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Take advantage of everything your PDF editing software offers

by Danielle DavisRoe, Affinity Consulting 

Creating and editing PDFs is a crucial set of skills in any professional setting. From basic editing to redacting sensitive information, anyone who works frequently with PDF documents can benefit from learning about new features that increase efficiency and reduce paper usage. Keep reading to take advantage of everything your PDF editing software offers. 

Note: if you are using a free PDF reader, it probably lacks the features discussed here. I highly recommend upgrading to professional PDF editing software. While Adobe Acrobat has gone to a subscription model, they now include the ability to send documents out for e-signature as part of your monthly fee. Foxit PDF Editor Pro and Kofax Power PDF are two great alternatives that you can buy outright. Explore our PDF Programs Comparison Chart to determine the best program for your needs.  

1. Annotate 

Do you still print documents to mark them up by hand? Use your PDF editing software instead. Chances are high that your software has built-in annotation tools to allow you to add comments, highlight text, and draw shapes. Save paper and reduce clutter on your desk by marking up documents digitally. 

2. Combine documents 

Instead of printing and scanning multiple documents together to create a single PDF, use your editing software to combine documents electronically. Most editing programs have a thumbnail or panel where you can drag and drop pages from one document to another. You can also use the “add pages” or “create a new PDF from multiple documents” features (frequently found in the thumbnail/pages panel or the file menu) to combine documents. Another option is to select multiple documents in File Explorer and right-click to combine. 

3. Redact  

If you ever need to redact a document, it is critical you do it properly. All too often, lawyers end up in the news for accidentally disclosing sensitive details. To prevent this from happening to you, make sure you’re using a program with the ability to correctly redact information. Many PDF editing programs have two versions - a professional version and a standard version, the difference between them often being the software's ability to properly redact and bates number. If the tool you are using isn't specifically labeled “redaction,” it isn't the right one. 

Often found on a protection or security ribbon, proper redaction takes two steps. First, mark the PDF for redaction. Then, apply the redaction. When a redaction is properly applied, it burns a digital hole in the document. This way, no matter what software someone has, they won't be able to recover the removed content. 

If you’re interested in learning more, head over to Affinity Insight and register for unlimited access to on-demand videos and step-by-step manuals on the software mentioned above. As a Missouri lawyer, you get unlimited no-cost access to the complete library of videos and manuals. Use the coupon code MOBARMEMBER at checkout for free access. Affinity Insight Standard is included as a Missouri lawyer benefit at no additional cost. 

Need additional help selecting the best PDF software for your needs? Missouri Bar members can schedule a free consultation through the Ask an Expert page or by emailing