If you use your iPad to work with PDF documents, you’ve undoubtedly come across Files. It’s iOS’s default file reader, including Apple Pencil compatibility. You may use the pencil tool to fill out forms, add signatures, and add handwritten notes and highlights. That said, exactly how do you edit PDF files on your iPad with an Apple pencil?
Editing a PDF with an Apple pencil on an iPad without third-party apps is possible with iPads updated to iOS 15 and the Files app. Files can now edit PDF files with the latest iOS update, including Apple Pencil compatibility. Third-party apps offer more features than Files.
If you’ve ever Googled “pdf annotation app” or “pdf editor,” you’re familiar with the agony of attempting to mark up a PDF on your iPad, and most of us prefer to do it with ease of an Apple pencil. Several apps allow you to edit and markup files on your iPad, like PDF Expert. Using that in mind, let’s take a look at how to edit a PDF file with your iPad and Apple pencil, with other accessible apps.
Guide To Edit Your PDF File With Apple Pencil On iPad
Whether you like them or not, PDFs are an essential part of our life, and you can’t avoid them. Even yet, altering PDFs and working around them may be a real pain in the neck. You may need to download or install extra software or programs to edit a PDF.
This is especially inconvenient if you don’t have access to your laptop or tablet but need to update a PDF swiftly – perhaps to make notes or sign a document that needs to be delivered right away! So, you may look for an app, download it, and learn how to use it. Alternatively, you can simply modify the PDF on your iPad with the convenience of an Apple pencil!
Yes, there is a way to edit a PDF on your iPad or even iPhone without downloading third-party apps. Not simply “Markup and Highlight” editing capabilities, but also options to modify the orientation of a PDF, add text, or annotate with an Apple pencil, and even sign it.
Apple included the ability to edit PDFs on iPad with the introduction of iOS 15, and it can be done using one of the phone’s native apps: Files. That said, let’s jump straight to it!
The Files App And Apple Pencil: Editing PDFs On iPad
The Files app is a pre-installed app on all iOS devices. It is essentially a file organization tool, as the name implies. It also offers several additional features, one of which can edit PDFs. You won’t need to download any third-party software, and the editing procedure is straightforward. By following the upcoming steps, you will be able to edit your PDF files quickly.
Step 1: Ensure That Your iPad Has The iOS 15 Update
First, it would be best to ensure your iPad is updated to iOS 15 to take advantage of this feature. It is a huge benefit that Apple provides new upgrades to even older generation iOS devices, which means that iPads as old as the 5th generation and beyond, iPad mini 4 and after, and all iPad Pro models are eligible for the update.
Step 2: Open A PDF In Files App
Open the PDF you intend to edit in your iPads’ Files app. Go to Files, which is pre-installed on iPads, search for the PDF by name, then press it to open it. In addition, you may store any PDF you get on your iPad in the Files app.
Step 3: With Your Open PDF File, Tap On The ‘Marker’ Symbol
When you open the PDF, you’ll notice a small ‘marker’ symbol in the upper right corner of the screen. The symbol typically looks like the tip of a pen. Select the symbol by tapping it.
Doing so will provide you access to various editing tools, such as pens, pencils, scales, and highlighters, which would appear in a panel at the bottom of your screen. These tools can all be used with a finger or your Apple pencil.
- The Pens and Pencils feature lets users scribble, annotate, comment, sign, and more with their Apple pencil.
- The Highlighter feature allows users to highlight typed text or even highlight your scribbles or handwritten comments.
- The eraser tool lets users clear any mistakes they made with any tools.
By experimenting with the tools, you can better grasp how useful they will be to use when editing PDF files.
Step 4: Tap The Plus (+) Symbol To Do More
In the same panel where you would find the tools that your Apple pencil can use, tap on the little “+” symbol on the bottom right side of the editing tools to add text, magnify a section, add a signature, or a box to the PDF.
It will provide you with more options, such as the ability to add text, a signature, and other shapes to the PDF, and you can choose the one that best suits your requirements.
What Else Does Files App Allow You To Do With PDF Files?
Aside from these editing capabilities, the Files app on the iPhone has a few more that may be used to edit PDFs. Swipe right from the upper left corner of the screen to access these choices. It will display all of the PDF pages in a sidebar, one after the other. You may quickly choose it by touching on the page you wish to change in this sidebar.
You may, of course, touch on the ‘marker’ symbol in the upper right corner of the screen after you’ve picked the page you want to change.
But there’s more: touching the ‘three dots’ in the page’s sidebar brings up five more editing choices. These choices include the ability to adjust the page’s orientation — the first two options in the list allow you to rotate the page Left or Right.
You may also use the “Enter Blank Page” option to add a new blank page to your PDF, or you can pick and insert another document from the Files app. There’s also an option to scan a document and add it to the PDF immediately in the list.
You may also combine two or more PDFs into a single PDF by selecting and merging them. To do so, hit the ‘three little dots’ symbol in the Files app’s top right corner of the screen. Then, pick “Select” and then touch and select the PDFs you want to merge from the list.
After you’ve chosen your files, go to the same ‘three tiny dots’ symbol, but this time it’ll be in the bottom right corner of the screen. The “Create PDF” option will appear when you tap on it. All you have to do now is select the choice, and voila! A PDF has been created!
Third-Party Apps For iPad To Do More With PDF Files
We’ve all been there: you have a PDF form that you need to fill out and sign before sending it back, or you have a PDF document that you want to mark up with notes, highlights, and comments. Regardless, doing any of that on your best Mac may be a pain, and an iPad with an Apple Pencil is a far better match.
That’s because your iPad feels like a pen and paper when linked with an Apple Pencil. And if you are used to doing more with PDF files, the editing capabilities in the Files app may just not be enough for you.
Rest assured, these are the best PDF markup and annotation apps to help you be more productive, no matter what iPad you have or what Apple Pencil you have. That said, what are the best third-party apps for the job?
1. Markup – Highlight & Annotate
Apps Store rating: 4.2 of 5 stars
Although the Preview app is not currently available on the iPad, its great markup and annotation features are available across iOS. In some apps, hitting the Share button or the new Markup button (which also is a symbol that is like a pen tip with a circle around it) will activate the Instant Markup function.
Touch an email attachment in Mail or snap a screenshot to enable the functionality. You may add notes using a pen, highlighter, or pencil, as well as basic shapes like squares, circles, arrows, and quotation bubbles, to the Markup interface.
Alternatively, you may use a magnifier to enlarge an image or document and add text or a signature. The greatest thing is that it’s all built right into iOS, so you won’t need any other applications. Sure, it’s simple, but sometimes the ‘simple’ is all you need.
2. PDF Viewer – Annotation Expert
Apps Store rating: 4.0 of 5 stars
The PDF Viewer application features a simple, clean interface with sophisticated annotation options. It’s the ideal middle ground for customers who want a little more than iOS’ Markup tool but don’t require the capability of tools like PDF Expert or LiquidText.
The sheer amount of annotation choices developers try to cram into a PDF app’s UI might make it seem not easy to the ordinary user, but PDF Viewer cleverly streamlines the process. The program presents various layered views depending on the function you’re using, taking a page from Apple’s own iWork suite.
If you’re looking at a document, for example, you’ll see buttons for sharing, zooming, and browsing through annotations; hit the annotation button, and the app switches to Annotation mode, where you’ll see the different tools — all of which are still broken down into easy-to-understand icons.
Although it lacks some of the more powerful combination functions, PDF Viewer can rearrange, remove, or insert blank pages within a PDF (like merging multiple PDFs or adding existing PDF pages into a document).
4. PDF Expert – PDF Editor, Reader
Apps Store rating: 4.7 of 5 stars
I usually refer folks to Readdle’s PDF Expert when they ask for a general-purpose PDF markup and annotation program. The free version includes basic PDF reading, annotation, and digital signatures, but the additional features are only available through in-app purchases.
You can customize “stamps” for frequently used notes, alter the PDF structure, compress numerous pages together, password-protect your files, and sync with iCloud. The Pro upgrade expands on those features by allowing you to literally break open a PDF and modify it right there on the spot. Is there a mistake in your ready-to-print proof?
You can correct it in the PDF even if you can’t get back to InDesign on your iPad. You may never need the features PDF Expert offers, but I, for one, am glad that such sophisticated and useful software is available on iOS.
As you can see, an iPad and an Apple Pencil are a terrific combination for marking up and annotating PDFs. It’s never been more laid-back to sign and fill out paperwork on the move electronically, straight from your iPad, thanks to the combination’s pen-and-paper functionality.
Files app is the best way to go about it if you do not need third-party apps. However, if you need more editing options and more features towards ease of use and productivity; as a result, I would endorse taking a look at the best third-party apps mentioned above.
I did not write this article all by myself. A ton of websites have aided me in finding solutions for people who cannot use iOS 15 or newer. Credit where credit is due.