PDF documents are part of the everyday life of an immigration lawyer. Typically immigration forms are viewed and reviewed in PDF format, with both clients and lawyers completing forms using smart questionnaires that auto-populate PDF documents.
But what happens when you have to edit or modify an existing PDF? Typically, you can’t edit PDF documents in your standard PDF viewer; however, you can if you use a PDF editor.
The most common PDF viewer is Adobe PDF Reader, which reads PDFs, but doesn’t edit them. Having a PDF editor can not only help you make changes in an existing document, but also make annotations for clients, update information as needed more quickly, and more.
So let’s dive into five PDF editing tools that immigration lawyers should know about.
Five PDF editors to try even if you may already have one.
There are a number of options in the market when it comes to PDF editing tools, but here we’re attempting to give everyone some options, regardless of their type of computer or their budget. We will be discussing both free, paid, and built-in options. Adobe is the best known name in PDF documents, for reading or otherwise, so let’s start there.
Adobe PDF Editor
Adobe offers two options for editing PDF documents, depending on your needs:
- Edit PDF, an online-based tool which allows you to edit PDFs with comments, highlight, and add drawings and sticky notes as part of your edits. To edit online, you will need to upload your document to the Edit PDF online tool, and do your editing online. When you’re done you can download an annotated copy of the PDF.
- Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is intended for more advanced editing needs. One of the most important features that Acrobat Pro DC offers is accessibility across devices. With this tool, you can access all your documents across different devices, add and collect electronic signatures, and convert files to PDF. You can purchase Acrobat DC for teams for $15 per license per month if you pay annually, or $25 per license per month if you pay monthly, both of which work with both Windows and Mac devices. You can try a free trial of Acrobat Pro DC, and if you have a larger team, you can get a quote from Adobe. You could also purchase an individual license if it’s just you - individual plans include Acrobat Standard DC for Windows (which unfortunately, you cannot try for free) for $12.99/month, which also works with both Windows and Mac.
If you’re looking for something that works within the Google ecosystem, you’re going to want to look at Lumin PDF.
Lumin PDF Editor
Lumin PDF is a cloud-based PDF editor which lets you create a centralized space for you and your team to edit PDF documents remotely and sync them to cloud-based platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive. With Lumin, you can draw, annotate, add symbols, insert electronic signatures, and share feedback in real time with your team directly on the document. Lumin also lets you merge documents that you need to put together after working on them separately, and convert your PDFs to other formats like Word. The highlight of Lumin is its ability to sync to storage platforms and the fact that all the work is done in the cloud. This could make Lumin a strong option for firms that have multiple teams working remotely, or outsource part of their work.
Lumin offers three paid options and one free option. Depending on the size of your firm, the free option may be enough for you: you can comment and add free text, as well as up to two signatures and two merged documents a month.
Lumin’s three paid plans are: Professional, Business, and Enterprise. The difference between Professional and Business lays on the number of members who have access: Business allows solo access for starting at $6.58 a month, while Business costs $6.58 per month per member. You can try both of these paid options for free first.
If, instead, you want something best suited for the Microsoft Office ecosystem, look into PDF Office.
In simple terms, PDF Office is an editor, reader, and converter for the Microsoft Office suite. Some of the things you can do with PDF Office include:
- Reading and editing
- Creating a new PDF document
- Make a PDF document password-protected
- Annotate with drawings and text
- Bookmark your documents to pick up where you left off on your next session
- Add images
- Share your documents across applications and by mail
You need to have at least Windows 10 to use PDF Office, but it’s free by signing into your Microsoft account, making this the ideal PDF editing tool if you have Microsoft Office 360.
Now let’s look at Apple’s response to PDF editing, Preview.
Preview is MacOS’s default photo viewing program. It comes with every Mac computer. If you have a Mac computer, that means that you already have a PDF editor, and unless you absolutely don’t like it, or need something with greater capabilities, Preview should get the job done.
For the most part, Preview does everything that the free version of Adobe Acrobat (the most recognizable PDF editor) does. Some examples of actions you can do on your PDF with Preview include:
- Add a signature or create a new one. If you have more than one signature, you will have the option of inserting the one you’d like from a dropdown menu. You can create a signature with your trackpad or by taking a picture with your computer camera. You can also create a signature from your phone or iPad.
- Annotate a PDF document using drawing tools, adding text with a text box, and select text to copy and delete, for example.
- Merge, edit, and split PDF documents.
Since Preview is built into your Mac’s operating system, all you need to do is ensure you’re running software updates when they become available.
If you still want to have an affordable, web-based option to edit PDFs that can be used across different operating systems, you may want to look into PDF Candy.
PDF Candy is an online PDF editor with free and paid options. One of its strongest features is the ability to convert PDFs from a variety of formats, including Word, Excel, and JPG. You can also manipulate your document at your convenience, by doing tasks like rotating, cropping, adding page numbers, headers and footers, watermarks, and passwords, to mention a few.
To edit PDF files on PDF Candy, you can upload your files from cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or drag and drop files into each category of tasks. You can access the free version of PDF Candy on their homepage.
However, PDF Candy also offers three paid options, including a lifetime subscription. The most important difference in the paid plans is that the lifetime subscription, which is a one-time fee of $99, gives you access to both the web and the desktop versions of PDF Candy. The other paid versions, either $6/month or $48/year, only provide access to the web-based PDF Candy tools.
These price points make this a choice to consider if you want a one-and-done PDF editing tool, or if you don’t manage a large volume of documents and believe their free tool can get the job done.
Let Docketwise keep the rest of your immigration law practice in one place
Editing PDFs is just one piece of the puzzle of all the work you do to run your immigration law firm, and an important one at that, but regardless of which PDF tools you use above, let Docketwise manage your immigration cases, keep track of client relationships, and otherwise help you run your firm effectively and efficiently.
With our CRM, full library of immigration forms, easy-to-use client questionnaires and industry-leading API integrations, Docketwise helps you stay up to date on all your immigration cases, communicate easily with your clients, and otherwise build and manage your immigration law firm.