How to Edit a PDF in Affinity Designer

Affinity designer may not be the first application you think of when needing to edit your PDF. Many applications on the market are specifically for editing PDFs, but many are subscription based. If you already have Affinity Designer, you don’t need to spend extra money to edit your PDF.

Affinity Designer allows you to import, edit and export your PDF. Since the application is primarily used for creating and editing vector graphics, you may not know where to begin in editing your PDF. Keep reading for easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions on how to edit your PDF using Affinity Designer.

How to Edit Your PDF in Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer works similarly to any other editing application, and the software is designed to take on a variety of projects with a user-friendly interface. To execute your edit, you may need to familiarize yourself with a few of Affinity Designer’s functions.

  1. First, open your PDF in Affinity Designer by navigating to File > Open.
  2. From the PDF dialog box, choose the number of pages to import, set resolution, and color space.
  3. In the same dialog box, set text settings
  4. Determine if single text lines should be treated as single lines or as a whole text chunk
  5. Select font substitution

Now you can begin editing your PDF. Let’s look at the different elements of a PDF document and how to edit them in Affinity Designer.

If you’re looking for elements to add to your PDF, head over to for ready-to-use templates for logos and other print or digital elements.

Adding or Removing Artboards

Affinity Designer uses Artboards instead of Pages. If you want to add an additional page or remove an entire page from your PDF document, you can do so using the Artboard tool.

  1. In the tools panel, select Artboard Tool
  2. Select the size within the context toolbar: Document, Selection, or Preset.
  3. In the same toolbar, select Insert Artboard

If you would like to remove a page from your existing PDF document, use the following steps:

  1. In the Layers panel, select the artboard or multiple Artboards
  2. Select Remove Layer

If you want to duplicate a page in your PDF, you can do so from the Edit menu and select Duplicate.

Using Design Aids

PDFs are typically text-heavy, but they combine text with images, whether photos, icons, or graphics. To keep track of the design layout of your PDF as your editing, potentially adding or removing elements, you can use design aids to keep your artboard cohesive.

Design aids allow you to set up guides and grid outlines to position objects. You can also activate snapping so any objects or elements added or rearranged can be dynamically aligned to the guides or grids. To add a grid to your PDF, use the following steps:

  1. Navigate to View > Grid and Axis Manager
  2. Select Basic mode
  3. Select your Divisions and Spacing values
  4. Click Close

If you would like to add a column guide to your PDF document, use the following steps:

  1. Navigate to View > Show Column Guides > Guides Manager
  2. Within the Guides Manager set: columns, rows, gutter, style, and color.

To make an artboard snapping candidate, select the artboard and hover over it until the artboard flashes purple.

Artboard External Content

There are various changes you could make to the elements of an artboard. Some changes may be complex, while others are just a few simple steps. Let’s look at the basics of what you can adjust within your PDF document on Affinity Designer.

Rearranging content within an artboard or from one artboard to another is an essential tool in editing your PDF. With Edit All Layers enabled, you can easily move objects between artboards and use your grids and guides to position them.

Since PDF documents are primarily text with a few images, let’s tackle placing image content and adding text to your artboard. To place content, use the following steps:

  1. Navigate to File > Place
  2. Select the image you want and click Open
  3. You can either click to place the image at its default size or drag the image onto the page to set the size and position.
  4. To replace an image, select the placed content and navigate to the context toolbar.
  5. Select Replace Document or Replace Image
  6. Select the replacement file from the list

With text, the basics are formatting, moving, and editing. You can add a text box via the Frame Text Tool in the toolbar and select your font, size, and formatting. Affinity Designer has a typography library within the Artistic Text Tool if you want to add a heading or a more graphic element.

To format, move or edit text, use the following steps:

  1. Select the Move Tool from the toolbar
  2. Click a text object to make formatting changes to ALL text or double-click to make formatting changes to portions of the text within the text object.
  3. To move text, select the word, phrase, or paragraph, drag and drop where you like it.
  4. To edit text, double-click into the text object and begin typing or deleting the text you desire.

You can add your own content created within Affinity Designer using the library of tools to create graphics or illustrations, including the Shape Tools, Design Tools, Selection Tools, and Retouch Tools.

Exporting Your PDF

Once you’ve completed editing your PDF, all that is left is to export the document. Before you begin this process, give your PDF a once-over to ensure all the edits needed were made and locked. When you’re ready to save your PDF, use the following steps:

  1. Navigate to File > Export
  2. Adjust settings in the dialog box: format, preset, area, and resample.
  3. If you want to Preview your PDF before exporting, select Preview in the Export dialog box.
  4. Click Export


Now you have the basics for editing an existing PDF in Affinity Designer, whether adding, removing, formatting, or moving an element like images and text. You can arrange the elements within your pages or artboards exactly as you’d like and export your updated PDF to your hard drive.