How to edit images in PDF files

Learn how to edit PDF images use the new edit PDF images capability in Acrobat XI to edit PDF files.

By September 20, 2012


In this infographic, learn how to edit PDF images use the new edit PDF images capability in Acrobat XI to edit PDF files. The new Content Editing panel greatly simplifies the entire process of editing PDF images.

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How to edit images in PDF files

Donna BakerSeptember 20, 2012

Have you ever needed to edit an image in a PDF document?

Just following these 6 simple steps to edit graphics within your PDF file using either Acrobat XI Std. or Pro.

  1. Use the Selection tool to select and use an image as a basic object.
    click the Selection tool
    click to select the image, right-click to open the menu
    the menu offers simple image tasks
    use the Edit Text & Images tool for editing
  2. For editing an image, open Content Editing and choose Edit Text & Images.
    open Content Editing
    click Edit Text & Images
    Each image (or text) object shows an outline
  3. Work with positioning and resizing tools.
    move the Edit Image tool over a frame to show the image icon
    click to show resize handles
    drag to move the image
    drag from a resize handle to adjust image size
    automatic guides show relative page locations
  4. Use transform tools to change an image’s orientation.
    flip vertically
    flip horizontally
    use a rotate tool...
    ...or drag to rotate from a corner
  5. Change the visible portion of the image using the Crop tool.
    click the Crop tool
    Crop handles show on the image’s edges
    drag a handle to trim the image
    automatic guides show as you drag
  6. Replace or edit an existing image, or add a new image.
    click the image with the Edit Text & Images tool
    click Replace Image
    locate and select the image you want to use
    the new image drops into place
    to edit an image, click Edit Using
    click your editing program
    your editing program opens and loads the image
    make your edits, like this duotone image
    save the changes to the temporary image file
    the original image updates with the edits
    click Add Image
    locate and select the image you want to use
    drag the thumbnail over your page
    click to place the new image

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Products covered:

Acrobat XI Pro

Related topics:

Edit PDF

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Lori Kassuba

1 month ago

Hi Melissa,

Can you post your question here so we can help you interactively:

When you post your question can you also clarify what you mean by gray areas - are you attempting to edit text or graphics in your PDF?



1 month ago

Help me please! I need to edit a pdf file however some are greyed out that I need to edit. I need to change some of the information in the gray areas but it will not let me edit it. I purchased the PRO XI just the other day. Can someone please help me ASAP.

Lori Kassuba

11, 2014-07-18 18, 2014

Hi Diana Woods,

When you choose to Replace the existing header/footer it creates a completely new header. You’ll want to “Update” the header/footer instead.


Diana Woods

4, 2014-07-15 15, 2014

if I insert a page into a document that has been numbered, then update the page numbers to “replace Existing” all of the headers on my letters are gone.  Why?

Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-06-09 09, 2014

Hi Ken,

Do you have all the point updates installed for both CS6 and Acrobat X?
I read about an issue like this in PS CS6 but it was fixed in a point update.



10, 2014-06-05 05, 2014

I work in the print industry. When I get a PDF that has 4 color black in it, I need to be able to pull it into Photoshop, correct it, and have it update the image in the PDF. Lately, though, I’m running into a problem.

I grab the Edit Object tool. I select the image I want to edit, right click, and choose “Edit Image”. That launches the image into Photoshop, where I can edit my image, save it, then it updates the image in the PDF.

Here’s the problem: When the image is updated in the PDF, it reverts to its original dimensions, completely blowing out the page. Another person in my office has the same setup (CS6, Acrobat X), and his machine retains the image’s size as it was in the PDF.

Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. :)

Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-05-12 12, 2014

Hi peter c neumann,

Under your Preferences (Edit > Preferences on Windows or Acrobat > Preferences on the Mac) you can set the default magnification for opening PDF files. In your case, you’ll probably want to set the zoom dropdown to Fit Page.


peter c neumann

5, 2014-05-10 10, 2014

Donna, when I open a PDF photograph, my Adobe Acrobat program brings it up as a very large photo that I then must reduce down to about 25% in order to use it.  Is there a setting I can access to always make photos which are PDF files appear in their normal size, so that I don’t have to shrink them down?

Lori Kassuba

12, 2014-01-21 21, 2014

Hi Wendy,

You won’t be able to change the resolution, but you may be able to get a bit better image quality if you use the Edit Using command in Acrobat XI to launch Photoshop. Photoshop contains filters that can reduce artifacts and noise.



11, 2014-01-18 18, 2014

Hi: I am doing some volunteer work and they have been getting receipts from Peru with images so bad we can’t make them out. Is there a way to improve the quality or resolution?

donna baker

12, 2013-12-02 02, 2013

Hi Michael -

How are your videos intended to play? By default, you need to just click the video on the page to start it running. Depending on how the video is added to the document initially, you may also have other settings like a floating window or controls.



3, 2013-11-30 30, 2013

I can’t activate my videos after I save them in PDF.

donna baker

11, 2013-09-25 25, 2013

Hi Sonya -

It should be a fairly simple process, but it sounds like perhaps the source document’s images were modified in some way. What you can do is export the images from your document. Choose File > Save as Other > Image and pick an image format. Once the export is finished, open that document, find and select your image, and then try copying it into the desired location.



5, 2013-09-18 18, 2013

I am trying to copy an image from one pdf and place on another. If I save it, it becomes distorted and impossible to work with when I add the image. How do I copy something exactly as it looks from one pdf and then place it on another PDF.
I am very frustrated!

donna baker

7, 2013-09-03 03, 2013

Hi Jenny -

If you’re getting a message about renderable text, it means that the page already has had the OCR process applied. Use the Edit Text & Images tool, select the paragraphs you want to delete, and delete them.

If you want to preserve the page layout without the text showing, you can select it, then change the text color to white. The text won’t print, or show on the page, but will hold the layout as is.



12, 2013-08-26 26, 2013

Hi Donna,

i’m trying to edit a scanned PDF. when i try to OCR it, it says it can’t because the document has renderable text in it? I need to ‘white out’ some of the text on the PDF. Any suggestions?
I’m using Acrobat Pro Subscription Edition in the cloud membership. Thanks Jenny

donna baker

12, 2013-08-16 16, 2013

Hi fito -

You can’t erase part of an image, but you can crop it. Open the Content Editing tools, then click the image with the Edit Text & Images tool. Once the image is selected you’ll see a set of tools activate in the Format section of the tools. Click the Crop tool, then drag the margins of your image to produce your cropped image.


donna baker

12, 2013-08-16 16, 2013

Sandy Williams
1 week ago
Hi Sandy -

You should be able to add your content using the Edit Text & Images tool. Essentially, you’ll add the content over what’s existing on the page. Open the Content Editing tools, and click the Add Text tool. Now click the location where you want to add the new text. You can configure the format as well.


Sandy Williams

6, 2013-08-07 07, 2013

Donna,  I have a floor plan that was saved as a pdf.  I need to add names and phones numbers to the pdf and I’m not sure how to do it.  I have adobe acrobat Pro - it won’t let me edit the cube spaces.  I did review your edit text session, but nothing is working for me. 


1, 2013-08-07 07, 2013

Erasing: Hi,,, I just downloaded Acrobat XI pro and was trying to erase/edit parts of an image in a document. Could not not it,, can anyone help? thanks,,,

donna baker

11, 2013-07-25 25, 2013

Hi Jenny -

Depending on what version of Acrobat you’re using you’d follow different methods. If you’re using Acrobat XI, you could capture the text using OCR, and then use the Edit Text & Images tool to select what you want to delete.

You could also capture the text in other versions, and then use the TouchUp Text and TouchUp Object tools to select and delete the content.

Regardless of what you’re using, if all you want to do is hide something, use a Text Box comment. Select the tool, then click and drag to make a box big enough to cover what you’re hiding. Right-click and choose Properties, then set the color for the stroke and fill to white, and the opacity to 100%. That’ll block anything on the page.



1, 2013-07-23 23, 2013

Hi Donna,

I’ve got a scanned pdf file that when opened in acrobat it reads as an image. Can i use a white out tool to remove certain part of the document i.e. text and images and if so, how?

donna baker

12, 2013-06-04 04, 2013

Hi Brian -

Look for ratio settings in the PDF Conversion settings in Autocad. You’ll find the command listed under the Acrobat menu. You should be able to configure your ratio there.



4, 2013-05-16 16, 2013

I have just downloaded X1 and I now have a page ratio error with Autocad DWG files converted to PDF. Page Ratio should be 420 to 297
but is 420 to 63.5 which produces tiny scaled to fit images in the centre of a long horizontal strip. My question is how do i correct this ratio. Hoping you can help. Thanks. Brian

Clipping Path

1, 2013-05-04 04, 2013

Nice and clean template.Thanks very much.

donna baker

9, 2013-04-03 03, 2013

Hi sct hunt -

Sorry, I can’t help you there. This discussion area pertains to editing content in a PDF document. Perhaps do an online search for the sorts of graphics you need.


sct hunt

1, 2013-03-27 27, 2013

Does anyone know a good page for picking up graphics for drawing simple floor plans?

Patty Friesen

7, 2013-03-06 06, 2013

Hi Sepp,

No cookies are required to watch the video.



2, 2013-03-03 03, 2013

Seems that this video does only work with flash cookies.

donna baker

1, 2013-01-15 15, 2013

Hi Ron -

The simplest way is to make the changes in Acrobat. Is the DRAFT text included as a background or a watermark? If so, that’s an easy fix. If not, you can still do it fairly simply, although it’ll take more time. If you’re using Acrobat XI, use the Edit Text & Images tool, select the objects page by page and delete them. For earlier versions, use the TouchUp Text or TouchUp Object tool (depending on the DRAFT word’s composition) and delete them.


donna baker

1, 2013-01-15 15, 2013

Hi Roy -

Document tags are structural identifiers for the different elements on a page. In Acrobat, they are quite similar to those you see for a Web page, although Acrobat isn’t an HTML format, of course.

Check out this short video for more info:



donna baker

1, 2013-01-15 15, 2013

Hi John -

You are referring to Drawing Comments, and yes they are definitely mentioned on any site discussing Acrobat features.

The type of markup you’re describing can be done using Adobe Reader XI. Any earlier version would require the document author to enable the document for use in Reader first.



2, 2013-01-08 08, 2013


How do I take a document that has draft written across the page background. Its a pdf. How do I get rid of the word draft from all pages after editing and saving as a word doc. Also it is not a watermark so that did not work.


Roy Malone

6, 2012-12-17 17, 2012

What do you mean by having the document tagged?

John Pope

1, 2012-12-08 08, 2012

What is the lowest level (cost) of Acrobat that allows graphic editing…drawing lines and shapes on PDF graphic files?  And adding text boxes?  I need to mark up PDF road maps and don’t want to convert them to Word to do so.  I used to be able to do this with an earlier version of Adobe Standard(work computer). 

John Pope

PS…website never mentions graphic editing (balloons, shapes, lines added by an editor to a PDF drawing or photo).

donna baker

3, 2012-11-19 19, 2012

Hi Jaye -

Yep. You can still do the same thing. You MUST have the document tagged first, though. Once you do, open the Content panel, open the container containing your image, right-click the image and choose Properties.
When the dialog box opens, click the Tag tab, and you’ll be able to input alt text.



9, 2012-11-13 13, 2012

Sorry I should have been alot clearer.

What I need to do with Images on a Mac is edit and add alternative text to a PDF that has been sent to me to ensure it is more accessible. Now I can do this on a PC but once I open it in a Mac options come up but it is greyed out and I cannot edit anything.

Not visually editing - editing for screen reader use

Shahram Khorsand

9, 2012-11-09 09, 2012

Some minor differences between the Win and Mac version. I work on both environments. The acrobat file storage is great though.

donna baker

10, 2012-10-15 15, 2012

Hi Jaye -

Sure you can. I did most of the tutorials on Mac and it doesn’t work any differently.



2, 2012-10-15 15, 2012

You cannot edit images on a MAC.

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