Do you need to make changes to a PDF? You can make changes to a Portable Document Format file for free with the best free PDF editors. You can’t expect to achieve all of the advanced capabilities that a premium PDF editor would provide.
The majority of free PDF editors allow you to generate and modify Portable Document Format files, which is likely all you’ll need for occasional use. A web page can also be saved as a PDF. If you’re going to be creating and changing PDF files on a frequent basis, it’s probably worth investing in one of the best PDF editors, which allows you to go deeper into the PDF’s insides.
The best free PDF editors for everyone else provide basic editing and document production capabilities – and sometimes even more.
Not all free PDF editors are created equal. Some don’t do anything at all. However, many of them allow you to annotate and modify PDF files for free, and a few even detect scanned text.
We tested and compared half a dozen free PDF editors with the best premium PDF editors. These are, in our opinion, the best free PDF editors available.
These are the best free PDF editors that can take the trouble out of making changes to PDF files, whether you want to edit PDFs online or on your desktop computer.
Full list of the best free PDF editors in 2022
1. PDF24 Creator
Best overall free PDF editor
+Fast and light
+Lots of features for every need
-Occasionally a bit clunky
The webpage for PDF24 Creator is a little out of date, but that’s because this free PDF editor and converter has been available since 2006. It’s the work of a tiny Berlin-based team, and it’s a Geek Software project.
PDF24 Creator is a simple tool that can operate on older systems and has a surprising number of features for a free PDF editor. It can produce new PDFs, merge old ones, compress a PDF, convert a PDF to other formats, extract certain pages to make a new document, and optimise a PDF for the web, among other things. You may also use PDF24 Creator to apply OCR to a PDF to convert scanned images to text.
The user interface of PDF24 Creator is simple, and it’s evident that the tool was created with speed in mind. All of the main features are easily accessible, and you’re provided with a grid of editing possibilities when you first start the app.
2.Sejda PDF Editor
Best free pdf editor
Lets you load the file from other websites.
Supports adding hyperlinks.
Include a signature tool.
Lets you insert blank pages into the PDF.
Can remove pages from the PDF.
Supports whiting out parts of the page.
Can insert images and shapes.
Can be used on only three PDFs per hour.
Limited to docs with fewer than 200 pages.
Doesn’t edit files larger than 50 MB.
Sejda PDF Editor is one of the few PDF editors that allows you to alter text in the PDF without having to add a watermark. Most editors only allow you to modify text that you contribute yourself, or they allow you to alter text but then slap watermarks all over it.
Furthermore, this application may be used entirely within your web browser, making it simple to get started without having to download any software. If you want to use it on your computer, you may download the desktop version.
There are certain distinctions to be aware of between the web and desktop versions. For example, unlike the online editor, the desktop edition supports more font varieties and does not allow you to add PDFs from URLs or online storage services.
Another useful feature is the web integration tool, which allows PDF publishers to provide a link to their users that will instantly open the file in this online PDF editor when they click it.
After two hours, all uploaded files are automatically erased from Sejda.
This online PDF editor is compatible with any operating system. Sejda PDF Desktop is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
One of the Best Free PDF editor
+Extensive file-conversion and -creation features
+Solid PDF-layout tools
-Limited text-editing features
PDF Candy is one of the more appealing free PDF editors, owing to the fact that it has an OCR feature not seen in other free PDF editors.
While the OCR’d text cannot be edited directly in PDF Candy’s web-based PDF editor, you can submit a PDF file and have PDF Candy extract text and create a text document, RTF file, or Word document in both.doc and.docx formats.
The toolkit provided by PDF Candy is impressive. You can produce or convert PDF files using 44 different tools. Rearranging pages within a document, applying watermarks, safeguarding PDF files with passcodes, changing metadata within a PDF file, separating or adding pages to documents, and extracting photos are also available.
All of these tasks are as easy as picking a tool, uploading a document, and letting PDF Candy do the rest.
When you complete one job on a document, you’ll be given a list of other tools to utilise for further activities. You can either download the changed document or submit a new document to work on after your modifications are complete. All of your papers are queued in PDF Candy so you may download them all at once after you’ve finished editing them.
While the text-editing tools in PDF Candy are as limited as those in any other free PDF-editing app, the rest of what PDF Candy has to offer sets it apart from the competition.
Best free PDF editor for multiple languages
+Powerful range of tools
+Allows you to convert PDFs to other formats
-Can only process two documents per day
Smallpdf was founded in 2013 in Switzerland with the goal of producing a single tool for compressing and editing PDFs. This free PDF editor stands out from the competition since it is accessible in 24 languages and is utilised in 195 countries around the world.
Smallpdf’s major goal is to provide a great user experience that makes using its online PDF editor a breeze. You can upload a PDF to their website and start annotating and taking notes. A PDF can also contain images, text, and shapes. Smallpdf allows you to compress a PDF or export it as a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file once you’ve done the necessary changes.
You can upgrade to Smallpdf’s commercial edition if you want even more features. While the web version is significantly less expensive, you can pay a little extra to use the desktop version, which allows you to work offline. The company also offers a free 7-day trial so you may try out the paid features before deciding whether or not to subscribe.
Ample annotation tools for free
+Web-based annotation tools are easy to understand and use
+Page limit has increased to 100 pages
+Impressive feature set for a free app
-Very limited fonts
For online PDF editing, PDFescape is a great choice. PDFescape may be all you need to edit and annotate PDF files because it is simple to use and accessible to everyone with a web browser.
Prior to this, PDFescape had a 10MB or 50-page PDF file limit. Although the 10MB file size limit remains, you can now edit files with up to 100 pages for free.
Annotation features abound in PDFescape. Filling out forms, creating form fields, inserting text and web links, highlighting text, adding sticky notes, redacting or striking out text, cropping and rotating photos, adding or removing pages, and even locking and encrypting PDF documents are all possible with the software.
However, you’ll have to deal with a severely limited font selection. One of PDFescape’s five fonts is a generic “signature” font that looks nothing like your own signature. Aside from that, PDFescape has a lot more features than the standard free PDF editor.
Uses OCR to identify the text in the PDF.
Can import a variety of shapes and images.
Supports adding QR codes to the PDF.
Offers a portable version.
Many features require a license.
Works with Windows only.
Although PDF-XChange Editor has a lot of useful features, not all of them are free to use. The PDF will save with a watermark on every page if you use a non-free function.
However, if you limit yourself to the free capabilities, you can still edit the file and save it to your PC.
PDFs from your computer, a URL, SharePoint, Google Drive, and Dropbox can all be loaded. You can either save the altered PDF to your computer or to one of the cloud storage providers.
Because there are so many options, it may appear daunting at first. However, all of the options and tools are straightforward, and they’re organised into separate sections for simpler control.
One useful feature is the option to highlight all form fields so you can see where you need to fill them in quickly. If you’re working on a PDF containing a lot of forms, such as an application, this is quite useful.
Many of the functions are free (such as text editing), but others are not. If you use a feature that isn’t covered by the free version (you’ll be told which features aren’t free when you use them), a watermark will appear in the corner of every page in the saved PDF file.
PDF-XChange Editor is available for Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. It’s available as a portable installer for usage on a flash drive or as a normal installation.
7. Apple Preview
Best free PDF editor for Mac users
+Included with all Macs
+Image-editing tools included
+Can annotate and add signatures to PDFs
-Only available for macOS
Unlike Microsoft Windows, Apple’s macOS comes with a built-in PDF editor called Apple Preview, which is surprisingly capable. It provides a number of image-editing features in addition to the ability to work with PDF files.
When it comes to PDFs, Apple Preview’s markup capabilities allow you to fill in forms and add signatures. You can, however, combine PDF documents, transfer pages from one PDF to another, add text, highlight, and do so much more. You can even password encrypt PDF files that contain critical information with Apple’s free PDF editor.
Apple Preview is a basic free PDF editor that gets the job done, and it comes pre-installed on every MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini, and other Mac devices from the firm.
Because it isn’t available for iPhone or iPad, you’ll have to conduct your PDF editing on a desktop computer before sharing your finished documents on a mobile device.
8.Inkscape PDF editor
Best free PDF editors for online
Can edit PDF text.
Supports manipulating graphics.
Includes lots of image-editing tools.
The number of graphics-editing tools can be overwhelming
Inkscape is a popular free image viewer and editor, but it also has PDF editing features that are only available in expensive editions of most specialist PDF editors.
This software should only be considered in the context of PDF editing if you want to delete or alter the images or text in the PDF. We recommend editing PDF forms or adding shapes with one of the other tools on this list, then importing that PDF into Inkscape to change the pre-existing text.
On Windows, mac and Linux you can install Inkscape.
How to choose the best free PDF editor for you
Picking the best free PDF editor is similar to choosing the best premium document editor: figure out exactly what you want to do with a PDF file and go with the tool that has the functionality you need.
This might be as basic as selecting if you need a PDF editor for document development and design or just something to leave comments and ideas on a digital file.
You should be aware of any limitations placed on the free tier because this is free software. Is there a limit to the size of the papers you can modify, or are some tools restricted to paying customers? If you answered yes to the second question, figure out whether it’s worth it just to pay up for that particular feature.
Which free PDF editor is the most effective for you?
Consider which parts of your PDF file you need to update before picking one of the best free PDF editors to download and use. You’ll only need a simple editor that enables text insertion if you’re merely trying to add information to a form digitally.
However, if you need to make significant changes to the content of a PDF, you’ll need a more sophisticated PDF editor that can alter text or images already in the file. In some circumstances, especially if you wish to update practically all of the content of your file, a PDF to Word converter may be a better option.