How to Type on a PDF: 5 Strategies, Tips and Tricks

October 9, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


There are many reasons you might want to know how to type on a PDF. Maybe you saved one but found a typo or need to add some text the original author forgot about. There are a few top tools and apps for editing PDFs, whether you are on PC, Mac, iOS or Android. These five strategies will help you edit your PDF quickly and easily. 

1. Use Adobe Acrobat PDF Editor

If you’re wondering how to type on a PDF, it’s a good idea to start with Adobe Acrobat DC. Adobe’s PDF editor is a great tool for customizing or altering PDFs. You can use it to type on PDFs, edit the text that’s already there or even create annotations with handwritten notes or highlighting. 

There are a few ways you can type on PDFs in Adobe Acrobat: editing existing text or adding new text. Pay careful attention to the toolbar options in Acrobat because there are different buttons for each of these functions. There is also a separate tool for filing out PDF forms in Acrobat, so make sure you check to see if your PDF is fillable already. 

2. Use the Preview App on Mac

If you’re using a Mac laptop or desktop, you may already have a pre-installed tool for editing PDFs. Apple’s Preview app includes a toolbox of document editing features, including for PDFs. Adobe Acrobat is compatible with Macs, too, but if you don’t want to download another app, the Preview app can get the job done. 

The Preview app offers two options you can use to type on a PDF. If the PDF is fillable, you can use the “Form Filling Toolbar” button to show where on the PDF you can type. This also allows you to insert a signature if you need to sign the document. 

Otherwise, you can use the Markup tool to add annotations. Initially, the Markup tool will show handwriting options like different pens and highlighters. If you expand the Markup toolbar, though, you’ll see an option to add typed text. 

3. Use the Markup Tool on iPad or iPhone

If you need to know how to type on a PDF from your mobile device, you’re in luck. Apple devices make it very easy (skip to strategy 4 to see how you can type on PDFs on Android devices). 

Save the PDF to your files on your iPad or iPhone. Find it in the Files app, open it and look to the toolbar at the top of the screen. There should be an icon showing a pen. This is the Markup toolbar, just like you’ll find on the Preview app on Mac. 

Select the Markup toolbar and choose the “text” option to add typed annotations to your PDF. If you’re on an iPad, you can also use an Apple Pencil to add handwritten notes or drawings to your document. This is especially useful if you need to sign something. 

4. Use the Adobe Acrobat DC App on Android

If you’re wondering how to type on a PDF on an Android device, your best option is the Adobe Acrobat DC mobile app. This is a mobile version of Adobe’s desktop PDF editor. You can find it on the Google Play Store for free. 

Once you download the app and get it set up, import the document you want to edit. Use the “Text” option in the toolbar to add text and edit existing text as desired. You can also tap on any blank space on the PDF to quickly add text there with the popup menu. 

It’s worth noting that the current version of the Acrobat mobile app does not allow users to edit existing images in PDFs. So, be careful about your text placement if there are images you may need to move. 

5. Convert the PDF on Word or Google Docs

It’s possible that you may run into challenges when trying to figure out how to type on a PDF using the first four strategies listed here. There may be an issue with a specific PDF that makes it incompatible with a certain app, a device-specific issue or any number of other technical roadblocks. 

If this happens, there is one more trick you can try, although it may alter the formatting of the PDF. People usually save documents as PDFs when they want to make sure the formatting stays the way they set it up. So, be careful about using this strategy if your PDF has a lot of graphics or images. If your PDF is mainly text, though, you shouldn’t have any issues. 

You can convert PDFs into word processor documents using Microsoft Word or Google Docs. We recommend using Google Docs since it is free and makes PDF conversion very easy. Login to your Google Drive account, select the “New” button and select “File upload.” 

Upload the PDF you want to edit. Once it is finished uploading to your Drive, click the three buttons icon beside the document’s name. Select “Open with” and choose “Google Docs” from the list. This will convert the PDF into an editable text document. When you’re done editing it, you can download it as a PDF to return it to its original file type. 

Tips and Tricks

There are a couple of best practices that can help when you’re learning how to type on a PDF, regardless of the device or app you’re using. These tips and tricks can minimize technical issues and simplify the PDF editing process. 

Make Sure the PDF Isn’t Locked

Sometimes you can’t type on a PDF because the person who created it locked it. You might be able to open and view the PDF but can’t edit anything on it, regardless of the app you use. People often lock or finalize PDFs for security reasons. 

For example, if the PDF is a legal document, it’s crucial to ensure no one edits the document except authorized personnel. So, you may need to contact the person who created the PDF to get permission to edit it using the document’s password. 

Save a Copy of Your PDF Before Editing It

It’s a good idea to save a backup copy of your PDF before typing on it or otherwise editing it. You may not need the backup, but it’s good to have just in case you accidentally alter the document’s formatting or run into other technical issues. 

Double-Check the App You’re Using

Some PDF editing apps, including certain versions of Adobe Acrobat, require premium subscriptions or purchases to unlock various editing options. If you can’t access an editing option you want or can’t seem to edit your PDF at all, double check the app you’re using to confirm it’s not a premium version. 

How to Type on a PDF With 5 Easy Strategies

There are a plethora of reasons you might need to know how to type on a PDF. Luckily, you have several options for doing so, whether you’re on a PC, Mac or mobile device. These five strategies are the top methods for quickly and easily editing your PDFs. Just be sure to verify that you have permission before altering a PDF, especially if it is locked.