The new iOS 16 (it might have been there before) sneakily improved the iPads ability to deal with pdf files. In this article we will discuss how to use this free iPad PDF editor and what it can or cant do.
Use the Files app How to access the built in PDF editor
Open the subject pdf document using the default iPad file management app, also known as “files”. When you open a pdf file from you email, it would by default open in files unless you select some other method. On browsers such as chrome or safari, pdf files tend to open within the browser, which is no good.
If you want to manipulate a downloaded pdf from a website, you would files have to save it on your iPad or your icloud drive so you can access it with files.
What can you do with the free built in iPad PDF editor
If you tap the “edit” crayon, the standard markup menu appears which allows you to:
- markup with a pencil or marker in any color you want
- Highlight stuff
- Erase any markup you have made
- Markup with text boxes, shapes, signatures or arrows
Work with forms
If the pdf viewer detects lines or blank spaces in your document, it will automatically assume its a form and will add some fields in which you can add text. A button shown a pen and a box of dots would appear in the toolbar.
This may be helpful when working with actual forms but more of a nuisance when lines are only decorative.
You can also add your own text or signature fields to the document.
You can use create and save several different signatures in the files pdf editor. You can also remove signatures you dont need.
The most functional feature of this pdf editor is inserting, removing, and rotating pages. By tapping on a page thumbnail you can see all the page editing options.
A cool feature here is that you can insert pages from other files. An even cooler feature is that this “insert pages from other files” also supports non pdf type files such as images, including jpeg and heic. And if those images contain any text, the app would detect it.
You can also insert scanned pages from this menu.
How to move pdf pages on ipad
If you want to change the position of a page, you can tap and hold a page from the thumbnail view to drag it around. Then let go of the page when the position you want it to be at opens up. This can be tricky because you want to avoid tapping on the page options menu in this process.
Locking and Protecting PDFs
This is a nice option if you want to protect sensitive information from be seen. The drop down menu by the document’s name will show an option to lock the PDF document. Selecting this will prompt you to enter a password. Next time anyone tries to open the document it would ask for a password.
Note that locking the pdf will not prevent it from being edited after it is accessed. It will however require the password to be reentered for various actions such as printing. Removing the lock from a locked pdf could be a pain.
Compress file size
From your Files app you can select and compress a pdf file by selecting it and hitting the compress button. This creates a zip folder with your compressed pdf file in it.
What you cannot do with the default iPad pdf editor
You cannot edit the text or original content of the document.
You cannot view its metadata and what fonts it is using.
Overall the built in ipad pdf editor is just the files interface for viewing pdfs. Its good for filling forms and adding basic markup. You can manipulate the page order and even add or delete pages from the document. And you can print and protect it with a password. Not bad. For anything more advanced than this you may need to download another app.