13 Best Free PDF Editors in 2020

13 Best Free PDF Editors in 2020

Many users are searching for the best free PDF editor. It is connected with the fact that PDF format files are currently widely used in the business sphere when it comes to documentation. But plenty of PDF editors complicate the process of editing PDF files online.

Top 13 Best Free PDF Editors

  1. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
  2. PDFelement
  3. Nitro Pro
  4. Soda PDF
  5. PDF-XChange Editor
  6. ApowerPDF
  7. LibreOffice Draw
  8. Inkscape
  9. ABBYY FineReader
  10. PDF BOB
  11. Smallpdf Online PDF Editor
  12. Formswift
  13. Sejda

In this post, I have collected the best free PDF editors that are supported by all popular OS and tell you why Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is the best free PDF editor for many reasons.

1. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

 
For large businesses
  • Collective and remote work
  • Advanced reviewing and form creation
  • Online editing on the Adobe server
  • OCR technology for editing
  • None found

Verdict: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is truly the best software to edit PDF files. It makes the process of altering PDFs more convenient, with the introduction of functions available in such well-known text editors as Microsoft Office, Google Docs and Apple's iWork suite.

Adobe Acrobat boasts remarkable converting, editing and annotating capabilities. To get a hold of Adobe Acrobat, you need to purchase a separate subscription or a complete Creative Cloud one. If you want to try a commenting feature on a shared PDF file for an entire team, log into Adobe Document Cloud from a browser or open an Acrobat desktop/mobile application.

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  • adobe acrobat pro dc interface
  • adobe acrobat pro dc interface

    2. PDFelement

     
    Industry standard
    • Converting and export capabilities
    • It is protected along with your documents
    • The presence of OCR technology
    • Simple design
    • Free trial with limitations

    Verdict: PDFelement rightfully deserves the titles of the best free PDF editor and a decent analog to previously mentioned Adobe Acrobat. You will be glad to hear that the PDFelement provides a free trial with all the standard features included.

    On the whole, the feature-set of this PDF editor is quite extensive, and it compensates for the presence of watermarks, especially if you don’t mind them. PDFelement is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. Speaking of the paid version, its price is reasonable and cheaper than similar PDF editors.

    PDFelement enables users to edit, sign, annotate, convert PDF documents to other formats and fill PDF forms. That is more than enough for both professional and amateur work with PDFs.

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    • pdfelement interface
    • pdfelement interface

      3. Nitro Pro

       
      Great functionality
      • Simple and precise way to convert
      • Text, image and page editing
      • User-friendly UI
      • All file formats are supported
      • Desktop version can’t be used on macOS
      • Free trial with limitations

      Verdict: I would call this option a powerful PDF editor Windows. First of all, it boasts editing, creating, reviewing, merging and collaboration capabilities. Moreover, Nitro Pro lets users fill, add signatures and protect their PDF documents. It is compatible with all existing Windows OS, offers Business and Personal versions.

      Thanks to the integration with Nitro Cloud, converting, merging, reviewing and sharing PDFs in a browser from a mobile device is possible, making your work more productive. For a simplified PDF editing process, the developers introduced drag-and-drop functionality between a number of open windows.

      1/3
      • nitro pro interface
      • nitro pro interface

        4. Soda PDF

         
        Low system requirements
        • Compact and full-screen reading mode
        • Creates snapshots of the desired document fragments
        • Fairly low system requirements
        • The look of the document may be customized
        • The price of a version with pro functions is higher
        • The official site has stopped releasing software updates

        Verdict: Its set of functions, speed and operating system load indicators turned out to be better than those of the widely recognized market giants.

        Among the main benefits of Soda PDF are a reasonable price and a non-complicated PDF editing process. This PDF editor will perfectly cope with any task set out by the user. It provides Standard, Professional and Pro+OCR versions.

        Each of these versions enables users to convert and edit PDF documents. What sets all of the versions apart is the presence of pro features in some of them. For instance, only in Pro+OCR, it is possible to convert scanned PDF documents into a PDF file that may be edited and is available for search.

        1/3
        • soda pdf interface
        • soda pdf interface

          5. PDF-XChange Editor

           
          With QR codes
          • A portable version is present
          • The use of OCR function
          • Capable of importing various pictures and shapes
          • A QR code may be added to the PDF
          • Only for Windows
          • Plenty of features are available with a license only

          Verdict: This option may be referred to as a decent free PDF editor software. However, its certain features should be paid for. With a non-free feature, a watermark will appear on each page of the document after saving. Those who choose only free features will be able to make particular changes to the document and export it to PC.

          PDF files may be uploaded from a PC, URL, Dropbox, Google Drive and SharePoint. Once you are done editing the file, save it to a PC or some of these cloud storage services.

          A big advantage of this PDF editor is the possibility to select each form field in order to notice the areas you have to fill in. It will greatly help you in cases when you need to edit a PDF document with multiple forms, like an application.

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          • pdf xchange interface
          • pdf xchange interface

            6. ApowerPDF

             
            All-in-one solution
            • Capable of working with a number of files
            • OCR technology for scanning documents
            • Simpler text formatting
            • PDF conversion capabilities
            • The presence of watermarks
            • Not the best functionality

            Verdict: This PDF editing software pleases users with a clear and intuitive interface that presents all the standard features in a convenient way. These are features for adding and modifying text, editing graphics, applying watermarks, removing or adding pages.

            You may create a PDF by generating PDF documents out of several files and views. Signing and commenting on PDF is also possible. Moreover, users may add a password to files in order to protect them.

            1/3
            • apowerpdf interface
            • apowerpdf interface

              7. LibreOffice Draw

               
              For objects creating
              • Open-source
              • All the text on the page may be edited
              • Various PDF editing functions
              • Watermarks are absent
              • Interface is not clear

              Verdict: LibreOffice Draw is actually flowchart and diagram software. However, it may serve as a PDF viewer and editor too. Import the desired PDF via the File > Open menu. After that, zoom up to the text to highlight it and make any changes you need.

              This open source PDF editor is notable for the ability to edit not just text but pictures, colors, headings and other elements as well. It is possible due to the fact that LibreOffice Draw is initially developed to manipulate and create objects. Once you are done editing the file, save it not via a regular save option but via File > Export As> PDF.

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              • libreoffice draw interface
              • libreoffice draw interface

                8. Inkscape

                 
                Supports manipulating graphics
                • Capable of editing text in PDF
                • Numerous picture editing features
                • Free application
                • Possibility to manipulate graphics
                • Not suitable for beginners

                Verdict: Inkscape isn’t just well-known picture editing and viewing software. It boasts some PDF editing capabilities that are present only in the paid versions of designated PDF editors.

                If we view Inkscape as the free PDF editor, it is suitable only for such tasks as deleting and editing pictures and text in the PDF document. For those who are after more advanced capabilities, I would recommend paying attention to other options on my list. Or you may add shapes and open the PDF file in Inkscape once you have to edit the preexisting text. This PDF editor is compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux.

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                • inkscape interface
                • inkscape interface

                  9. ABBYY FineReader

                   
                  For document conversion
                  • Imaging and OCR
                  • User-friendly
                  • Converts documents
                  • Extensive toolset
                  • Very expensive for small companies
                  • The absence of version control

                  Verdict: ABBYY FineReader is capable of recognizing any text and converting it into a common text format (including PDF). All texts are restored with the original structure and with the minimum number of failures. It lets users scan and format documents of any complexity. With this free PDF editor Windows and macOS, you will forget about reprinting!

                  The interface in ABBYY FineReader is simple and clear even for those who are using it for the first time. The Image panel lets you see the document that you will be recognizing.

                  1/3
                  • abbyy finereader interface
                  • abbyy finereader interface

                    10. PDF BOB

                     
                    With no user account
                    • Very straightforward
                    • Multi-language support
                    • No need to create an account
                    • Ads and watermarks are absent
                    • Poor variety of fonts
                    • Editing of existing text is impossible

                    Verdict: It is a free PDF editor online that doesn’t require creating an account. Start with uploading a PDF file, then edit it to your liking and export it as PDF.PDF BOB offers a number of editing tools, such as a text tool for selecting colors and fonts manually, a colored marker/pencil, several shape tools and an image picker.

                    PDF BOB will come in handy for deleting pages from the PDF document and adding new ones. While saving the file as PDF, the user is given an option to add a password and protect the file. Aside from exporting in the PDF format, other formats are present as well, such as DOCX, DOC, JPEG and PNG (the user should be logged in). Save the file to the PC or import it straight to Dropbox or Google Drive.

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                    • pdf bob interface
                    • pdf bob interface

                      11. Smallpdf Online PDF Editor

                       
                      For fast editing
                      • Possibility to import shapes
                      • Ability to add more text to the PDF file
                      • Capable of loading and saving PDFs from different sources
                      • Puts white space over parts you need to erase
                      • A number of PDFs to edit per hour may be limited
                      • Editing of existing text is impossible

                      Verdict: Smallpdf is the best free PDF editor online in terms of speed. Adding pictures, shapes, text, signing PDF documents won’t take you long. No need to create an account or remove watermarks by paying – just upload a PDF file, edit it, save it to PC and you are good to go.

                      Apart from PC, users may open and/or save PDFs to their Google Drive or Dropbox accounts. In this PDF editor, importing of such shapes as a circle, square and arrow into PDF is possible.

                      Besides, users may modify the main and line colors of the object, make its edge more or less thick. The text size can be made tiny, small, normal, large or huge. Users may choose between three types of fonts and modify the color of the added text.

                      1/3
                      • smallpdf interface
                      • smallpdf interface

                        12. Formswift

                         
                        Best in-browser editor
                        • Absolutely free
                        • Possibility to scan files from phones
                        • Capable of editing pictures and text in PDFs
                        • Simple cloud-based system
                        • Unable to combine or separate documents

                        Verdict: FormSwift is another PDF editor online characterized by quick performance. It isn’t going to bother you with all those “Upgrade Now” pop-ups.

                        FormSwift enables users to make standard PDF editing operations, like adding pictures and checkmarks, working with text and signing documents. Once the editing is done, it is possible to print files straight from the UI or save them in the PDF or Word format.

                        Moreover, whenever you have to import a paper document for editing, just open the FormSwift Snap URL on the smartphone. As soon as you allow the access, the site will import the document from the smartphone’s camera.

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                        • formswift interface
                        • formswift interface

                          13. Sejda

                           
                          With slick interface
                          • Capable of removing pages from the PDF
                          • Whites out areas of the page
                          • Adds shapes and pictures to the PDF file
                          • A tool for signing is present
                          • Accepts only three PDF files per hour
                          • Limited to PDFs with fewer than 200 pages

                          Verdict: Sejda is a fully reliable free online PDF editor for all the documents that require security, as it deletes all the uploaded files from the server in five hours. Apart from being safe to use, this PDF editor impresses users with a straightforward interface. It provides a single menu bar that simplifies the process of searching for essential PDF editing features, like adding text, pictures, links and signing PDF files.

                          Once you have finished working with the file, simply click the “Apply Changes” button and save the PDF to PC, Google Drive or Dropbox. Sejda PDF editor has certain limitations, but they won’t interfere with the workflow of a regular user. Each hour, users can perform only three operations and upload a 50MB or 200-page PDF document to the site.

                          1/3
                          • sejda interface
                          • sejda interface

                            Ann Young

                            Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

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