We test and rate the best PDF editors you can get, including Adobe Acrobat, Foxit, Nuance, Nitro and more. Most of the packages here cost money but it is possible to edit PDFs for free.
PDF (Portable Document Format) is one of the most popular types of document for sharing as most devices and computers can open a PDF for the recipient to read. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a laptop or a smartphone, nor which software was used to create it.
But while some PDF reader software allows you to annotate or add comments, such as the free Foxit Reader, sometimes you need to edit the actual PDF itself. This is possible with the tools below, even if a different program was used to make the file in the first place. Such programs allow to to do things like convert a PDF to Word format.
Do I need to pay for a PDF editor?
Not necessarily. It depends on what you need to do with the file. It can be worth trying a free one to see if it has the tools and options to make the necessary edits, but in some cases you won’t be able to do what you need to unless you pay for a more advanced package.
All software below lets you create PDFs from other files – including .doc – but they also allow you to edit PDF files so that you don’t need to track down the original source file in its native format. In addition, most of them also provide advanced features such as form creation, digital signature and ID certification, and collaborative review and commenting, that you generally don’t get with free PDF packages.
We’ve included one free option here, but again, check out our guide on how to edit PDFs for free.
Online PDF editors
If you don’t want to install any software, you can edit up to three PDFs online using PDF Profor free, and there’s also FormSwift PDF editor online.
Best PDF Editor reviews
Nuance Power PDF 2
- RRP: $99.99 (Standard); $149.99 (Advanced)
Buy Power PDF 2
Nuance Power PDF 2 is intuitive and easy to use, especially if you’re familiar with Microsoft Office. We have little doubt that most users will be able to quickly get up and running with it.
We found the reviewing features particularly comprehensive, proving means of annotating, marking text in various ways and drawing attention to parts of a document, and it’s great that there’s now support for touchscreens. Given that it’s so much cheaper than Acrobat, it makes a lot of sense for small business use.
Read our full Power PDF 2 review.
Nitro Pro 11
- RRP: $139.99
Buy Nitro Pro 11
This is a fully featured PDF editor that’s very easy to use and represents good value for money. Like other editors, it provides facilities for PDF creation and editing, form creation, digital signatures and commenting, plus integrated optical character recognition (OCR) so that scanned paper documents can be turned into truly editable PDFs.
Version 11 adds various improvements including more performance enhancements compared to version 10. it also adopts an Office 2016-style interface and it’s possible to customise the Home tab at the top so it contains your most used options and tools. For those new to Nitro, there’s a new Product Tour which walks you through the main features.
We like the integration with Box, Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox which makes it very easy to open and save files directly to those cloud storage services.
When it comes to editing PDFs, Nitro makes it a breeze to change text, rearrange images, add forms and more. You can change the order of pages in a document simply by dragging and dropping. And it’s also easy to sign a PDF using the QuickSign shortcut.