RE: Editing PDFs

Subject: RE: Editing PDFs
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Sam Beard" <sbeard -at- oico -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 13:09:39 -0600

Sam Beard wrote:

> I'm trying to slightly edit some text on PDF drawings and
> I keep running into problems. From what I've gathered (and,
> indeed, it worked on one drawing), if you have the fonts used
> in a document on your system, you should be able to lightly
> edit a PDF. I need to change a bit of text. The font used was
> Arial Narrow, which is on my system. I couldn't change it.
> The drafter changed it to Arial, which is also on my system,
> but I still can't edit it. When I try, I get the message that
> one or more fonts used in it are not on my system. I need to
> check with the drafter to see if there are other fonts used
> besides that, which aren't on my system, which might be the
> case. However, there are a LOT of fonts on my system, so I'm
> not sure about that. By the by, he did say it was TT Arial,
> which is what I have. Is there something I'm missing?
> Why did it work on one of the drawings but not on the others?
> Would it work if I delete all of the standard drafting stuff,
> such as the box with that includes the drafter's name,
> drawing name, and all that stuff on the bottom right corner?
> (I'm about to try that right now, just to
> see.)

It might help one of the vector drawing gurus on the list (I'm not one)
if you told us what application the drafter is using and how the PDFs of
the drawings were created.

That said, I don't understand the need. You said you wanted to "slightly
edit" some text and couldn't, so you had the drafter change fonts and
recreate the PDF, and then you tried editing again. Why not just have
the drafter make the edits??

I don't know what you mean by "slightly edit," but anything more than
fixing a few typos (character-for-character replacements or _minimal_
inserts/deletes) is problematic in PDF anyway. Especially in a drawing
or table, where adding/removing a character from text on the left can
cause unrelated text on the right that's vertically aligned with it to
move. Deleting and recreating all the "standard drafting stuff" is,
IMHO, a really bad idea. Again, why not just have the drafter fix things
and recreate the PDFs?

As for alternatives, if you insist on doing this the hard way, you could
try Seb's idea of using Illustrator. But _pay_no_attention_ to the
suggestion of using <shudder /> PhotoShop and saving as <double-shudder
/> JPEG. You have (I assume) PDFs containing vector graphics such as a
CAD program creates, with real editable text and lines. The
PhotoShop/JPEG advice will destroy the scalable graphic and editable
text, turning them into mere pixels -- and a lossy, blurry arrangement
of pixels to boot. Yuck.


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Editing PDFs: From: Sam Beard

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