Although almost 25 years old, PDF can be more useful than ever in our increasingly multi-device and multi-platform world. Most of the time, you can manage with a free PDF reader to review and comment on these files. But inevitably, especially in a professional context, you will need to edit a PDF file, which usually requires an upgrade to a premium PDF editor.

Historically, Adobe Acrobat was the best option, but also the most expensive, often putting it out of reach of individuals and small businesses. This has resulted in a multitude of alternatives with varying characteristics and costs. We looked at six PDF editors to see what they offer and how they compare to each other.

Updated on 1/11/19 to include our review of PDFelement Pro 6, which provides hassle-free PDF editing and is an attractive and inexpensive alternative to Acrobat. See at the bottom of the page the list of all our PDF publisher reviews.

Best Global PDF Editor

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

The full PDF features of Acrobat Pro DC show why it's still the editor according to which all others are judged.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC remains the industry standard for a good reason. The many replacement options are based on its rich combination of authoring, editing, reviewing, security, and security features, but we believe that Acrobat always does it better. The recent redesign of its interface makes it much easier to navigate its robust tools than the nested menus of the past, and its cloud subscription option makes its advanced features available to more individuals and smaller users. companies. (Read our full review.)

Finalist

Nitro Pro 12

Nitro Pro 12 is an excellent PDF editor that will streamline your document workflow.

Nitro Pro 12 replaces its previous version, Nitro Pro 11, in second place. Its full integration with Nitro Cloud, as part of the Nitro Productivity Suite, facilitates collaboration on documents and secure signatures. The ability to run common editing tasks directly in a browser rather than having to switch to the desktop program makes document workflows simpler and more transparent. (Read our full review).

Best PDF Editor

This customizable PDF editor is available in several versions, each with its own set of "modules" or tools, so you can only buy the ones you need. But even the Professional Edition, which has an almost complete toolkit, costs only $ 109. You sacrifice little for this accessibility because it includes many revision, collaboration, and security features. (Read our full review.)

A word about PDF editors online

Why spend a lot of time in a desktop publisher while free online PDF publishers abound? The simple answer is because you get what you pay for. Generally, free online publishers allow you to add text and comments, merge and split documents and convert files to PDF. However, with rare exceptions, they will not let you edit the existing text and many have file size and page volume restrictions. And many of them will be watermarked on your edited document. For these reasons, PDF Web editors are best reserved for simple and fast editing tasks. Call these big dogs for something more demanding.

What to look for in a PDF editor

  • Create, convert and export PDFs: The most basic function of a PDF editor is to create PDFs, either from scratch, by copying scanned copies, or by converting digital documents. A good PDF editor should be able to transform various types of files (from Microsoft Office formats to HTML images), seamlessly, preserving the original formatting. It should also include OCR technology to make PDF text searchable and editable. Similarly, a good PDF editor must be able to export PDFs in other editable formats such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, HTML or plain text, retaining hyperlinks, images and other elements. original files.
  • Content editing: Another magic that PDF editors unlock is the ability to edit text. insert, resize and move images; and rearrange the pages in the PDF. A good tool will perform these tasks as easily as in a text document or slide set, allowing online editing, drag-and-drop graphics, and the addition or removal of hyperlinks.
  • Revise and annotate: A good PDF editor should also allow you or anyone else using it to add comments and other annotations to PDF files during the review. It should have tools for tagging text documents and heavy graphic files such as web pages. Common options include sticky notes, text boxes, highlighting, freehand tools, and stamps with messages such as "approved," "edited," and "confidential."
  • security: All companies process documents containing sensitive data. Look for a PDF editor that includes security features that allow access only to authorized eyes. The right options usually offer several levels of security, including password protection, setting permissions, and writing content, which "hides" selected text and images. Most PDF publishers also offer one or more ways to electronically sign documents.
  • Mobile supportNote: Although deep PDF editing is best done on a desktop computer, it's nice to be able to review and annotate files while on the road. Although PDF files can usually be viewed in any PDF reader or editor, regardless of the model in which they were created, consider searching for a publisher with a dedicated mobile app optimized for mobile devices or allowing access to features in the cloud via a browser.
  • One of the advantages of PDF files is that they can be read and edited in any PDF program, regardless of the program in which they were created. Therefore, beyond the features described here, let your personal preferences guide you in your decision.

    All PDF reviews

    If you would like to know more about all the PDF editors we've reviewed, check out the list below. We are starting our guide with six PDF publishers, but we will continue to evaluate more over time and re-evaluate those we have already reviewed.

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