How to rate the Best Free PDF Editors

PDF is one of the most popular document types in the world. PDFs are widely used in the business, academic, and other sectors, and this makes PDF accessories a vital investment. One of the main such accessories is PDF editors. With the best PDF editor, you can easily edit text, add and remove images, make annotations, sign your name, add graphics, fill out forms, and make many other changes. The issue, however, is that to get such services, you’ll probably have to pay for a subscription to professional PDF editors. If you have sufficient budget to spare for a PDF editor, then that shouldn’t be a problem, but a big majority of individuals just don’t have such cash lying around. It’s also possible that you don’t do a lot of PDF editing and hence subscribing for a PDF editor doesn’t make financial sense to you.

It doesn’t really matter what the reason may be, but if you need a free PDF editor, you must be very keen on your choices, especially if you are preparing formal documents. That’s simply because some editors may allow you to do all the editing you want for free, but then they may leave your documents with watermarks or other signs that may end up ruining your entire document. To avoid all this, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and prepared a brief review of all the best Free PDF Editors that you can fully rely on for all your PDF editing needs. 

But before all that; what should you look for in the best free PDF Editor?

The best free PDF editors should perform as close to their premium counterparts as possible. They don’t have to be perfect, but they should be able to do all the basic stuff you expect them to do with ease. With that in mind, here are some of the factors that you should look out for:

  • Level of Content Editing

Ideally, your PDF editor should be in a position to do more than just text modification. You should be able to insert, resize, and even move the images to different locations. It should also support the addition or removal of hyperlinks, editing graphics, and facilitating in-line editing.

  • Creating and Exporting PDFs

Just because it is intended to be an editor doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be able to do anything else. The best PDF editors are also capable of creating PDFs from scratch or converting documents in other formats like MS Word, PowerPoint, HTML, and even images into PDF. The ideal PDF editor should also be able to export PDFs to other formats such as PowerPoint, MS Word, plain text, and HTML.

  • Annotations

If you are engaged in a lot of PDF editing where you are also required to add comments, then getting an editor that supports annotations is paramount. You can also go ahead and review the types of annotations that are supported and whether they are in line with your needs. The most common options are callout boxes, sticky notes, freehand drawing, stamps, and highlighting.

  • Security

Security is vital, particularly if you are dealing with sensitive business data. To make sure that no unauthorized personnel access the data, you should look for an editor that employs various security options to protect your PDFs. Some of the options that you may have here include security permission settings, password protection, content redaction, among others.

Our Top Picks

Sejda

Sejda is an exclusively online PDF editor that allows you to manipulate your PDFs in almost any way you want. With this Editor, you can add text, links, images annotations, insert ellipses, fill out PDF forms, and even sign documents. The Editor also supports the editing of pre-existing texts in your PDF documents. The best part is that you can do all this and many more for free without having to deal with any watermarks. Once you are done with all the editing, you can click the “Apply Changes” button after which you can download the doc, generate a shareable link which expires in seven days or you can send it to your Google Drive or Dropbox directly.

Sejda is also developed to ensure your data remains secure at all times. To that end, all the documents edited are permanently deleted from the website after every 5 hours. The website also features an encrypted connection which safeguards your documents while you are uploading them.

Sejda PDF Editor also comes with a whiteout feature. This allows you to cover the sensitive bits of your document with a white rectangle. Although the actual text is never deleted, this option does help to keep certain data safe from unauthorized individuals.

Even though Sejda is a powerful editor with extensive tools, it still comes with a couple of limitations that you need to be aware of. First, it only allows you to process a maximum of 200 pages per hour or 50MB of data. Also, you can’t perform more than three tasks per hour, and sessions are usually terminated after three hours.

Sajda PDF Editor can work with macOS, Windows, and Linux devices.

Other Features

  • Allows you to load PDFs directly from other websites
  • Signature tool
  • You can insert blank pages
  • You can completely remove pages

PDF-XChange Editor

PDF-XChange is another incredible editor with so many brilliant tools. The most impressive of them all has to be the built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Through this feature, the Editor can recognize text from your scanned documents. This will then allow you to edit text from the scanned documents. OCR Support is not a feature that you find in most free PDF editors, and hence its presence here is a brilliant thing.

Other than editing scanned documents, PDF-XChange will also let you retype, reformat, and delete text from your regular PDFs. You can also split PDFs, extract pages, and add comments to different sections of your PDFs. PDF-XChange also gets the upper hand over some of its peers from the fact that it can adapt to documents using a font that is not installed in your laptop. This basically means that you can edit virtually all types of PDFs out there regardless of the font or text used.

This Editor allows you to load PDFs from different sources including your PC, Google Drive, Dropbox, SharePoint, or a URL. It also supports the saving of edited PDFs to the computer or cloud storage services.

PDF-XChange Editor is available for free, but they also have a commercial package offering more editing functions. It is possible to use some of these functions without paying for the subscription, but there is a catch; every change you make on the document using tools that are available on the premium package will leave your document with a watermark. If you don’t mind watermarks filling your document, well and good, but if you don’t want them, then you’ll have to upgrade to the paid packages or avoid the features altogether.

Other Functions

  • You can add QR codes to your PDFs
  • Import shapes and images
  • Optical Character Recognition
  • You can split pages

PDFescape

PDFescape is a PDF editor available as both desktop software and a web application. The desktop client will only give you a short free trial period after which you will only use it after paying for your subscription. You should settle for the web-based application if you are looking for the free version. The web application can perfectly work with different browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, Safari, and Opera. 

Through the PDFescape, you can create text, add form fields, images, and links. The text tool also allows you to pick font type, size, color, and alignment. It also supports the use of effects such as italics, bolding, and even underlining.

Other editing features include drawing, adding sticky notes, insert lines, arrows, ovals, rectangles, circles, comments, checkmarks, and many more. The Editor will also allow you to whiteout any data that you want to be obscured from some people.

The beauty with PDFescape is that you can upload documents, edit and download them back to your computer without creating an account. The whole process is a breeze. The only occasion when an account is necessary is when you’re editing and saving the document without downloading it.

The major drawback with PDFescape is that you cannot edit pre-existing text. The feature is only available in the paid PDFescape Editor version. This goes a long way to help you appreciate Sejda, which offers this feature for free.

Other Features

  • Share documents online
  • Rotate pages
  • Crop-out segments of a page
  • Reorganize the order of pages
  • Add and delete pages
  • Make PDFs from scratch
  • Supports forms
  • Add media
  • Add page numbers