Unable to edit PDF correctly.

I was steered toward LibreOffice (from a web search) as a programme which could edit PDFs. However when I opened a PDF the text which is justified opened as left-aligned (a ragged right hand edge).

Using LibreOffice’s own ‘text alignment’ - to set the text back to justified - did not work (and that only high-lit one line too). The PDF is an over 250 page document, and I could find no ‘global’ - ctrl-A - setting.

Being brand new to LibreOffice I’m obviously missing something straightforward - can anyone steer me to the correct way of editing a PDF? Any help would be appreciated.

tia, David.

PDFs are not supposed to be edited. That’s why they are recognized as official documents. What are you trying to falsify? (Joke).

PDFs are very easily edited (if you go Adobe’s route anyhow). My task is seldom, so spending $14.95 per month on Adobe’s solution is untenable.

You can’t edit a PDF, at least if by that you mean you want a full-fledged formatting utility.

PDF is a display format. A PDF file is a collection of page images, not a text document.

Writer won’t be able to open it because a PDF is a graphics file. Draw will open it but you’ll be presented with a myriad of elementary graphical objects. Even what you take for a line is broken into homogeneous sequences of characters. Here homogeneous means same font face, size, weight, angle. Whenever one of these attributes if not the same, you get another sequence. Since the sequences are graphical objects, they are directly positioned at their “correct” location. You have nothing like alignment. This is taken care of by positioning the blocks where they’re supposed to lie to achieve the desired “alignment”.

But PDF rendering by Draw may not be the exact intended representation because the computer may not have the fonts installed. Or the PDF uses some formatting functions not handled by Draw.

All you can do is some sort of limited editing, just like you would edit a graphical file or a drawing, i.e. move a bit the objects, rotate them, change font properties individually. Needless to say this is not feasible on a 250-page document unless you only change one or two pages.

If editing is a real necessity for you (document contents is highly valuable), you can reconstruct a text document by copying lines or sequences and pasting them into Writer. You’ll have to cope with excess line breaks to rebuild paragraphs. You’ll have to define the required paragraph, character and page styles and apply them to text. Have the same layout is not guaranteed at all.

It’s up to you to decide if this worth so much trouble.

Edit your question to describe what you really want to “edit”. There might be other tracks to explore.

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Thanks for your speedy reply. I guess the steer to LibreOffice was simply incorrect. To give you a (very) slight background: I was working with a document in OpenOffice which has an ‘Export to PDF’ function. That works fairly well, but (for some unknown reason) the export changed my em-dashes to hyphens. On a new computer I discovered TextMaker, and that exported my document to PDFs without altering any dashes. However, I later discovered inserted spaces after dollar signs ($5000 became $ 5000). :frowning:

Interestingly (a spurious aside almost) LibreOffice treated italicised words well - opened them up somewhat.

Adobe’s Writer (that’s maybe not the current name) can handle edits like this but, as I mentioned in a previous comment, at $14.95/month it’s way too expensive for my rare needs. I shall find a way.

Thanks for your input on this.



If you open the AOO document in LO and export as PDF does that produce the result you want? Or export as Hybrid PDF so you can edit it in LO still.

Unfortunately, I am attempting to do what is not acheivable in LO. As a previous poster noted: “You can’t edit a PDF, at least if by that you mean you want a full-fledged formatting utility.” It is fully-fledged formatting I require.

Thank you to everyone who chipped in on this query!

Then in this case, attempt to recreate a “real” text document. You can very easily copy text from a PDF into a Writer file. You end up with one-line paragraphs. Your first task is to merge lines into paragraph by eliminating the spurious paragraph marks. Next, you style the paragraph with appropriate paragraph styles. You translate the various emphases inside paragraphs by character styles. And that should be it. After that, edit as you like.