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Software to Delete Small Sections from PDF

Posted on 2010-08-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I need to buy software to edit pdf files. Is there any software that lets you select a specific area and hit Delete?

I've used Adobe Acrobat Standard v9 and as near as I can tell it does not have this feature. I can remove whole pages or crop sections out but the cropping takes out as many inches high as you've selected the full width of the page. You cannot simply delete, for example, a phone number that's located in the middle of the page.
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Question by:HKComputer
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12 Comments
 
LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
Tiller79188231 earned 800 total points
ID: 33479716
pitstop - it's an acrobat plugin that allows full pdf editing
http://www.enfocus.com/product.php?id=855
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by:HKComputer
ID: 33479828
Thanks, that does answer my question but I'm going to take liberty to extend the question.

Does anyone know of a free or low-cost solution to accomplish this?
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by:Tiller79188231
Tiller79188231 earned 800 total points
ID: 33479866
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LVL 32

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by:aleghart
aleghart earned 1200 total points
ID: 33480152
I use Iceni Infix.  $99 is a no-brainer.  IIRC, there is a free trial that leaves watermarks in the PDF.  When you install paid license & re-save, the watermarks are removed.

Faster than trying to open files up in Illustrator, especially for office staff who don't have a graphics background.

http://www.iceni.com/infix-pricing.htm
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:tskelly082598
ID: 33503720
Adobe offers a 30 free trial version of Illustrator. (Of course, after 30 days, you would have to choose to purchase or not.)

https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=illustrator
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 33504482
Illustrator won't even do what I'm trying to do. I have a copy of it already.

I'm still researching this and I'll try to reply back with my results before I close this question.
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:aleghart
aleghart earned 1200 total points
ID: 33506401
If the PDF wasn't created in Illustrator (and compatibility saved), then editing it in Illustrator is a joke.

That's why we ended up with Iceni Infinx.  After two artists struggled with Illustrator and Photoshop workarounds, that $99 program was relatively easy.  Wish we'd found it before spending a few days pounding our heads on our desks.
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Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 33510792
>If the PDF wasn't created in Illustrator (and compatibility saved), then  editing it in Illustrator is a joke.

I'm glad to hear someone else confirm what I've found.

I think the bigger problem is that the PDF's I want to edit are basically image PDF's. It looks like the only option then is to grab the image, edit it in raster graphics editing software, and then make a new PDF file. I'm OK with this but I have a lot of computer illiterate users that are not OK with this approach.
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:aleghart
aleghart earned 1200 total points
ID: 33513051
If they're already ripped to pixel data, then the best you can do is convert it into a Photoshop file and retouch or layer on in Illustrator.  PDF editors like Infix are useful for retouching text, fixing typos, etc.  But, it has to be there in the PDF to begin with.

RIP it into Phtoshop, save as a PSD.  Place that into Illustrator and add your materials, then export as an Illustrator PDF, with compatibility, so you or anyone else can edit it later.

I always keep two versions.  The original AI file + an Illustrator PDF with all text converted to curves.  This views best, and avoids some problems with magazine ads.

Don't worry, I'm not computer illiterate, and I find the process annoying.  But, GIGO.  You can only do so much with what you've got.  That's why they make programs like Illustrator and Photoshop.  MS-Word was not meant to publish 4-color catalogs. (I've done it, but it wasn't pretty or easy.)
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 33513189
Many of the documents we are editing are faxes or scans (non OCR). I don't quite understand why so much of this third party PDF software lets you do some basic manipulation on images withing PDF files but requires you to export the image as soon as you want to delete pixel data from a raster image. One of these software even lets you crop an image which is destructive raster editing if I understand right but crop is a useless function, mostly because it isn't intuitive, in my opinion.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 33514801
Agreed.  But, you're talking logic.  Who knows what a programmer, marketer, or CEO was thinking.

For faxes, I have to print to PDF.  Extract each page.  Open in Photoshop.  Retouch. Save.  Combine pages in Acrobat.

Requires Acrobat (Pro, not Reader) and Photoshop.  There are ways to do it cheaper, like extracting TIFF pages and using Window Paint...but I already have the skills and software.
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 33713654
Back when I posted this I tested several different pdf editing programs that's available right now but I failed to document the differences between them.

When working with image-based pdf's like we do, I think Nitro came out the best because it includes a "crop" feature. I would prefer a feature that allows you to actually delete pixel data instead of "cropping" since deleting is more intuitive. Cropping doesn't always work because sometimes the image data you want to save is not located inside a single rectangle but rather inside multiple rectangles.

There is also an online solution called PDFescape that allows you to basically blank out a section of a PDF file by placing a blank image over top of any section (I think it's called "whiteout"). There are a few downsides to this. Basically, if the information you're trying to block is sensitive or classified, this approach won't be good enough because the second image doesn't actually destroy the text or image data below it. If there is text data below it the user can actually use copy/paste to see what is there.

In conclusion, I really didn't find any tool that does what I need it to do at a reasonable price. Pitstop Pro might do exactly what I need but at $699 it's cost prohibitive, especially since it's merely a plugin and requires you to also own or purchase Adobe Acrobat. I believe that Nitro is as close as it gets for now in the more reasonable price range.

As far as I can recollect I also tested the following PDF editors: Infix by Iceni, MaplePDF, Magic PDF Editor, and Foxit PDF Editor.

Thanks for all the great suggestions.


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