Free or paid, PDF editors have their pros and cons. To save your precious time, we have curatedtop 10 best free PDF editors for Windows 11, so you can know, before downloading any software, which one to use (or try first) depending on your preferences. PDF editors that offer free trials, but are paid in reality, are also included in this list.
Why and who needs a PDF editor? You can save a file as a .pdf document in various software, but you can edit a PDF document in a very few. You need a PDF editor (not just a reader) when, for example, you receive a document in the PDF format and want to make some changes in it. Or, when you have saved a document as a PDF, and lose or delete the original editable document.
There are some other uses. In any case, a brief introduction to some of the top free PDF editors with their pros and cons will help you compare them quickly and pick the one that is best for you.
Top 15 Best Free PDF Editors For Windows 11 and Mac
Wondershare PDFelement 8 Pro
A paid software offering a free trial, Wondershare PDFelement is definitely the first software to consider. Wondershare PDF Editor helps you edit PDF files; insert and remove text and images easily. You can also change the format from PDF to any other with ease. You can check out PDFelement 8 Review for further information!
Wondershare PDFelement Pro For Windows 11
Wondershare PDFelement Pro For Mac
- Easy to use
- Great editing tools
- Allow trying to the advanced OCR feature in the trial version
- Support for converting PDF to Word
- Cloud sharing of files
- No multicolor highlighting from toolbar
- Free trial version is limited with watermark
|PDFelement Pro||PDFelement Standard|
|Create PDF Files||YES||YES|
|Export PDFs to Docx, Excel,…||YES||YES|
|Edit Text & Images in PDF Files||YES||YES|
|Annotate and Comment PDF Files||YES||YES|
|Convert PDF Files||(x) + /.epub/.html/.rtf/.txt||.docx/.xlsx/.pptx/.jpg/.bmp/.png/.gif/.tiff (x)|
|Fill out PDF Forms||YES||YES|
|Secure and Sign PDF Files||YES||YES|
|Others (Compress and Optimize Documents, OCR, Add Headers & Footers, Add Bates Numbering)||YES||NO|
Sejda PDF Editor
PDFs can be created, edited and modified with Sejda PDF Editor. The editor is available online so anyone can use it from anywhere. This post will demonstrate how to create a new document in the editor as well as how to edit existing text and images within PDF documents using this program.
Sejda offers many features that make it easy for users of all skill levels to create, edit and modify any type of PDF file on their computer or even through a web browser.
- Easy to use.
- Works on popular platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux)
- No adding watermark
- Allows you insert a new page into PDF file
- Can be used on PDFs with less than 200 pages
- Can’t edit PDFs larger than 50MB
PDF Expert For Mac
PDF Expert For Mac is the ultimate PDF editor for your Mac. You can create, edit, sign and share any PDF with ease. With this powerful app, you can turn a document into a PDF in just one click or easily convert images to PDFs without an image editing application. It also has built-in tools that allow you to fill out forms seamlessly and organize documents easily.
Click here to learn more about what’s inside our powerful document editor or contact us if you have any questions!
- Works on macOS and iOS
- Makes it easy to create, edit and organize PDFs
- It’s a good choice for reading PDFs.
- Lacks OCR.
The third free PDF editor on our list right now is ApowerPDF. The online version that starts with the ‘Launch Online’ option, offers real competition to premium software. You can edit PDFs from scratch; a rarely found feature in free software. Not just edit, you can also split and merge PDFs with ApowerPDF. A lot of editing tools to try out and the ability to encrypt the files are also prominent features.
- Can create a PDF from scratch.
- File encryption is possible
- Ability to split and merge PDFs
- Nice editing tools
- Adds watermark to the desktop version
- Online version cannot remove watermarks
With built-in optical recognition system (OCR), PDF-Xchange editor is a great option for editing the text in a PDF. With the OCR technology, this software can recognize text in a scanned document.
This is particularly useful if you, for example, happen to only have a handout and not the original file. You can extract pages as well as split PDFs with the PDF-XChange Editor. Comments are also a noticeable feature.
- Free trial
- OCR is good
- Attractive interface
- Adds a watermark to your document when you try the premium version
DigitalTrends’ #1 web app for September 2018, PDFescape is a great web app that is compatible with most popular browsers. You can insert and remove text and images. You can digitally sign the PDF document. You can rotate and zoom. PDFescape can autofill forms. The online version is free while the desktop version having the same functionality has a minimal fee per month after a free trial.
- Free online version
- Ability to add rectangles to hide certain parts of a page when it’s printed
- Ability to create simple forms – a rarely found feature in free software
- Cannot edit pre-existing text
- Does not have OCR features for scanned PDF file editing
Soda PDF is a software which allows you to edit pdf files quickly and easily. It’s compatible with PC’s, making it convenient for all users. There are many features associated with Soda PDF which make it so popular to use.
It comes with built-in PDF annotator, allowing all users to add their own signatures and stamps to pdf files. Soda PDF also has a signature editor where you can edit your signature to any size that works best for you
Soda PDF also allows users the ability to crop any desired part of the pdf file, which is a great tool for use when there are unwanted parts on your document. You can now have total control over any aspect of the pdf you’re working with.
- The OCR tool lets you edit text in PDF
- Convert to other formats, and email updates.
- All round, this is a good program.
- The desktop version of this product is better than the online versions.
Foxit Reader/Foxit PhantomPDF
Foxit Reader is a free and popular alternative to Adobe Reader. You can create PDFs, comment on them, get notified about new versions of a document when collaborating with others, encrypt and sign your documents, and whatnot.
The setup is quick and easy. Another popular but paid editor from the same company is the Foxit PhantomPDF editor, which is essentially an advanced version with several new features. It offers a 14-day free trial.
- Free – Fast – Secure
- Collaboration options.
- Built-in PDF printer feature
- Protection and encryption
- The trial version of PhantomPDF has limited features
- PhantomPDF appears to be a tad expensive (especially now when software subscription bundles are a norm)
AbleWord, TechAdvisor’s #1 free PDF editor, has the ability to import PDF files and make them editable. The results are decent only when importing from Word, but it’ll try its hand on every PDF; the results will not be as good as you would want.
AbleWord, with not as many options, can be used as an alternative to Microsoft Word. Headers, footers, tables, images, and spell check are some of the prominent features of AbleWord.
- Free & Easy to use
- Ability to edit imported PDF files
- Supports some of Microsoft Word features
- Compatible with Windows XP, Windows 10, and all in between them
- The final output is not as good as other PDF editors
- No updates or additional features are expected
- Limited features
Basically a free and popular image viewer and editor with hundreds of positive reviews, Inkscape can also be used to create PDFs from scratch and edit imported PDF files within the software.
- Open source
- Supports many file formats
- Has many drawing tools and vector graphics
- Object creation and manipulation is possible
- No multipage document creation option
- Non-customisable and messy user interface
A paid PDF editor offering a free trial, and second only to Wondershare PDFelement (according to them), Nitro PRO is another good PDF editor that made it to #9 on OMGHowTo.com’s Top 10 List of Best Free PDF Editors for 2018.
As far as the security of documents is concerned, Nitro PRO is a great option to explore. Just like other popular PDF editors, you can edit, merge, review, and collaborate within the software.
- Easy to use
- Safe and Secure
- The trial version offers a limited functionality
FormSwift’s free online PDF editor lets you create a PDF without the need of creating an account. With FormSwift online PDF editor, you can upload a PDF document, make changes to it online, and download the revised version as a PDF or Word document. You can even print it. It is not just limited to PDF; you can upload and edit Word documents and images as well.
- Several templates to help create a PDF
- Free online PDF editor
- Simple to use
- Very basic functionality
- Online only
Expert PDF Reader
Another rival is Expert PDF Reader. As its name, Expert PDF Reader is really professional on providing us with many features on editing PDF file. Using it, you can have some unique features that others won’t have such as insert stamps or make your own signature in pdf format.
One restriction of this does not support all kinds of PDF files, and in order to edit a file, you may have some difficulty if having not any knowledge on handling it. Having said that, it is very tiny and fast software with no charge to use and download. Why not give it a try?
- Support to read most of the PDF files
- Support to save edited file in many formats
- Totally Free
- Limited edit tool
- Difficulties in using editing tool
PDF Eraser is considered as must-have software in your computer. It provides with excellent tools for viewing and editing a PDF file. One prominent feature is that you can quickly add or delete any information to or from your pdf file. It also supports the rotate function. Although it offers free, its no-charge version has some particular unwanted limitation.
If you want to have full of advanced feature, you should pay money to buy PRO version of PDF Eraser, which is approximate $30 for each. Having said that, if you just you it for basic tasks such as viewing the file, it is worth to use.
- Easily to add or delete any text
- Customize PDF file
- Support to rotate any PDF page
- Easy to use with a ton of advanced features
- Watermark may be added in PDF file with free version
We name PDFedit in our top 10 because we find it is really good. You can use it as PDF reader along with its functions as PDF Editor. It supports user to detect exactly sections or words, a phrase they want.
Its tools help you to add texts quickly and imagine inside PDF file, also delete any information you want. It also supports to save a file in many types of format.
- Do not take up much space for installing
- Can personalize its tools
- Provide with many advanced features
- Support to protect file with passwords
- Several difficulties on using its tools
LibreOffice Draw is a strong competitor of other software here in this article. It is built-in all features of most of PDF Editing Software. It is entirely free with a simple way to use. Also, it supports us to export or import file to another type.
LibreOffice Draw is available for most of the platforms nowadays such as Windows, macOS, Linux,… However, we should admit that its appearance is relatively boring and its menu option is hard to track and may lead to some confusion for use in any way.
- Available for most of the platforms
- Provide import and export functions
- Provide with many advanced features
- Support to convert files
- Provide with many advanced features
- Boring interface
- Its menu may cause confusion
We should say that Apache OpenOffice Draw is on our top for its great job to be done. It is worth to use as not only PDF reader, but also PDF Editor. You can find a bunch of features in this such as insert or remove any text, customize your pdf pages and save them easily with a different type of formats. Also, it supports us with export features, but it seems that the interface looks out-of-date without any attraction.
- A wide range of features
- Compatibility with different platforms
- Basic charts can be easily created
- Support to check spell
- Out of date interface
- Excel users are not welcomed for its functions
What to Consider When Choosing a PDF Editor?
There are several things you will have to consider before choosing the right PDF software for your task, like what features the application needs to have or what is the pricing of your preferred solution. In this article, we’ll review some of them in detail to give you a better idea about what to think about when choosing a PDF editor for your needs.
Price: Pricing of PDF writing software varies from $10 to $200, depending on the functionality offered by the application. You can choose one that meets all your requirements or an entry-level affordable price solution that covers basic features and then go for a more powerful application as soon as you have mastered the basics with help of trial versions.
Features: When looking for PDF software, you should consider what is your primary goal. Are you searching for a basic editor or PDF converter tool to convert existing documents into this format? Or maybe you need a full-fledged OCR solution that can extract texts and images from scanned files.
Some of the most popular features you can expect from PDF editor include creation, editing and modifying and/or converting pdf files, adding bookmarks, indexing as well as merging multiple files at once. There are some advanced tools that may offer you to process documents with optical character recognition (OCR), create pdf files from scratch, or to protect your files with passwords and encryption options.
Additional features that may enhance your work experience include compatibility with MS Word or Excel formats, the ability to merge several files using drag-and-drop procedure, shape drawing tools, web browser integration for convenient file downloading or document editing on the go.
Finally, some of the most advanced PDF software solutions may offer you to customize your files in several ways including changing the viewing mode, adding text and graphics watermarks that cannot be deleted during the editing process or use mobile devices for viewing and transferring scanned documents.
Support: If you consider purchasing a paid solution, check what kind of technical support is available before making up your mind about a product. Some vendors offer you free online support in addition to email and phone support, while others may require you to purchase an additional plan for technical assistance.
File formats: Some PDF tools are capable of editing .pdf files only, while others can open and modify Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents.
So before making your choice, make sure that the software you choose supports all file types you’ll need to work with. Also, check what is the maximum size allowed for each document page as well as the maximum number of pages you can add to a single file.
Interface: Depending on what is your preferred way of working, choose software that offers advanced or basic features in a well-organized interface for quick and easy navigation. Some editors also offer users additional tools like bookmarks, searching options or note-taking capabilities which help them organize their files better.
Other considerations: When looking for PDF software, pay attention to additional features like graphic and shape drawing tools, document encryption or watermarking options and advanced page editing capabilities that allow users to change pdf size as well as modify margins on all four sides of the page.
Finally, make sure that the options you need are available in the simple and easy-to-use interface of your pdf tool so that you can get more out of this document format without wasting time on unnecessary settings.
The best PDF editing software will depend on your needs. If you’re looking for a free option, we recommend using the Wondershare PDFelement. You can also use Acrobat Pro DC if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription to unlock additional features and work with more file types like fonts.
Sejda, PDFescape, AbiWord and PDF Expert offer a free plan so you can get started right away without having to pay anything upfront for the service. If you want more features or if your needs are greater than what’s offered in the free version, they have two levels of paid versions that will meet all your business requirements. Which one do you think offers the most useful tools?
We hope that this curated list helps you select the one suitable for you. Feel free to share your experience. Don’t agree with the order in this list? Know some better alternatives? Let us know!