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Converting Text to Outlines Using Only Acrobat Pro


Pursuant to our last conversation, what do you do when you absolutely NEED to
get into a PDF and edit something, but when you edit the page with Illustrator, it
tells you that you're missing the fonts and the page looks like scrambled eggs
when it opens?


Down-and-Dirty dictates that you convert that text to outlines. You may already
know that you can select text in InDesign and convert that to outlines, but what if
all you have to work with is a PDF?


There's a plug-in for Acrobat called Enfocus Pitstop that'll do the trick (and tons
of other great stuff), but what if you don't have Pitstop?


Walp, as my Grandpappy Ole Down and Dirty used to say, crank up Acrobat Pro and open that PDF
to convert that dagburned text to outlines right thar. The process is somewhat labor intensive, but well
worth the time to learn, and quickly becomes second nature. I use it pretty much every day. (Warning! Not
for the faint-hearted. This gets a little technical.  PLUS, Adobe absolutely does NOT recommend this!)


  1. SAVE YOUR EXISTING PDF!! Work on a COPY! I cannot stress this enough! Once you convert
    the text to outlines you CAN'T go back.

  2. Opening the COPY of your PDF In Acrobat Pro (see #1), open the "View" menu and select "Tools >
    Action WIzard,"  then select "Create Watermark."

  3. In the dialogue box that follows, type a space in the "text" area, change the font to Arial, the point size
    to 4 or smaller, the Opacity Slider to zero, and  choose "Appear behind page." Go back to the top of this
    dialogue box and "Save Settings as..." and give it a memorable name, like "Jake." This way you can
    select the "Jake" setting and not have to remember all this stuff every time. Click OK at lower right.

  4. Go to View > Tools > Print Production and choose "Flattener Preview" from the pull-down menu. Make
    sure "High Resolution" is selected in the Present area, select "Convert All Text to Outlines"
    and "Convert all Strokes to Outlines," then click on "All Pages in Documents," and select "Apply"
    at bottom.

  5. If there are no issues, the PDFs text has now been converted to outlines, and you can edit it in Adobe


Next up: Workaround to High End EPS

Ole Down and Dirty



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