You don’t have to be a well-seasoned graphic designer to make a PDF presentation visually appealing. However, you will need a couple of tools to help you transfer the ideas in your head into the PDF document.
So whether you’re preparing a professional presentation for business partners or creating a how-to manual, it’s always a good idea to have at least a few of the tools I listed below.
#1: Canva for Graphic Editing
Canva works great for PDFs because it comes with a few pre-designed templates for documents, ebooks, marketing materials, blog articles, and so on. So you can just use one of these and avoid the anguish of creating a design from scratch.
However, there are other tools you can use, such as Photoshop, InDesign, or GIMP(if your budget is limited.) Canva also has a free version that you can use (with limited functionality) to put together gorgeous PDFs.
Since PDF is one of the most popular formats used for documents online, it was only natural to have tools dedicated to the editing process. And I’m not talking about the content here (this will come a bit later.) I am talking about the frame of the document and its overall structure.
For instance, a tool like PDFSimpli is useful when you want to merge snippets from different documents in a single file. Plus, an editor also has the split feature, so you can split PDF into pages and choose only the pages you need. Of course, editors have several other useful functions, but these are the ones I use most often.
#3: Google Docs
PDFs are great because they keep everything as the author intended regardless of the viewer’s device. As long as you have an up-to-date browser, you can open and read a PDF.
However, when you put everything together (the text and other elements,) it’s best to use a text editor such as Google Docs, MS Word, or LibreOffice Writer. These tools were created exactly for this type of activity and have the necessary features to help you create astonishing-looking documents.
When you’re done with the creative process, and you feel satisfied with the result, you can simply export the content into PDF format.
#4: Canva for Templates
I already talked about PDF templates when I mentioned Canva (check #1,) but you can find PDF templates on a wide range of websites (free and with pay.)
But what exactly is a PDF template?
In short, a template is an already designed frame that allows you to replace the text and graphic elements with your own simply. Everything is already placed within the document, but you can adjust it to your liking.
Overall, I love working with templates because you start knowing what the end result should look like.
#5: Canva for Infographics
Any presentation or document, regardless of format, looks better with graphic elements. These can be images, charts, diagrams, graphs, and more. However, the ones that I found to perform the best are infographics.
These can be used as-is or as part of a larger document and have huge sharing potential. Still, you do need the talents of a graphic designer if you want a visually attractive infographic that’s easy to understand as well.
The other alternative is to use an infographic maker tool such as Free infographic maker by Canva.
#6: Image Color Picker
Image color picker is a simple tool, but it can save you a lot of time and frustration. If you use a graphic design tool like Canva or Photoshop, these come with a built-in color picker, but when you don’t feel like opening a resource-consuming software just to get a color code, you can find an HTML Color Picker online.
#7: Adobe Reader for Backgrounds
Backgrounds are easy to make your PDFs look professional without investing too much effort. The background can be anything from a solid color to a faded image or text (depending on what you’re trying to highlight.) However, it needs to fit well with the foreground, and you need to make sure it doesn’t obstruct the information you’re trying to share.
If you use the Adobe Reader PDF (or any other PDF tool that lets you manipulate the background,) you should be able to add backgrounds on specific pages, on all pages, or a range of pages. However, you can only add one background per page, so if you want something more complex, you will have to piece it together before inserting it into the file.
Also, keep in mind that adding background images will make the resulting PDF bigger in size.
#8: PDF Link Editor
PDFs can be used as lead magnets or to attract new subscribers. This is why many websites offer ebooks in PDF format, how-to guides, or exclusive success recipes when you agree to become their subscribers or start a trial with them.
Furthermore, since it’s easy to insert links, you can easily guide readers toward your landing pages. So you can also use them as marketing tools, especially in awareness-raising campaigns.
However, when it comes to editing links in large files, things can get a bit challenging. So to avoid missing out on any old links, it’s best to use a link editor like PDF Link Editor. This tool allows you to work in batch mode, or you can remove all the links in a PDF file, which comes in handy when you want to repurpose your marketing materials.
Whether we’re talking about an official document or one designed for marketing purposes, an official signature with your company’s contact information makes everything seem more straightforward.
Luckily, plenty of tools let you insert a signature and other details in various PDF files with ease. However, if you want to sign legally binding electronic documents, you may need DocuSign. So make sure to discuss it with business partners and third parties first.
#10: Acrobat DC for Increased Protection
As we already mentioned, one of the reasons PDF is so popular is the fact that it keeps the content as designed regardless of the device you use to read it. However, this doesn’t prevent anyone from copying and redistributing your content as their own.
So if you want to share sensitive information or you’d like to protect your content from being copied, you can use Acrobat DC to password-protect the file or remove access to the copy feature. Also, passwords can prevent anyone without the right access to information from reading and sharing the document. While this is not a 100% guarantee your content won’t still be shared, it is a serious deterrent.
The PDF is a great format for various types of documents. It can also be used to stimulate productivity for remote teams since it makes sharing and collaboration easier. Plus, it doesn’t take much to create beautiful designs and spread your knowledge and ideas in a well-designed format. Overall, the more care you put into your creations, the better they will fare with your audience.