Online PDF editors offer users the chance to view, edit and change PDF files via an easy-to-use tool and at a minimal cost. But not all PDF editors are the same. They all have the most basic tools that users need from a PDF editor like adding or removing text and the ability to change the design layout of certain documents. But some PDF text editors have locked features that users can only access through paid subscriptions, while those same features are often offered for a free trial period by other PDF editors. There are many more differences between online PDF editors and this article will explore the alternatives that are available to users looking for a high-quality, free PDF editor.
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Main Features of PDF Editor Tools
People use PDFs for a variety of different reasons. As such, they require a PDF editor that is versatile and has a suite of different features to offer. Fortunately, there are many such editors available to users with varying degrees of experience using PDF files.
The main features that people look for in online PDF editors include the following:
- The ability to view and read all types of PDF files
- The ability to edit PDF files in the form of adding/removing text
- The ability to insert comments and annotations for other users to see
- Inserting or removing visual elements like images or graphics
- Merging, splitting, combining, or deleting individual pages of a PDF file
- Converting other file types (Word, Docs, PowerPoint) into a PDF file and vice-versa
- Compressing large PDF files into more manageable file sizes
Several other features could be useful to certain users like security features (password protection, watermarks), OCR scanning and search capabilities, and compatibility with cloud-based storage programs. But these features are often labeled as premium, meaning they are not available for free and users must sign-up for a paid subscription to access them.
Best PDF Editor Tools
There are dozens of different online PDF editors and choosing among them can be difficult. There are a lot of things to consider like:
- Ease of use
- Security features
- Availability of different tools
- Offline use
- Compatibility with different devices
Luckily, the following online PDF editors have most or all of the above. But users may have many other considerations as well that they should take into account when choosing among the following PDF editors.
PDFElement is the closest one can get to an Adobe Acrobat-level PDF editor thanks to its wealth of features that are similar to Adobe’s but are available at a much lower cost. PDFElement is a multi-platform program that users of Mac OS, Windows, and Android can install on their devices without a problem. The program features tools like editing, compression, conversion as well as more advanced ones like text extraction, fillable form creation, and OCR technology. The program is also available for download so users can access it offline and is available to use during a free trial period, while a subscription comes in at a very reasonable price point.
Adobe Acrobat is the company that created the PDF format and is considered the gold standard when it comes to PDF editing software. There have been several versions of Adobe Acrobat released throughout the years and the company continues to release new versions every so often, including the Pro and DC versions. The Adobe reader is available on many different browsers so users can easily view documents. But for editing and document creation, the Pro or DC versions are the way to go.
This powerful software lets users create new PDF files, edit them, insert all manner of text and design elements, as well as make text and dialog boxes. Users can also add security features, while also making PDF files easy to share through syncing with outside programs. There is a free trial version of both Pro and DC versions, although the entire software suite does require a significant investment.
SmallPDF is an online program that gives users a wide variety of easy-to-use PDF editing tools in a very user-friendly format. Visitors to the SmallPDF site will see all of the site’s tools laid out in front of them and have easy access to them. Users can choose from tools like editing, viewing, converting, and compression. The site also offers several security features and more advanced tools like adding digital signatures and PDF scanning for mobiles and other devices. Users can try the entire suite for free during a trial period or choose to subscribe under various plans designed for individuals, organizations, or specific teams.
Lumin PDF is an online PDF editor that can also be downloaded to any number of devices (desktop, laptop, smartphones) for offline use and features several different, easy-to-use PDF editing tools. Users can try the Lumin suite of tools for a free trial period and then decide whether to sign up for a weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription. Users of Lumin can view, edit, and merge or split many different PDF files (subscribers are allowed an unlimited amount of conversions), while they can also sync their Google Drive or Dropbox account to Lumin to save all changes to their PDF files. Lumin also offers a large database of pre-made PDF templates that users can download and edit to their liking in the Lumin browser.
Consider The Best Tool That Suits Your Needs
While many different PDF editors are available online, users should consider what they want to use them for before deciding which to use. All of the PDF editors listed here are more than capable of handling all types of needs from the casual user to the more dedicated, professional-level user.