Editing PDFs in place on iPad with an external PDF editing app

Hi there!
I recently made the move to using the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9” as my primary mobile computing device. I want to be able to edit a PDF, say in the Files.app, with an external PDF editor. My choice would be PDF Expert. Unfortunately, the only option to edit with an external PDF editor would be to copy the PDF to PDF Expert using the share sheet. PDF Viewer.app allows you to import a document, but I don’t think it saves the edits back to the original file in Files.app. I am finding the same issue while trying to edit PDFs in my DEVONThink To Go database as well. I am not sure if this is an iOS limitation or if its the developers that need to the catching up. Can anyone please let me know if I should stop bothering about this ability and wait for iOS 13 to fix the issue or if there is anything I am missing in how I understand how “PDF Editing” works.

Thanks and appreciate your feedback

In PDF Expert you can go to Documents > iCloud Drive and then open a file, this lets you edit it in place. I just tested with a PDF and it worked perfectly. The trick is knowing where to find the feature that lets you do that though!


Hi Rosemary,
Thanks for the response. I should have mentioned that I am aware of that feature. I was wondering if there was a way to open the file in place from the Files.app into an external editing app, make changes and save it back to Files.app. For example, Dropbox allows you to open PDFs in Adobe Reader. I am looking for something similar. Hope I make sense.
Congratulations on your new book.

I have switched from PDF Expert to PDF Viewer (and also the beta for Highlights which will hopefully be out soon) for most uses, because of the easier integration with iOS native files support. The Readdle apps have been great but they predated Files on iOS and now their alternative file systems just seem awkward and lead to unnecessary duplication.

Also PDF Viewer does edit in place, saving back to the source location.

I am not sure how you use PDF Viewer.app to edit PDFs in place in Files.app. I only see an option to import into PDF Viewer.app. However, importing the document into PDF Viewer.app doesn’t save back changes/edits back to the file in Files.app. Could you elaborate on how you do edits in place? Thanks

I sync folders with Dropbox where I keep my PDF’s and have had no problem with PDF Expert. Edit in place. Love it.

I don’t suppose you open the files directly from Dropbox.app. My understanding is you would do this by opening the files contained in Dropbox.app by opening it from within PDF Viewer. I am looking for a way to open and edit files in place within the Files.app or for that matter, apps like DEVONThink, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Can I ask why you want to do it this way vs just opening PDF expert first? Not doubting your workflow or your needs — just want to understand.

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When I open PDF Viewer I see a file picker interface identical to the Files interface (except for the color scheme) and open the file from there.