5+ Best PDF Editors [Free & Premium] - Updated For 2023!

5+ Best PDF Editors [Free & Premium]

PDF editing software is a type of software used to create, modify and edit PDF documents. This type of software is typically used for creating and editing forms, brochures, and other documents that are used for print or online publishing. Today we'll be looking at the best PDF editors, however we haven't included Adobe Pro, as this is the original PDF software which everyone is already aware of, and can edit and customise PDFs (including locked ones) with a premium subscription. 

Do I need to use Adobe Acrobat to Open PDFs?

No, you do not need to use Adobe Acrobat to open PDFs. There are many other PDF viewers and editors available, such as the ones we are going to mention below. Further there are many free viewers such as NitroPDF, FoxitReader and SumatraPDF but they cannot edit documents. These viewers are free to download and use, and allow you to open, view, and print PDF documents. However, they may not include all of the features available in Adobe Acrobat or a PDF editor.

Best PDF Editors Right Now

1. Wondershare PDF Element

  • Convert to different formats
  • Free trial available
  • Standard price $69 per year

Wondershare PDF Element is a PDF editor program that allows users to alter and annotate PDF documents easily. This includes all features of the document such as images, text, backgrounds, watermarks, headers, footers, pages, links, etc.

These documents are able to be converted to different formats e.g. a word document.

Scanned documents are also able to be changed into a format that allows users to edit the text, and with the program users can fill in spaces on forms or sign documents. The program is compatible with Windows.

The company aims to create technological solutions that make life simpler for users.

They have users worldwide in over 150 countries who are utilising their innovative products to create more time in the hustle and bustle of daily living.

With live support available in numerous languages, users can access help and assistance when required.

This commitment to customers and the customer experience makes the company stand out in their industry and renowned investors have jumped onboard as a result which will assist in allowing the company to continue to grow and evolve.

A free trial is available to download from the website but for full access, paid plans are available. For individuals, there are 2 options. The PDFelement standard costs $69 a year on a yearly plan or a one-time price of $79.

The PDFelement Pro offers more features and costs $89 a year (normally $129) on a yearly plan or a one-time price of $129 (normally $159). 

2. PDF Expert

  • Ability to alter image
  • Compatible to Apple devices
  • Full version costs $79.99

PDF Expert is a PDF editor software program that enables the editing, annotation and reading of PDF documents as well as the ability to alter images and text, fill out forms, sign contracts, and combine files.

Page management is simple using this software with the ability to number pages, view documents in split mode, crop the size of pages, and made files smaller in size.

The website provides ‘how-to’ links detailing each feature so that users can get the full use out of the program. This includes how to open, print, modify, convert and combine PDFs, and much more.

It is compatible with Mac and Apple devices, and provides an enjoyable way to read documents through use of settings that employ different modes to suit individual users.

It is easy to transfer documents across devices as well as annotate documents to use when collaborating with clients or friends, or just as reminder to the user.

Apple pencil will allow easy annotations on iPads which will feel just like editing a hard copy document. Annotations can also be exported. Password protection is also available to ensure documents and information are secure. 

A free download is available via the website or a full paid version gives access for 3 Macs via one licence for $79.99.

A discount is available for students and professors, and all normal payment options are available including PayPal and credit card. 

3. Nitro PDF

  • Customize PDF documents
  • Free trial available
  • Costs $242 per user

Nitro PDF is a PDF editor program where users can create custom PDF documents by modifying text and images, inserting logos or pages, annotating, creating signatures and much more.

This means text from the PDF is able to be copied into other formats and programs like Microsoft Word and other Office documents, which is not possible without PDF editor software.

Other elements able to be added to the PDF include bookmarks, page numbers and watermarks.

Users can convert PDF documents to other formats, create PDFs from formats that are printable, share PDFs using one-click and integrate PDFs with cloud storage software.

Scanned PDFs are also able to be edited and searched as a result of Optical Character Recognition that enables language recognition in multiple languages.

Documents can be made interactive by inserting hyperlinks that are able to be clicked on or adding files that can also be selected and viewed.

A free trial is available but paid plans provide full access to features of the software. There are 3 plans available: basic, team and enterprise. Basic plans are for individuals or companies with less than 20 employees and cost $242 per user.

Team plans are for companies with more than 20 users, and enterprise plans are for larger companies and organisations. Customers can get in contact with Nitro for pricing on these larger user plan options.

4. Soda PDF

  • Accessible via any devices
  • Free download available
  • Price starts at $60 per year

Soda PDF is an online PDF editor that users can access via any device that has a web browser. It allows the creation of PDF documents from other formats or vice versa, with the ability to edit the document’s content including images, text and more.

Forms can be created or filled in, annotations made, and signatures added, which further allows users to send and track documents for signing.

This is an easy way to go paperless and support the environment as no printing is required for signatures on contracts and other documents.

Annotations enable easy collaboration, and multiple files can be merged to form the ideal documentation layout for individual needs. Scanned documents are turned into PDFs that can be edited or searched in the same way as an online document.

Documents can be read in 3D with new technology that involves the flipping of pages for a unique experience. All information is able to be protected by password to ensure security of data.

A free download is available but paid plans are needed for full feature access. With the Home plan, users get the most necessary and used features for $60 a year.

The Premium plan gives access to the same features as the Home plan plus extras for $96 a year. These extras include password protection, signature and form creation, searching of certain text to remove, and more.

5. Ashampoo PDF Pro 2

  • Document changes tracker
  • Spell-checking system
  • For 3 users costs $20

Ashampoo PDF Pro 2 adds new features to the original PDF editor software to enable users more control over their documents.

Interactive documents are able to be created and edited, with new technology that allows multiple documents to be viewed at the same time next to each other on the screen.

Screenshots are also able to be taken using the new ‘snapshot’ element and files can be separated into any number of new documents to create files that take up less space.

The opposite is also available with multiple documents able to be merged into one larger file.

The design aesthetic has also been updated to be more visually appealing and allowing faster access to tools via the menu.

Colours are able to be changed throughout the document to suit any personal preference and photobooks can be created by combining images together.

Changes to the document are able to be tracked and there is a spell-checking system built in to ensure no spelling or grammar errors. Watermarks and numbering of pages including use of Bates numbering is also available.

There is a free download available but for full feature access, users need to purchase a licence.

1 licence allows use for up to 3 users at $20 USD (normally $69.99 USD), or multiple licences can be purchased for businesses requiring use for more than 3 users. The program is compatible with Windows 10, 8 and 7. 

What is Adobe Acrobat DC Pro? 

Adobe Acrobat DC Pro is a powerful and comprehensive PDF software that allows you to create, edit, and share PDF documents. It is an all-in-one solution for creating and editing PDFs that is designed for both Windows and Mac users.

With Acrobat DC Pro, you can easily create and edit PDFs from scratch or from existing documents. You can also add multimedia to PDFs, create forms, and use the redaction tool to permanently remove sensitive information. It also has advanced features such as PDF/A conversion, digital signatures, and the ability to create and track PDF portfolios.

Acrobat DC Pro also integrates with Adobe Document Cloud so you can access, store, and share documents anytime and anywhere. With Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, you can easily create, edit, and share PDFs with anyone, anywhere.

It costs around $15 per month in New Zealand.