It is definitely possible to edit PDF files in Visio! It involves just a few simple steps:
- Convert the PDF file to WMF or EMF (see which format produces the best results for your file) using pdf2picture. WMF and EMF are the native vector graphic formats for Microsoft applications. Note: if you have previously tried using pdf2cad to convert your PDF file for use in Visio, you might want to try pdf2picture now. Since the the resulting WMF file is a native Windows format, it usually produces a better Visio file.
- Open the WMF file in Visio. You can do this by “right-clicking” on the file and choosing “Open with Microsoft Visio” or by selecting “Open, File” (choose files type Windows Metafile (WMF). > details (PDF)
- Adjust your drawing. You should see your file on the screen now. Adjust your paper size and orientation if necessary. Ungroup the Drawing. Select “Shape, Grouping, Ungroup…” to explode the drawing into individual editable objects and you are ready to make any changes that you want.
- Save as Visio Drawing. That’s it. Once you save the drawing, it is now in the native .vsd format and ready to share with your colleagues if necessary
A Few Words of Caution
- Is your drawing scanned? Before converting, make sure that your PDF file in not a scanned image. If it is, it can not be edited at the object level using this approach. To see if your file can be converted or not, open it in Adobe Acrobat and magnify it to 1000%. If the lines look smooth, you’ll have success. If the lines look jagged or boxy, it is scanned and you will need to use a different approach. > more on how to determine what type of PDF file you have.
- Text as curves. Sometimes, when drawings are originally authored in CAD systems, the text is “plotted” when it is saved to PDF. This means that the text is converted to a series of pen strokes or “curves” and the character information is lost. In this case, you will not be able to edit the text but you will have a graphical representation of it that you can use or replace in context. If you just find that the font does not match the original file, you may need to use the font mapping feature during conversion.
- Objects or shapes? When the drawing is saved to PDF, all information about pre-defined shapes is lost. When opened in Visio, an octagon is eight lines which can be grouped or ungrouped.
- Mind your Memory. Because of the large number of objects in many Visio drawings generated from PDF files, you’ll need a bit of power on your desktop. Every file is different so it’s hard for us to make general recommendations. If you find that the file is opening slowly or takes a while to refresh, you’ll need more memory. It’s not unusual for a converted PDF file to be comprised of more than 50,000 individual objects. This may sound intimidating but pdf2picture makes quick work of it!
- Ask for Advice. If you try to convert a PDF but are not getting the results you expect, ask us to troubleshoot it for you. It’s free and we are happy to help you achieve optimal results. Just send your PDF file tous along with a brief description and your contact info. The most complete requests are handled first.