How to Edit PDF Brochures

Ever wondered how to edit PDF documents without having to go back to the source documents to get the correct fonts and images? Or why the portable document format (PDF) wasn´t originally designed to allow easy editing? Well, PDFs were invented by Adobe as a really convenient way of ‘packaging’ documents and sharing them with colleagues and online. They weren´t meant to be edited, or printed.

With the Professional Adobe Acrobat version, it’s possible to edit some elements of a PDF document, though edits can be somewhat limited and sometimes it’s just not possible. There are also some PDF editors available online which can allow you to edit some elements of your PDF document, but it’s usually a hit and miss kind of thing. PDFs weren’t designed to be edited in the first place. In fact, depending on how the PDF was made in the first place, it may have had its layers ‘flattened’ and security features turned on to prevent any editing.

When the original PDF was created, it may have been made for online only viewing and may not have the high-resolution images that are required for quality printing on a digital or offset press.

To carry out extensive edits to a PDF document, it’s good to get back to the original source, whether that is Word, Excel or a page layout program like Adobe InDesign. Then you’ll have access to the fonts and images which will be required to make new high quality PDF versions which contain your edits.

The whole issue of editing PDFs creates an interesting challenge for brand owners whose main goal is to create a carefully crafted visual identity across digital and print across the territories in which it operates. An employee editing a PDF may unwittingly damage the organization’s brand in a moment by changing color, using an unauthorized image or making a copy change that is not permitted.

How to Edit PDF Documents in the 21st Century

This seems very low tech and it’s true that the world of rich document editing in graphic design hasn’t changed much since Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched the Apple Macintosh in 1984. Proprietary applications that require high levels of skill in design, pre-press and other technical issues are still the main means of production of graphic design more than 30 years later.

However, there’s new thinking about how PDF editing and distribution can happen. Tweak Cloud allows users to share Adobe InDesign documents in a web browser and allows users with no design skill to make edits and create new PDFs, either as proofs or press ready.

Users who are not pre-press or design professionals don’t have to worry about the technicalities – the interface has been designed to be simple and easy to use without any training. This kind of editing allows companies with subsidiaries, partners or franchisees in different locations around the world to have exactly the correct collateral their need at any given moment – and to create localized translations or versions in minutes. Once a team member has created changes, it´s possible for the portal manager to require approval before PDFs or made or not, depending on the organization´s brand management policies.

Lower Printed Marketing Materials Costs

How Can I Edit Adobe InDesign Documents?

Adobe InDesign is a proprietary document format owned by Adobe and can’t be opened by other applications - even Adobe applications - so a problem for many designers is how to edit Adobe InDesign documents without encountering compatibility issues.
Adobe InDesign is the most popular page layout program available in the world today and is the default application used in the production of magazines, brochures, newspapers, and large format display. Because many organizations use InDesign for their printed collateral, it’s easy to produce their digital collateral in the application too. It’s easy to export to PDF, PNG, JPEG, GIF and other popular formats.
InDesign has image and illustrations placed within it and these are usually stored in a ‘links’ folder within the folder in which the document is stored. The document needs to maintain the link with these images to produce high quality prints and exports, so if they’re moved, the links will be broken. Each Adobe InDesign document requires the fonts that were used to create it to allow it to be editable and rendered for printing and export.

When you’re receiving an Adobe InDesign document, it’s best to ask for an Adobe InDesign package. Adobe InDesign makes this easy. By using the File> Package command on Macintosh or PC, Adobe will create a folder which contains the InDesign document, all placed images in a ‘links’ folder and all fonts used in the document in a ‘fonts’ folder. This folder can also contain a document, which can be created by the InDesign user with instructions. This can contain any notes from the creator and gives a full inventory of the history of the document, technical specifications and sizes as well as fonts, images used and the print settings that have been selected.
Adobe InDesign documents are easily recognizable by their magenta color with the Id logo and carry the suffix. indd. If an InDesign document has been created as a template it will have the suffix .indt.
Adobe InDesign documents can be opened on Macintoshes or PCs. However, there can be some complications with font compatibility when moving a document from one platform to another, so it’s best to open the document in the platform it has been created in.
There can also be some compatibility issues regarding features that have been created in newer versions of InDesign when opening a document with an older version of the application. Adobe has done a good job of making InDesign backward compatible, but some of these new features may not work when opening the document in an older version of the application.
Plug-Ins are Adobe’s way of allowing third parties to extend the scope of InDesign and create new features. Sometimes these plugins may be required to edit features that are not a core part of the InDesign application. If you’re having difficulties editing some element of the document, it may give you a message about a missing plug in. If you received an InDesign package with the Instructions.txt document, it will highlight if plug-ins were used. Some plugins are free, though many are now valuable pieces of software, which carry a license fee. gives a full overview of the plugin landscape for InDesign.

Guides to Help You Create an Adobe InDesign Document

When you open an Adobe InDesign document, you’ll find that there are a number of guides, which have been used in setting up the document. These will show margins, and columns in the grid of the page. By toggling the W key, you can show or hide these guides. By using the command/Ctrl J button it’s possible to navigate to other pages in the document. There is also a dialog box Window>Pages which allows you to jump from page to page.

InDesign has a few main objects, which allows design to be created

Text boxes – these can be single or multi-column and can contain text of multiple sizes and styles. To edit a text box, just double click with the black pointer and it will highlight the text. The pointer will turn to a text icon and you can choose which part of the text you want to edit.

Image boxes – Images are usually ‘placed’ in the document with a link created to the source. By clicking on a box and typing Command/Ctrl D you can browse for images to edit.

Lines, vector drawing tools can be used to create shapes and rules.

All of these elements can be colored using the color palette. You can choose a separate color for the frame or inside (fill) of a box or other elements. InDesign has very sophisticated tools for frames and lines. When editing an InDesign document, it’s important to remember the scale at which the final output will be viewed, on paper or on a screen to avoid using type, images or colors which will not work at the viewing size.

How to Edit Adobe InDesign Documents the Easy Way

However, editing Adobe InDesign documents can now be carried out in a new and revolutionary way, without using InDesign. Tweak has created an Adobe InDesign plugin, which allows users to upload their Adobe InDesign documents – and their related fonts and images to Tweak Cloud. It’s possible to decide which elements of the documents users in a web browser can edit once the document has been uploaded. Users can be assigned rights to view, edit and make PDFs, JPEGs or share on social media once the document has been placed in a Tweak Cloud portal to which they have been given access.

It’s possible to share a library of images for users to select and edit the images, which have been chosen in a document in Tweak Cloud, and editing text is simply a matter of clicking and typing, just like the Adobe InDesign desktop application.

Anne-Marie Concepción's Advice for Designers and Writers

“The designers are seldom writing the content right and the writers are seldom laying it out but we need to work together” - Ann Marie Concepión

InDesign Secrets podcast co-host and renowned InDesign thought leader Anne Marie Concepción believes that solutions for designers and editors to collaborate are a hot topic.

Indesign Magazine Co-Founder David Blatner

“Designers are tired of making changes” – David Blatner

David Blatner shares his insights into the mind of the designer saying they want to spend their time being creative, not making mundane changes.

Advice From Top Adobe Author Chad Chelius

“It’s really going to take a lot of the burden off the designer” - Chad Chelius

Chad Chelius, who trains design teams at some of the largest ad agencies and brands in the US loves the idea that clients can go in and make type changes to InDesign documents online.

Typography & UK Designer Nigel French

Passionate about type, renowned author and graphic designer Nigel French thinks that designers need to show type more love and think about the size of body copy


How To Get The Most Out Of Tweak Cloud

Beautiful design is awesome, but sometimes you just want to make simple edits to artwork quickly. With our Tweak® Cloud, you can store all of your designs online and give 24/7 access to your wider team so they can edit and make high resolution PDFs themselves in a flash, because, as they say, time is money.

Minutes, not hours

No more will your employees wait on trivially small edits to existing artwork, just get the job done super-fast. With Tweak® Cloud, you and your team can update brand compliant materials and create high resolution PDFs ready for printing within seconds. Simple.

Picture the scene. It’s 11pm, you’re the head of sales, you don’t have access to InDesign® but you have a conference in the morning and need to tweak (no pun intended!) an element of last year’s pop up display graphic. 9 times out of 10, as head of sales, you don’t work with InDesign® or worse still, maybe you don’t even know what InDesign® is or does. Suffice it to say, you’re up some creek without a paddle – time to make a late night call to the Design team!

Now, picture the same scene but with Tweak® Cloud. This scenario would be alleviated instantaneously. You have access to last year’s pop up display in the cloud, you can make the necessary design amendments yourself and be ready for that conference tomorrow…all without having to annoy the Design team late at night….again!

Always print-ready

As a non-designer, the inner workings of how your document is edited isn’t really your concern as long as the designs come out the other side looking great. Detailed design and printing techniques can be highly specialised. With Tweak® Cloud you don’t need to know every single detail about bleed, colour profiles or CMYK images. Once your design files and images are in the cloud you’ll be good to go. We worry about all the technical requirements so you don’t have to.

Easy to use

The really neat feature about Tweak® Cloud is that literally no design experience is necessary. The cloud platform is built specifically for non-designers, meaning you can sign up today and be confident you’ll get the job done whenever artwork needs to be updated.

Making designs freely available to your staff is a tough process and seems like its been this way forever. Thankfully Tweak® Cloud is here to consign this needless torture to history by housing all your company’s design files in the cloud so everyone can access and make quick edits, whenever they want, in their own time. Talk about optimising your design workflow!

Click here to find out more about what Tweak® Cloud can do for your business.

Evolution of a product – the story behind Tweak Cloud

Ever since my team and I started on the Tweak mission in 2007, we had a burning desire to make it easier to access great design and print. We believe that print is far from dead – a powerful and tactile medium that is flexible and accessible to all sizes of business. It’s a means of growing business at a fair price without having to bid against your competition as is the case in online advertising.

We’ve worked hard with the pioneers of online printing like Thorsten Fischer and Tanja Hammerling, founders of Flyeralarm where we power their online stores in eight countries – with our 1.5 million designs across 140 products in six languages.

The result? Real democracy in design and print for the small businesses who use the service that we both provide on their successful online business. Great design for print at a fair price. That’s something we’re really proud of. We work with many other European, US and South American partners – who are disrupting this industry with quality and value.

However, we were constantly being asked to consider creating a platform for print buyers to get online access to their own designs – like we’ve done on the Tweak platform. We started tackling that challenge in 2015 and we demonstrated a full working model of a brand new SAAS application called Tweak Cloud at Drupa the world’s largest printing fair, in Düsseldorf this week. We had listened carefully to what the requirements were and our core objective was to create an application that made it really easy to make Adobe® InDesign® editable through a web browser. The InDesign® document is pre-flighted and colour and PDF settings created before it’s made available to users – ensuring that every PDF that’s made is first class, just like those we make on Tweak Print every day.

Through our InDesign® plug-in, Uploaders can decide what elements of the document can be edited, thus ensuring conformity to brand guidelines. Then the document can be shared to individual users or private brand portals, allowing the editing rights the Uploader granted – including low or high resolution PDF creation – and even ordering print directly within our application.

Our engineering and UI team have done an amazing job – and the reaction at Drupa has been a heart-warming endorsement of their passion and skill. So far, customers from more than 20 countries have committed to building Tweak Cloud into their workflow.

We’re not seeking to replace designers, but have relieved them of the drudgery of endless cycles of amendments – allowing them to focus on their real talent – creating original design. Many designers I know have told me that months after they’ve completed a design, they’ll be asked to drop what they’re working on to make minor changes to a project they’d almost forgotten about, at a moment’s notice. Impossible in a normal studio workflow. Frustrating from a client’s perspective. Not a problem with Tweak Cloud enabled.

We know that marketing professionals – whether they use Tweak Cloud for themselves or though their print partners – will be relieved to know that they can access their InDesign® document 24/7 – and make amendments and print-ready PDFs whenever they want at a low cost. We met one printer who loses money on every single business card order from a major corporate account to hold on to the business. The copy for business cards arrives randomly by email, resulting in multiple mistakes and corrections. He’s putting all of his corporate account material on Tweak Cloud. Now he’ll make money, even on those small orders. His customers will enjoy self-service too.

One Dubai based printer is creating portals for all his brand and ad agency materials to allow self-service and 24-7 ordering. And then there’s the UK midlands based printer whose print and design business is focused on clients in the education sector. “We’re going to put every one of their documents in the Tweak Cloud – and they can make a new version whenever they want – without knowing how to use Adobe® InDesign®, just a web browser – this is great!” this print entrepreneur told us.

We’re proud to have created another game-changing innovation that liberates the users of print – allowing easier customisation and ordering of print – and delighted with the warm welcome it has received from the global printing community.

Watch this space – we’ve got even more surprises coming!

Jerry Kennelly, Founder & CEO, Tweak.

Tweak Cloud is available from July 4th.

Simon Eccles & Key Trends at Drupa 2016

Simon Eccles is a highly respected Print Technology journalist, based in the UK who has been covering print for more years than he cares to remember. He followed his father into the printing business and studied at the London Printing School before embarking on a career which included editing and reporting roles in a wide variety of publications including MacWeek, Digit, Digital Printer and PrintWeek in the United Kingdom. He’s covered an astounding NINE Drupas and told Jerry Kennelly about his impressions of Drupa 2016.


It’s been a very impressive, informative show so far and I’ve counted this is my 9th Drupa so I’m feeling like I’m an industry veteran right now! As every, for the last 20 years digital has been the primary moving force behind what’s happening in the printing industry. I’ve seen it go from microcomputers being the next big thing, through to digital cameras and now it’s digital printing, and now we’re seeing digital printing move into the mainstream and I think that’s probably one of the most important trends here and we’re also seeing people do more and more automation and what they can be turning the printing process into a true process where it is as much hands off; they’re calling it touch free or touchless jargon, along those lines!


There’s two areas that are possibly very innovative and very important; one is corrugated production, carton production using digital printing has been very slow to take off, much slower than what people thought, as opposed to label printing which has been going digital for the last 10 years and has become a very important part of the label sector. Folding carton production has not yet taken off, despite the prediction of it being the big thing, so in the meantime corrugated packaging is being seen as an intermediate step in the meantime. Corrugated production is very specialized and involves very large machines. There are some very impressive and large machines here at the show (Drupa).

What’s exciting me at the moment is something called “direct to shape” which is using primarily UV inkjet technology to print directly onto objects, as opposed to flat pieces of paper or transfers which then go on to something like an iPad or a phone case. It’s getting to be increasingly possible to print directly onto something that is a complex shape. One example is Heidelberg with their Omnifire which is basically a robotic are that grabs soccer balls and sprays an image onto it so you can buy in Germany, Switzerland personalized soccer balls and indeed in Heidelberg town you can buy personalized Muesli packs which are printed by these robots. Heidelberg in particular is talking about being able to print directly onto aircraft wings, vehicles and fridges and white goods in the future. Heidelberg is not the only one. It is quite a trend this idea of being able to print onto objects as opposed to printing onto transfers or shrink-wraps and using that as an intermediate process. I think eventually we’ll see it go onto ceramic tableware. We’re already seeing printing onto floor tiles. The industry for printed tiles has gone digital remarkably fast in the last 3 or 4 years. I think it’s something like 80 or 90% of all tiles printed worldwide are now digital. However, that’s not print and paper, which Drupa is about! Drupa meaning “druck und papier”!


Probably from my point of view, as primarily writing about digital printing, the most impressive aspect is the high-speed web printers are getting much, much better. You’ve had high-speed web for 8 years. They are solving the problems of printing on uncoated papers, or papers not primarily coated for inkjets which have been too expensive, so until recently you’ve had the option of either printing the very fast cheaply on low grade paper where you couldn’t get good quality or you could pay a fortune for the good paper and get good quality. Now you can get the bit of both and I think that’s probably the most important aspect of Drupa, that inkjet is getting faster, cheaper and better on more affordable papers.


I’ve been in the business for all my life. My father was in printing. I went to printing college. I’ve been writing about printing for 35 years and in all that time print has been dying according to pundits. Absolute rubbish! Look yourself. Look around you. You go into a pub or a shop or a supermarket – everything is printed. Signage is going to be with us forever. Packaging – you’re not going to wrap up your Corn Flakes in an Internet page. People are going to have promotional products, promotional goods, shirts, printed tableware, printed soft furnishing. Everything is printed. Print on paper for publishing may be affected as we talked earlier with newspapers not knowing what to do about the Internet revolution. Same for the magazines I work for. Books in a way are bouncing back where the idea of print on demand means a book need never go out of print anymore. In a way the volumes are going down, but the fact that you’ve got more jobs, more titles being printed in books than ever before as far as I know.

Hans Decuyper & Time-Effective Design

One of our ideas when we launched Tweak Cloud was to allow design agencies to manage their time better – Hans Decuyper, Creative Director of Belgian design agency talked to us about how Tweak Cloud could mean more effective use of time for his team, who don’t want to be spending their time doing minor changes, but real design.

Tweak Cloud – Hans Decuyper, Creative Director


I just saw a presentation of the Tweak Cloud software and it seemed to me that it’s very easy to use for our client’s to edit their files in a cloud-based application.


What I saw in the Tweak solution I think it’s possible that we can make or that our clients can make their own versions from the source files so they can make changes for different kinds of translations, i.e. English version, Hungarian version, maybe Chinese version!


I think that workflows can be faster because we don’t want to spend our time for corrections, for doing corrections. Most of our customers want to make their corrections on their own. We are too expensive for making corrections. We just have a design task for making new documents and new designs, but not for repetitive stuff like versioning or something!


This would be a nice solution for combining many clients into one cloud where they can do their own editing.

Do you think this is something that could be profitable, that is something your clients would be willing to pay for?

Yes, I think this software would be a great service for our clients and for us. We can make more money by not doing all those repetitive kind of jobs.