No doubt, one of the most popular file formats out there is Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Everyone uses it, either for personal or professional purposes.
What are PDF Files?
This is short for Portable Document Format which uses the .pdf file extension. It was created by Adobe and can be accessed on all kinds of devices, as well as operating systems.
With PDF files, it is pretty challenging to alter the document after it’s been created. Also, since it is designed to look the same regardless of your device or OS, that makes it all the more appealing to users. It can be used to view images and documents, without altering the original layout, formatting, font, or image.
Unfortunately, not being able to alter anything on a PDF file makes this file format both reliable and frustrating to use. It’s unlike the standard Word Document that can be augmented easily.
To correct an error, add or remove a page, merge or split multiple PDF files, and carry out other forms of editing on this file format, you’ll need a PDF Editor for a successful operation.
How to View & Edit PDF Files?
Adobe created the Adobe Acrobat Reader that allows users to do several operations, like viewing, signing, commenting on, and sharing PDF files. It is free to use and can be downloaded directly from their website. You can also open and view PDFs directly on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, so don’t fret if you don’t have the Acrobat Reader.
However, to access advanced features, like editing, exporting, adding passwords, tracking, and others, you will be required to pay for the Pro version of the Acrobat Reader. However, you can still access all the Pro features on several free PDF editors on the market and still achieve the same quality of output file as the original.
5 Best Free PDF Editors: Review!
In today’s review, we’ll highlight free alternatives to the Adobe Acrobat Reader Pro where you can edit your PDFs easily.
#1. Foxit Phantom PDF
This free PDF editor has a straightforward user interface, making it easy-to-use for novices. It comes with functions that enable you to edit PDF files easily. You can manage your PDFs efficiently by merging new files with old ones, splitting large PDF files into smaller ones, sharing PDFs with colleagues, and securing your documents from unauthorized third-parties. Users can easily convert files to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, JPEG, PNG, HTML, and TXT formats.
Foxit Phantom PDF is compatible with Windows operating systems, as well as mobile devices which is very convenient in the absence of a PC. You can use this tool with popular cloud storage and sharing services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iManage, OneDrive, Microsoft SharePoint, and others. Note that Foxit Phantom PDF can be used online as well.
Foxit Phantom PDF allows users to export files to other files formats. You can even micromanage different versions of your PDF files and notify readers of the updated version. There are so many handy tools offered on this free PDF editor that are not available on other editors on the market.
If you want to track the documents created by you, you can do that effortlessly using Foxit Phantom PDF. This is especially good as business owners can easily communicate with employees from one place. Team leaders will also find this tracking feature efficient as it helps you to understand which team member is keeping up with the task at hand and which ones are deadwood.
The next free PDF editor on our list is this powerful editor that offers you many helpful features found on Acrobat Reader Pro. You can use it as an online PDF editor, or you can download the desktop version. The desktop version is only available for Windows 7, 8, and 10, while the free online version is compatible with popular web browsers on any operating system.
With PDFescape, you can edit create new PDF forms, convert PDF documents, view PDF files, edit existing files, merge files, insert text and images, add annotations to documents, fill out PDF forms, protect your PDFs with passwords, share PDF files with others, printing output PDF files, and lots more.
This software is free to use, but you can also access more features via its Premium and the Ultimate plan.
Next is the Wondershare PDFelement free editor that has proven its worth over and over again when it comes to editing any PDF file. It has all the fundamental tools needed to edit an existing PDF file easily, as well as advanced features at your disposal.
PDFelement is compatible with Windows operating systems, including the latest Windows 10. You can edit texts, add annotations, create new PDF files, convert PDF documents to various formats, create and sign forms. In addition to all these features, PDFelement is equipped with the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tool that can scan your PDF files thoroughly and recognize texts quickly.
What’s more? Well, this free PDF editor allows users to edit their PDF files hassle-free, protect their data and documents with passwords. You can merge and split PDF files, add watermark to protect your docs from pirates, provides access to an extensive template library for creating new forms, add access restrictions to files, add hyperlinks to texts, print output PDF files, and many other features.
#4. Nuance Power PDF
The Nuance Power PDF editor is among the many versatile editors for PDF files. Just like most free editors, it has all the essential PDF editing features suitable for newbie PC users, as well as advanced features for experienced users.
With this free editor, you can utilize all the necessary editing tools and enhance your PDF file. You can create new PDF files from ready-made templates, as well as providing the ability to customize the user interface to your liking.
Users can compress large PDF files, sign documents and contracts, encrypt your data with passwords to guard against third-parties, as well as adding notes/comments to your documents. You can even convert your PDF file extensions to accessible and editable file formats with ease – Word, PowerPoint, and image formats.
Furthermore, more users can have access to this platform as the Nuance Power PDF is compatible with the latest Windows 10, and with mobile touchscreen devices. This editor works perfectly with cloud storage services, like Google Drive, Evernote, Microsoft OneDrive, and BOX.
Another unique thing with this free PDF editor is the ability to speak to your device, while this smart editor uses the Voice Recognition feature to transcribe everything you are saying. This makes it faster to prepare documents as well as to edit them.
This final PDF editing tool is not only free but also, open-source. It is primarily for graphics editing, but it has many useful features for editing any PDF document. Unlike the first PDF editor mentioned above, Inkscape is not available for online usage, meaning that you must download and install it, to be able to use this free editing tool.
Inkscape offers a ton of useful functions, like:
⦁ Object creation – you can use drawing tools, add shapes, add or edit texts.;
⦁ Object manipulations – you can change the appearance of graphics within your PDF file by scaling, rotating, skewing, moving objects as you wish;
⦁ Fill and Stroke features – for color picking, copying and pasting styles, applying pattern fills with bitmap/vectors, and many others;
⦁ Has command line options for exporting and converting various file formats;
⦁ It has a steep learning curve as there are an extensive collection of functions to manipulate and explore.
As can be seen above, these free PDF editors are all viable contenders with the Adobe Acrobat Reader Pro. They each possess the essential features to successfully edit, convert, manipulate, secure, as well as sharing PDFs. Some of these editors can be used alone or combined with other editors to get the desired results.
Even though they are free to use and compatible with multiple devices and operating systems, you may be required to pay for premium features; albeit, a fraction of the amount to access advanced features on Acrobat Reader Pro.