Amending PDF Pages – Tip #2

As part of a digital workflow you may need to amend pages of a PDF document. For example, you may need to add or remove text. Patent Attorneys and patent paralegals regularly have to edit pages of a patent specification. This short tutorial will show you the easiest way to do this (that I have come across). It also saves printing, allowing you to claim “eco-warrier” status.

The method requires a full version of Adobe Acrobat (versions 7+); however, it may be transferable to other PDF editing tools.

Replacing a Paragraph

  1. First open the required page of your document. (Patent people may download their pages from the EPO’s Register Plus or the USPTO’s PAIR.)

    Test Page in Acrobat
    Test Page in Acrobat
  2. Next select the “Callout Tool” editing option (e.g. Menu: Comments->Drawing Markup Tools->Callout Tool). Click the page somewhere near where you need to make the edit. A post-it-note box and arrow will appear.

    Callout Tool
    Callout Tool
  3. Manipulate the arrow of the box so that it lies behind the text you wish to replace. Resize the yellow box until it covers the text you wish to replace.
    Move Arrow
    Move Arrow

    Adjust Box Size
    Adjust Box Size
  4. Right-click on the box and select “Properties”. Change the “Border” and “Fill” colours to white. Click close.
    Right-click then Properties
    Right-click then Properties

    Change Colours
    Change Colours
  5. Double click in the box to start entering text.

    Enter Text
    Enter Text
  6. To change the text properties (e.g. font size, bold, italics etc), when typing in the box press CTRL-E (Control key and letter E). A text properties tool bar will appear.

    Text Properties
    Text Properties
  7. Once you have made your edits, print the amended file to PDF. You can use Adobe’s or a third party’s PDF Printer Driver. This cements the changes and prevents future recipients from accessing and changing the text box.

    Print to PDF
    Print to PDF
  8. Patent people: you can now email the “printed” PDF page or use it for online filing. No paper is harmed at any point.

Masking Text

  1. Repeat step 1 above.
  2. Select the “Rectangle Tool”. (See a toolbar or Menu: Comments->Drawing Markup Tools->Drawing->Rectangle Tool).
  3. Draw a rectangle over the text you wish to mask.

    Draw Rectangle
    Draw Rectangle
  4. Right-click on the rectangle and select “Properties”. As in step 4 above change the “Border” and “Fill” colours to white. (The clever ones by now will have realised you can also use the toolbar that appeared when you pressed CTRL-E. They will rule us one day.)
  5. Repeat the above steps for any other portions of text to be masked.

    Lather, wash & Repeat
    Lather, wash & Repeat
  6. To cement the changes, print the edited page (or document) to PDF. (Beware: If you use this method to redact pages and do not print to PDF, any recipient can simply delete your nicely drawn rectangles to view the previous text.)

And that completes today’s lesson.

Edited Page
Edited Page

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