Edit or remove existing text on a PDF

Unlike a word processing or TXT file, the text you see on a PDF is permanently embedded onto each page which means it can no longer be edited unless the text is in a form field that hasn't been "flattened", but you can still use DocHub to cover up that text and add new text. Here's how:

  1. Use the Whiteout Tool to cover the area.
  2. Add new text on top of it using the Text Tool.

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To learn more, see these articles:

Annotate, edit & sign PDF documents using the Tool Bar

Adding Whiteout to areas of a PDF

You can also cover it up using our Stamp Tool or Insert Image Tool. 

The Difference Between Embedded Text and an Image of Text on a PDF

When it comes to text on PDF documents, there are two types:

  • Embedded, selectable text
  • Images of text on paper (from a scanner or camera).

Neither types can be edited on a PDF, and an image of text cannot be selected or copied, but both can be whited out in DocHub and new text put in its place. Our Text Tool adds digital, embedded text to a PDF. 

How to convert images of text into embedded text on a PDF 

If you are unable to select or highlight text on a PDF with your mouse cursor then it is definitely a scanned image or photo of text on paper. If you were the one who scanned the document and still have the original paper version, you could re-scan it using OCR (optical character recognition) which should be able to decipher any text on paper and embed it as digital text in a PDF.

If you don't have a paper version of the document, you could download it as PDF to your computer and use a free OCR app to translate the text and then re-upload the new PDF to DocHub. We don't currently offer an OCR feature but hope to have it added to DocHub soon. Here's how:

  1. Open document.
  2. Click Download / Export DocHub_UI_-_Download_Export_button.png > choose Computer > click Download.
  3. Find a free online OCR app by searching the web for "free online OCR app" or use this one: http://www.free-online-ocr.com.
  4. Re-upload the new PDF with embedded, selectable text to DocHub. 

Since digital scans or photos can vary in quality where some have better resolution and readability than others, using OCR on your document may or may not convert all of the images of text into the correct embedded text depending on several factors such as how legible the text is in the original, the style of font, and the DPI (resolution) of the scan, so if the text is not detected and converted correctly after using the first free OCR online app, you could try using another one to see if it has better results.

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