud programs. The likes of Illustrator and Acrobat will open PDFs, however you can’t open PDFs with InDesign (Aug 21) but I believe they may be working on this. Fingers crossed. But for security reasons it’s sometimes better that everything doesn’t open everything.

In saying that if you have Adobe Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader) you have access to pretty much all editing capabilities including text editing and format changes.

By right clicking and Open With – Adobe Acrobat your file can then be edited.

Click on Edit PDF and all the text and image boxes become available to manipulate.

Here you can change Fonts, Scale Images and move everything on the page. You also have the ability to delete aspects that you no longer require.

You still have the PDF as a multi page document and so can work through any changes throughout the document without losing the sequential order.

Within Acrobat you can edit aspects of your file using Illustrator or indeed Photoshop.
Open your PDF in Acrobat
Click on Edit PDF

All Vector Images on your page will now have a bounding box.

Right Click and Scroll to Edit Using

Select whichever is available from the Dropdown Menu (PIC)

This will then open the program and the file section you selected in Acrobat. Here you edit that section, change colors or add text. Simply then Save and Close and it will return to Acrobat with the changes in place.

If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat the limits to what you can edit in a PDf are limited. You can try and edit as much as you can through Photoshop but if the PDf has a lot of pages this quickly becomes very tedious.

My best advise if you don’t have Acrobat is to locate the original file and do any edits there. Trying to do workarounds is often too time consuming and too involved.

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Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on

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