IT Management

Top 5 Free PDF Editor Software

By | 7 min read | Published

These 5 free PDF editors allow you to edit text, merge pages, and more.

Whether you are an office manager, account manager, or a freelancer dealing with numerous files on a daily basis, odds are that at some point, for some reason, you’ll want or need to edit a PDF.

PDF editing software allows you to edit text in a PDF, leave feedback, combine different pages into a single file, and even embed your signature in an agreement or loan document in your personal life.

This article highlights five top-rated free PDF editor software options, sorted alphabetically.

See the full list of free PDF editors in Capterra’s software directory.
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free pdf editor software
1

DocFly: Retains original document formatting

DocFly is a PDF and document management solution used to edit, split, and modify PDF files. Users can add, erase, or highlight text in PDFs, add images to files, or split files by extracting pages from the PDF while keeping the original file intact.

DocFly offers lock/unlock functionality to protect important files, and allows users to draw or upload digital signatures to PDFs. The free version of this online PDF editor allows users to edit up to three documents per month.

Most affordable
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Key Features:

  • Access controls/permissions
  • Annotations
  • Archiving and retention
  • Convert to PDF
  • Document classification
  • Electronic signature
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Starting price:

$3.99 per month, billed annually

Support options:

Email

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

Electronic signature in DocFly (Source)

*Analysis accurate as of November 2, 2021
2

iLovePDF: Offers 2-hour file deletion window for additional security

iLovePDF is a cloud-based PDF editing tool that allows users to manage files both individually and in bulk. Users can compress, merge, and watermark PDF files.

The tool allows easy conversion of scanned PDF files into editable Microsoft Word documents and vice versa with the help of optical character recognition (OCR) technology. It also allows you to remove PDF passwords without any hassle, and provides the option to split and rotate files while editing.

This online PDF editor operates on multiple browsers and devices, allowing users to work on the go. Files uploaded to ilovePDF are automatically deleted after two hours to maintain data security (users can download and save files within that window).

It has a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices.

*Analysis accurate as of November 2, 2021
3

Sejda: Facilitates Bates numbering of PDF files

Sejda is an OCR-enabled PDF management tool that offers password encryption settings to guard sensitive files.

Along with its basic text-editing feature, Sejda allows users to convert forms into images to prevent copying or modification of PDF text. You can also add headers, footers, and page numbers to your documents.

This tool offers correction of skewed files, conversion of PDFs into grayscale images, and Bates numbering (an indexing method commonly used in legal and medical documents).

The software is available in multiple languages, including English, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese.

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Key Features:

  • Delete pages
  • Document generation
  • Forms management
  • Offline access
  • Optical character recognition
  • Rearrange pages
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Starting price:

$7.5 per month, billed annually

Support options:

Chat

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

Filling out forms in Sejda (Source)

*Analysis accurate as of November 2, 2021
4

Smallpdf: Uses SSL encryption to protect file transfers

Smallpdf is an online document management and editing tool that allows users to add images, shapes, and annotations to PDF documents.

This tool also offers PDF compression, which can be handy when attaching PDFs to emails. The tool allows you to retain the quality of the original file when compressing and even decompress files as required. Users can also apply a single signature to multiple pages in the same file.

Smallpdf integrates with Google Drive and Dropbox to facilitate file storage, and offers a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices.

Visit Website

Key Features:

  • Collaboration tools
  • Convert to PDF
  • Digital signature
  • Document review
  • Electronic signature
  • Encryption
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Starting price:

$9 per month, billed annually

Support options:

Phone, email

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

Editing documents in Smallpdf (Source)

*Analysis accurate as of November 2, 2021
5

Soda PDF: Provides format painter tool for PDF files

Soda PDF is a PDF editing tool that allows users to resize images, remove background images, add links, and edit document text. It offers in-tool spell check and bookmarks to help users navigate through large documents.

You can add check boxes, radio buttons , and customizable buttons to make documents interactive. The software is also equipped with markup tools so you can highlight, underline, and strikethrough text in PDFs. You can also use the format painter option to ensure formatting throughout the PDF remains consistent.

Soda PDF offers a mobile app for Android devices.

Visit Website

Key Features:

  • Commenting/notes
  • Convert to PDF
  • Digital signature
  • Encryption
  • Merge/append files
  • Watermarking
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Starting price:

$6.75 per month, billed annually

Support options:

Phone, chat, email

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

Adding sticky notes in Soda PDF (Source)

*Analysis accurate as of November 2, 2021

How to choose the right free PDF editor software?

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when looking for PDF editing software:

  • Select a tool that offers optical character recognition: If you’re striving toward a paperless office, you need a PDF editor with OCR capabilities to help you convert scanned documents into editable PDFs. Such tools even identify characters and words within images to help convert all image types into machine-readable text.
  •  
  • Select a tool that facilitates collaboration: Document collaboration can help improve team workflows in any organization. The software that you choose should allow multiple users to access, review, and edit documents. Team members in different locations should be able to share and access important files with complete security.
  •  
  • Select a tool with enhanced security features: PDF editors should provide security features such as password protection to restrict document modification by unauthorized personnel. The tool you choose should also give you the flexibility to change permissions once the document is published or shared with key individuals.

Common questions to ask when choosing free PDF editor software

If you ever need to upgrade your free PDF editor to a paid version, it’s a good idea to ask the software provider some questions before paying. Here are some common questions to ask before finalizing your purchase:

Does your software offer mobile support?

There are times when you might need to edit PDFs quickly, away from your office or home computer. You need software that allows you to view, review, and edit files from your smartphone or tablet on the go. A PDF editor with a dedicated mobile app ensures access whenever and wherever you need it.

Does the software include features that meet our unique requirements?

It’s important that your PDF editor includes features that match your needs. For example, if your work involves collecting surveys, you should look for tools that allow you to create and complete PDF forms. If you routinely work with documents containing confidential information, you might want PDF software that offers enhanced security features such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance or SSL encryption.

How did we choose these products? We didn’t—you did

To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.

In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.

At Capterra, we objectively select and rank products based on a methodology developed by our research team. Some vendors pay us when they receive web traffic, but this has no influence on our methodology.

To be considered for this list, products have to:

  1. Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Capterra within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher. We selected the 5 products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.
  2. Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software-not a trial version you have to purchase after a certain amount of time to get the full experience.
  3. Meet our definition of PDF editor software: “PDF Editor software can be used to create, edit, convert, and share PDF documents. The software allows users to edit text and images within PDFs, rearrange pages, password-protect files, electronically sign forms, and more.”

Note: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.

The “Best functionality” tool is identified based on the highest user ratings for functionality that a vendor received based on publicly available reviews (as of November 2, 2021).

The “Most affordable” tool is identified based on the lowest pricing a vendor offered on their website in terms of cost to upgrade on November 2, 2021.

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Looking for IT Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best IT Management software solutions.

About the Author

Shephalii Kapoor

Shephalii Kapoor

Writer @ Capterra with a focus on small business market trends, software requirements, and all things tech. Member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. Has a keen interest in music and reading books. When I am not working, you can find me talking to my friends with a mug of coffee in hand.

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