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Advisor Insights

The Best Tools for Editing PDF Files

Contributor Ben Brown reviews some of the tools that advisors can use to edit the predominant file format.

Created by Adobe a full 26 years ago in 1993, the Portable Document Format, or PDF, still reigns supreme as the file format of choice for documents you need to look the same on every device or app. As advisors, we're likely using and sharing PDF files on a daily basis, from portfolio and investment analyses, to financial-planning deliverables or supporting documentation, to account statements, tax returns, and beyond.

Nearly all of the most commonly used platforms and devices have some sort of built-in PDF viewing functionality, whether you're using Windows, MacOS, Android, or iOS. While opening and viewing PDF files is fairly straightforward, editing them is another story, with most basic PDF readers offering only limited functionality. Predictably, the need to edit a PDF file is likely to be greater in a business setting, where additional features such as editing existing text or images, adding annotations, document redaction, and adding fillable form fields are particularly useful. Thankfully, there are a number of PDF editors on the market to help you level up the PDF abilities of your advisory business, each with its own strengths depending on the operating system and devices you're using.

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