The PDF file format is popular due to its excellent support for text and pictures, as well as its tiny file size. It’s also helpful for keeping a document’s quality and layout.
PDF files are an excellent method to exchange information, whether for work, education, or personal usage. The nice thing about PDF documents is that their information remains unchanged regardless of the application used to access them or the device on which they are viewed. As a result, PDF documents are appropriate for critical information that may be misinterpreted if the document’s design or layout were modified.
While there are integrated services available, such as Markup on iOS and macOS, a specialized tool for editing PDF documents is unquestionably the best method to comment and modify your documents in one spot.
It might be difficult to determine which PDF editor to use. That is why we have compiled a thorough list of the top free PDF editors, which you can see below.
The only issue is that there aren’t many free PDF editors. Because Adobe, the original developer of the PDF format, still controls some of the technology connected with it, this is the case. Because Adobe charges software developers a fee to work with PDFs, most applications can store documents in PDF format but not modify them.
A PDF editor allows you to edit images and text in PDF files without having to convert them to a new format or pay for pricey specialist software, and we’ve compiled a list of the finest alternatives right here. If you are a Windows user, there are a variety of free and commercial PDF editors for Windows that you may use to modify your PDF file.
Although Adobe Acrobat is the most well-known PDF editor, there are other choices to consider. Having access to a PDF editor allows you to modify document content, add photos, fill out forms, and convert PDF files to other formats. A PDF editor is a handy tool if you frequently work with this format.
Our guide to the top PDF editors will assist you in selecting the finest editor for your needs.
- Free PDF editors for Windows
- Paid PDF editors for Windows
We’ve collected a list of them below.
Free PDF editors for Windows
Sejda is the first free PDF editor that you may install on your Windows machine. If you have a Linux or Mac computer, you may install Sejda on it as well because it is available for those two systems. Sejda is a web tool built for quick PDF editing, and it excels at it. It’s simple, with an emphasis on quick PDF signatures and just minimal text editing for the files you submit. But that’s also one of the reasons we like it. Sejda is mostly a web-based PDF editor, but the creator also provides a desktop version that allows you to edit PDF files offline. Sejda features a modern, clean user interface.
It enables you to modify current texts or add new ones. You may change the font and text color when editing a text. There are also options for adding and removing pages. You can insert items into the PDF file you’re working on, such as a form, a signature, or a shape.
Sejda is free to use, however you are restricted to three jobs each day. If you need to remove the restrictions, you can use the pro version.
This online PDF editor allows you to perform a variety of things with PDFs, such as change the font formatting of text, add photos, fill out forms, add or modify hyperlinks, add form fields, make notes, and sign PDFs. You may also sign PDFs using one of three methods: drawing your signature with your mouse, entering your name, or uploading a picture of your signature.
It gives precise directions, making it difficult to make a mistake, and it is rapid. If your employer or coworker doesn’t understand technology or has the patience to download new applications, but you still need their signature on a random PDF file, this is one of the finest alternatives.
If you’re searching for a simple online PDF editor, give this one a try. However, there are certain limits to the free version: You can only upload up to 200 pages or 50 Mb at a time, and you can only perform three “tasks each hour.”
A convenient cloud-based free PDF editor
Smallpdf’s Edit PDF utility provides a simple user interface for adding text and picture content to PDF files. This platform also allows you to add comments and highlights to material already contained in your PDFs, as well as easy e-signing.
The Smallpdf system also includes a plethora of other PDF editing tools. Along with the editing feature, you may convert PDFs into easier-to-edit formats like Word and PowerPoint files, and you can conserve space by combining individual PDF documents into a single file.
The best feature of Smallpdf is that it is a cloud-based platform. In other words, you may get to it from any compatible device simply by going to the Smallpdf website and dragging and dropping a PDF into your browser.
Don’t be alarmed by the solicitations to start a “free trial” – you only need to do this if you wish to install the Smallpdf Desktop application for offline editing.
3. PDFSam Basic
If your requirements are minimal, this may be all you require.
Often, all that is required is to divide a PDF into numerous pieces, combine several pages together, or modify the page orientation. This is frequently the case while working with scanned paper materials. If this sounds like you, PDFsam Basic is the tool for the job. It’s a little desktop application that’s definitely worth keeping around for exactly such occasions.
Unlike some of the other tools on our list, it does not allow you to modify the actual content of PDFs, but it does make dividing and merging them a breeze. Simply choose the page range and you’re done. You won’t have to worry about watermarks, and you won’t have to send your (possibly important) papers to an unknown third party.
During installation, you’ll be prompted whether you want to run a trial of PDFsam Enhanced (a paid-for software), but you may reject by unchecking the option given.
ApowerPDF is a robust PDF editor for Windows. It has all of the qualities listed by Sejda above. In addition, this PDF editor features OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and lets you password-protect your PDF file. It also features an excellent user interface. Unfortunately, the free version of ApowerPDF is very limited. Your PDF file will have a huge watermark, and you will only be able to export the first five pages of your work.
5. Icecream PDF Editor
The Previous ApowerPDF and Icecream PDF Editor are quite similar. You may also use it to edit PDFs for free. However, after using this application to modify a PDF file, a watermark will appear that cannot be erased unless you purchase the premium version. You may modify your PDF document using Icecream PDF Editor by adding new text, changing existing text, and adding components such as a form, image, stamp, or shape. If necessary, you may also add a new page to your PDF file. Icecream PDF Editor features an excellent user interface.
CleverPDF is comparable to PDF Candy in many ways. It does not enable you to make changes to the content of your PDF file. CleverPDF, on the other hand, only allows you to add a watermark to a PDF file, add a page number, divide a PDF file, extract photos from a PDF file, compress a PDF file, and convert a PDF file to another format. CleverPDF is available for free with certain limitations. One example is that you cannot modify a PDF file that is more than 10 pages long.
7. PDF Candy
Unlike the other three programs mentioned above, PDF Candy does not allow you to alter the content of your PDF file. This tool cannot be used to repair errors, add new text, or add any other element. PDF Candy is a PDF converter rather than a PDF editor. It does, however, include some additional functions, such as the ability to combine PDF files, divide a PDF file, remove a page, extract images and text from your PDF file, and change the metadata. You may use PDF Candy for free, and your PDF file will not have a watermark, but the free version limits you to only two jobs each day.
Paid PDF editors for Windows
1. Foxit PhantomPDF
If you wish to modify a PDF file collaboratively with your peers, Foxit PhantomPDF is an excellent PDF editor. It has a collaboration function that allows you to share your thoughts with others. You can ask your teammates to join you in updating the document. Foxit PhantomPDF’s interface is quite similar to that of a word processor. In addition to editing and adding text, Foxit PhantomPDF allows you to add a digital signature, a new page, and components. You may also scan a document and create an editable PDF version from it.
Foxit PhantomPDF comes in two flavors: standard and business. To give this tool a try, there is a 14-day trial period available. Foxit PDF Editor is an excellent premium choice for organizations and professionals that want additional editing capabilities. The first thing you need to know is that there are three types of editor products: Foxit PDF Editor, Foxit PDF Editor, and Foxit PDF Editor Pro. The Online version appears to be a free alternative, but it is not: you must sign up for an account and you will only get a five-day free trial.
You may edit and add text and objects, insert and remove pages, convert to and from other file formats, and even password protect, sign, and redact sections of PDFs using the Online version.
The basic PDF Editor edition costs $79 per year and is available for Windows, macOS, Internet, Android, and iOS. There are six feature sets included: Edit, Review, Manage, Share, Protect, and Create. PDF Editor Pro is only available for Windows and costs $99; it includes everything in the basic version as well as three additional feature sets: Advanced Collaboration, Advanced Editing, and Advanced Security. Each of these alternatives also provides free trials so you may put them to the test.
2. WPS Office
WPS Office is more well recognized as a free alternative to Microsoft Office. In addition to the three core applications (word processor, spreadsheet editor, and presentation builder), WPS Office includes a PDF editor for editing PDF files. The interface of WPS Office’s PDF editor is quite similar to that of its word processor. You may change the text, add a new one, add an image, add a digital signature, add/delete a page, divide a PDF file, and so on with WPS Office’s PDF editor.
WPS Office is a fantastic alternative if you want to edit your PDF file with your colleagues since it has a collaboration function that allows you to edit your PDF file in real-time with your teammates. You may access your PDF file from anywhere by saving it to the cloud. WPS Office’s PDF editor function is only accessible in the premium edition, but you may test it for free.
3. Nitro PDF
Nitro is another PDF editor with a multitude of features for Windows. This tool’s functions are similar to those of the other PDF editors mentioned above, in that you can edit and add text, add a signature, an image, and other components. Nitro includes the ability to request a signature. The Nitro Pro PDF editor has numerous PDF editing tools that are comparable to those found in the other PDF editors for Windows 10 described above. Among its capabilities are the ability to edit, create and merge, review, and cooperate.
You receive a full range of content editing tools, review and markup features for efficient collaboration, form filling, and signature capabilities, and numerous security choices for important documents, such as permissions, password protection, and data redaction. All of these essential functions are logically grouped in a Microsoft Office-style ribbon interface that divides them into task-based tabs.
The most common application for PDF editors is to create and convert PDFs, and Nitro Pro has long excelled at both: It can generate PDFs from more than 300 different file types and convert them to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.
Furthermore, the Nitro editor allows you to fill up, sign, and protect your PDF files. It is compatible with all Windows operating systems and is available in two versions: personal and business. The professional edition costs $179.99 and includes a slew of additional capabilities.
4. Adobe Acrobat DC
Adobe created the PDF format almost 30 years ago, and Acrobat Pro DC remains the industry standard for editing PDF files today. It’s a PDF editor that combines the best features of the other applications on our list into a single application. It’s also one of the few paid apps that’s accessible for both Windows and macOS. Acrobat Pro DC has the specialized mobile capability (with iOS and Android applications) and the ability to convert different web pages (HTML), Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and then even scans or image files like PNG or JPEG to PDF.
Simply said, the premium edition of Adobe Acrobat Reader is unrivaled for editing PDF files. It includes a variety of text-editing tools and can convert and save scanned documents to PDF in seconds. It can even combine several PDF files into one. Reordering pages, page rotation, annotations, page cropping, page deletions, and the ability to divide PDFs into distinct files are all included in Adobe’s editing tools.
Of course, failing to mention this tool while considering PDF editors would be a mistake. One of the most popular PDF editors is Adobe Acrobat DC. You may use this tool with your Adobe account, which is cloud-integrated. You may share your PDF file with your coworkers by uploading it to the cloud. Adobe Acrobat DC also has OCR capabilities and the ability to scan a printed page and convert it to an editable PDF version. Adobe Acrobat DC comes in two flavors: Acrobat Standard DC (for Windows only) and Acrobat Pro DC (for Mac and Linux) (Windows and Mac). You may test it for 7 days for free.
While PDFescape is online software, you may use any browser to access it. There is no lengthy installation process that will impede your work. Users may use the editor with any operating system as long as they have a working internet connection. Safari, Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera are all browsers that may use PDFescape’s service.
Simply open a PDF file in the PDF viewer and begin adding text and photos, as well as white-out existing information. There are useful features like zoom and rotate to help you view small or oddly angled text easier, and you can utilize a slew of common tools including a form designer and various annotation capabilities.
There is also a PC version available with the same functionality. It costs $3 per month (when paid annually), but you may try it out for free. You won’t need an internet connection to use it, and the monthly fee of $3 isn’t too terrible. Overall, it’s a functional, straightforward PDF editor. Give it a shot if you’re not searching for anything too difficult.
PDFescape is a feature-rich PDF editor that allows you to modify PDF files. It enables you to modify the content of your PDF file, such as correcting errors, adding new text, adding new components such as images and forms, and so on. You can add or delete a page while editing a large PDF file. PDFescape also has a password-protection option for PDF files. A free trial version of PDFelement is available.
6. PDF Architect 8
Pdfforge, a German firm, features unique purchasing options for its PDF Architect application. It may be downloaded for free or as part of one of three different packages (Standard, Professional, and Pro+OCR). Each package has a collection of modules for the application that governs its editing capabilities. The Edit, Convert, and Page modules are included in the Standard package. Professional includes all of the modules included in the Standard package as well as the Review/Comment, Secure, and Forms modules. Finally, Pro+OCR includes everything included in the Professional package as well as the OCR Advanced modules. The Pdfforge website has detailed explanations of each module.
Even the Pro+OCR package is reasonably priced, and the entire array of editing features makes it one of the most comprehensive, all-inclusive PDF editors available. PDF Architect 8 is the most recent version, and premium memberships offer capabilities such as text editing, file merging, the ability to convert PDFs into other file formats, support for comments/annotations, and password security of your PDFs.
PDF Architect 8 is available for free (for a short time). It allows you to convert Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents to PDFs, rotate PDFs and even combine and remove pages from PDFs.
7. PDF-XChange Editor
PDF-XChange Editor is a free PDF editor with a plethora of capabilities. Editing text, adding or listening to audio comments, annotations, applying custom stamps, adding or editing hyperlinks, and the option to move, create or edit bookmarks are just a few of the capabilities available. However, you will not be able to modify scanned documents. PDF-XChange does support Sharepoint, Google Drive, and Microsoft Office 365, so you may access documents through those cloud services and convert them to or from PDFs as needed using the PDF-XChange Editor.
If you require more than what the free version provides, you must upgrade to a license. You’ll have access to features like Bates numbering, removing and relocating pages, adding blank pages, and header and footer support if you do. It’s also worth mentioning that the free version adds a watermark to any documents you modify or generate with it. Licenses begin at $46 for one user and include one year of maintenance.
PDF-XChange Editor is only available for Windows-based computers.
8. Wondershare PDFelement
PDFElement is a PDF Editor created by Wondershare, the same company that created Filmora9, an easy-to-use video editor. PDFElement allows you to change the content of your PDF file by adding new text, editing existing text, adding photos, a watermark, a form, and other features. A menu is also available for password-protecting a PDF file. Dropbox is incorporated with PDFElement. You may open your PDF file directly from Dropbox and save it back to Dropbox.
PDFElement comes in two flavors: Pro and Standard. The Pro edition includes more sophisticated capabilities such as OCR support, the ability to scan a paper document into an editable PDF, add a digital signature, and so on. PDFElement provides a free trial to allow you to test out the available features.
Wondershare PDFelement has many of the same editing tools as the other PDF editors on our list. While it does provide a free trial, it is mostly a pay-to-use program. There are two sorts of premium versions: PDFelement and PDFelement Pro. If you don’t mind using a watermarked version of the program, you can probably get away with simply the free trial because it “works similarly to the premium version,” according to iSkysoft. The free trial has a page restriction on how many pages may be saved or converted, and when you try to save a document in the trial edition, the program mentions a few more limits.
However, if you only need to make and save changes to a few pages of a PDF and don’t mind a watermark, the free trial version may be sufficient.
If you don’t want the watermarked trial version but only need the software for basic editing, you should consider purchasing the standard PDFelement software license, which includes the ability to create and edit PDFs, convert them, add annotations and comments, reorder and delete pages, and password-protect your PDFs. This version typically costs $69 per year with an annual subscription or $79 for a one-time payment for a perpetual license.
If you want more professional PDF editing tools than PDFelement can give, such as Bates numbering or redaction, you must purchase PDFelement Pro. This edition costs $129 per year with an annual subscription, $40 for three months with a quarterly subscription, or $159 for a lifetime license.
Wondershare PDFelement is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. Certain software functionality will be available in different operating systems. Some features are exclusive to the Windows edition.
9. Microsoft Word
If you use Microsoft Office, you already have a powerful PDF document editor at your disposal.
Previously, Microsoft Word versions were limited to saving a document in or out of the PDF format, and that was it. The most current 2013, 2016, and 2019 versions, on the other hand, allow you to open a PDF and then make precise changes to the piece as a Word document. When you’re finished, you may save it as a PDF once more (although according to Microsoft, saving it as a PDF is not supported in Word 2013). This is especially helpful because many individuals are already accustomed to editing documents in Microsoft Word format.
It’s a simple tool, and the formatting doesn’t always line up perfectly depending on the PDF, but it’s a great option if you need to quickly edit or modify text in a PDF. Furthermore, Word is a simple editing tool for employees and students who are already familiar with Word and do not want to learn new software.
While there are several methods to use Microsoft Word for free, it is typically software that you must pay to use, either through a subscription or a large one-time fee.
What characteristics should you search for in a PDF editor?
When selecting a PDF editor, consider the following factors:
- Compatibility and support for file formats Will you be able to convert your document file to PDF or vice versa? Which file formats does the PDF editor support, and do they include your document’s format? This is especially crucial when working with scanned materials.
- Will the format of your document be the same in the modified version as it was in the original? When you edit a PDF with third-party software or editor, you may lose the original formatting of your document, or the formatting may appear odd and wrong. Make certain that the editor you use can keep your freshly modified document’s formatting consistent.
- Is the UI basic with a few features or complicated with many editing choices, and which do you prefer? This is determined by your specific requirements. If you frequently modify PDFs and need access to a wide range of editing tools, you may be better off using software with a big number of options but a cluttered user interface. It may take a little longer to learn how to use it, but if you are a regular PDF editor, it may come in handy in the long run. If all you need is a short edit here and there and don’t need sophisticated alterations, choose an editor with a basic and easy-to-use interface, however, you may lose access to more extensive editing tools.
- Is it free or paid? Free editing applications are ideal for individuals who do not need to edit PDFs frequently or who do not want access to a large range of editing capabilities. Premium editing applications are usually more worthwhile for people who edit PDFs on a regular basis and require extensive and thorough editing. This is due to the fact that purchasing a subscription or one-time price generally unlocks additional features or editing possibilities that the free versions do not have.
What are the advantages of editing PDFs in Microsoft Word?
There are several advantages of using Microsoft Word to edit PDFs:
- You are most likely already acquainted with the program. You’ve probably used Microsoft Word previously at school or at work. As a result, you won’t have to learn a new editing program, and it will be simpler to use.
- It’s most likely already on your machine. You already have Microsoft Word on your computer if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, so you don’t need to download or pay for additional editing software.
- You may easily convert it to a Word document for editing before saving it as a PDF again. Later versions of Microsoft Word will allow you to convert PDFs into Word documents for easier editing. Then, save the freshly modified Word document as a PDF.
- It’s great for rapid text changes or editing. Microsoft Word is a fantastic option for quick-and-dirty adjustments if all you need to do is replace a few words or make other small changes. If you require a PDF editor that can handle more complicated modifications or performs a better job of preserving the original layout of your document, you might consider alternative PDF editor choices.
Let us know which PDF editor do you use in the comments below.