PDFs have been around for a long time, they are widely supported and can be seen on almost any device. However, one of its main draws—the fact that receivers cannot modify the layout or content—is also one of its main disadvantages. What should you do if you need to make a modification to free PDF editors for Windows because of an error or outdated information?
The solution are free PDF editors for Windows. This is not the same as PDF viewer software, so if you need to edit one of these documents on your laptop or mobile device, there are lots of online services (and applications) available, many of which are entirely free. And it’s the free ones we’re interested in here. With little further ado, here are the best free PDF editors for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Best Free PDF Editors for Windows
Now that you know the best free PDF editors for Windows we recommend, let’s take a deeper look at each of them.
1. Adobe Acrobat Reader (Windows)
The obvious place to begin with free PDF editors for Windows with Adobe, the firm that developed them in the first place. Its free product is Adobe Acrobat Reader, which provides a good set of functionality for working with PDF files. You may drop text into documents by quickly creating text fields, then mark things like checkboxes or sections where you must circle your selections, all of which is handled via the built-in graphic options.
If you need to sign off on a document, you may use your mouse or trackpad to make a digital signature and then drop it onto the page. It should be noted that this differs from Adobe’s e-sign service, which provides a higher degree of security but is only available with paying Acrobat levels.
If you’re working with others on the layout of a document, you may highlight, strikethrough, or call attention to certain portions of the page using arrows, box outlines, or just freehand sketching. When you’re finished, save the document and email it to your intended recipient.
However, if you want to convert a document to or from PDF format, edit the content of the free PDF editors itself, compress the file size, organize the pages, or do anything other than the basic editing mentioned above, you’ll need to sign up for at least the Adobe Acrobat Standard tier, which currently costs $12.99/£13.14 per month. However, if your requirements are minimal, the free software should fulfill the majority of your demands. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.
2. Canva (Windows)
Canva is most known for its design software, which is amazing by the way, but it also has a really usable Free PDF Editors on its website. It can perform the expected things like adding text to forms, highlighting locations, and annotating documents. Canva’s design background soon becomes clear, as many of the tools have a graphical flair that makes them a bit more fun than the other sober products on our list.
There are several arrows, frames, and clip-art visuals to choose from, not to mention tables and graphs. Although the latter is more of a visual queue than a full report, if you want to illustrate a percentage of anything to help the reader, Canva allows you to do it in a colorful and entertaining way.
There are also a variety of typefaces that may be used to add some life to a document, but if you simply want to fill out forms for professional purposes, you can disregard all of this and get on with the work at hand. Canva should be your first port of contact if you want to produce PDFs from scratch with a creative flare. There’s also a Pro edition, which unlocks even more creative components for $14.99 or £10.99 every month. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.
If Canva’s colors and images are too much for you, Sedja is a simple yet strong solution that is well worth your time. The online version features a free tier that allows you access to all of the tools you’ll need as long as you’re prepared to accept the limitations of up to 200 pages or 50 MB file sizes, three tasks (Edit, Compress, Fill & Sign, etc.) each hour, and the files being erased from the Sedja servers after two hours. If that’s too limiting, you may upgrade to a weekly pass for $5/£5, a monthly plan for $7.50/£7.50 each month, or the Desktop+Web option for $63/£63 per year, which includes access to the desktop version.
Whatever you pick, Sedja’s clean and efficient design will make it simple to use. The tool bar runs across the top of the page and moves with you as you scroll down. All of the functionality for filling out a form or annotating a document can be found here. Text boxes may be readily put onto the page, and the shapes provided allow you to ask queries or point out items that need to be changed or clarified.
The Forms tool includes checkbox ticks and markers, as well as the ability to create new form fields. You may also create a digital depiction of your signature by sketching it freehand with your mouse or entering in your name and then picking one of the signature styles available, which makes it appear more handwritten. Sedja is an easy-to-use editor that should suffice for individuals who only need to fill out a form or interact with coworkers to fine-tune a design. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.
Best Prices Today:
Sticking with online Free PDF Editors, PDF Escape has an odd name but some nice functionality on the free tier. You upload documents to the web and work from there, similar to PDF Candy. It’s a little less powerful, but that’s because there are premium levels, which naturally hold back some of the most essential capabilities. Having said that, you can still do a lot for free.
The workspace is organized similarly to PDF Candy, with the tools on the left and the page layout in the center. There are three sorts of functionality available: insert, annotate, and page. As the names imply, each area contains tools for specific sorts of work. Insert lets you add text, photos, hotlinks, and other items to your document. Highlighting, underlining, notes, and other such items may be found in Annotate. While Page allows you to reorganize, reorient, trim, and add pages inside a PDF. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.
The free tier does have a 10MB file size restriction, and you can’t digitally sign a document unless you’re particularly talented with the freehand pencil option or have an image of one that you can submit. There is also no way to change current text or photos in a PDF, convert to Word formats, or redact material without upgrading to a premium tier. Premium costs $5.99 per month or $35.88 per year (about £4.80 and £29), while Ultimate costs $8.99 per month or $71.88 per year. If you’re in the UK, that’s between £7 and £58, but you’ll pay in dollars. Ultimate includes the ability to digitally sign and seal documents as well as a redaction tool.
PDF Escape is not as excellent as PDF Candy (we encountered a few bugs when testing it) and lacks several functionalities. Still, it has several useful functions, and because it is free, it provides an alternative if PDF Candy does not meet your needs.
5. Adobe Acrobat Reader (Android)
Adobe has shown multiple times throughout this overview that the firm originated PDFs and continues to provide a plethora of editing choices. Because it allows you to import a document, highlight areas, add notes, enter information, and generate a signature, the Adobe Acrobat Reader is a suitable choice for basic Android operations. True, most of the app’s capability is buried behind a very substantial paywall that now costs $9.99 or £8.99 per month, but if you simply require the functions described above, it will do the job for free.
If you upgrade, you’ll be able to generate PDFs from scratch, change existing text and pictures, convert other documents to PDF, adjust page orientation and order, and merge numerous files into a single document. Alternatively, there’s the free Adobe Fill & Sign program, which does exactly what its name implies by allowing you to rapidly complete text fields in forms and establish a digital signature. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.
6. PDF Element (Android)
Best Prices Today:
Wondershare has been supplying software solutions for quite some time, with a portfolio that includes video Free PDF Editors, phone repair applications, and a variety of others. However, PDF Element is the one that is relevant to us since it is another tool that allows you to make changes and comments to existing documents.
The program allows you to underline, strikethrough, highlight, draw, and erase text. You may also select the Text option and either modify or replace the current words. There’s also a stamp feature that you can use to mark documents as approved, confidential, or a variety of other words that make it look like a secret dossier from a spy novel.
You can add a digital signature to the paperwork by drawing one with your finger on the phone, but there appears to be no method to add additional text fields, making it hard to complete the forms. According to the Wondershare website, the iOS version is more powerful, so perhaps that capability is only available on that device. So, if you need to mark up papers rather than fill them out, PDF Element is easy to use, charming, and, of course, free.
7. Xodo PDF Reader & Editor (Android)
Xodo may not be a household brand, but the business has put together an outstanding bundle in the shape of its PDF Reader and Editor. The interface is straightforward and quick to grasp, and you have access to a vast selection of features. There are the expected annotation, text entry, and digital signature features. Stamps, hyperlink support, the ability to add audio and text notes, insert photos, freeform painting, and specialized icons that can be dropped into checkboxes are all included.
The main limitation is that the free tier only enables three ‘activities’ each day. These include editing, exporting to various formats such as Word, merging pages, compressing file sizes, and so on. If you simply need to edit the occasional PDF, this won’t be an issue, but if you need to do it frequently, you’ll want to upgrade to the Pro tier, which includes limitless actions as well as some more capabilities. That costs $108 (£104.99) per year or $12 (£11.99) per month, so you might want to start with the free version first. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.
8. Adobe Acrobat Reader (iOS)
Adobe’s Acrobat Reader is a wonderful place to start if you want to edit PDFs on your iPhone or iPad. The free tier is relatively restricted, as it is primarily intended for reading, filling out, and signing PDFs. To edit the document’s content, use more advanced annotation tools, convert to other formats, compress file sizes, set passwords, or use the OCR feature to search the text within images on the page, you must upgrade to the Premium tier, which currently costs $9.99 or £9.99 per month.
The UI itself is pretty simple to use. To begin making changes, press the edit button, then tap and hold the place where you wish to add text. If you need to add ticks, crosses, or dots to indicate a decision on a form, follow the same steps, but this time choose the appropriate icon.
Boxes may be used to suggest options or emphasize certain areas of the text that you want the reader to focus on, and they can be changed simply by touching and dragging the boundaries. You may also add a digital version of your signature and strikethrough text. It’s rudimentary at best, but the simple mechanics and minimal tools allow you to swiftly fill out a form and sign it off, so if that’s all you need, Adobe Acrobat Reader is the way to go.
9. PDF Expert (iOS)
Readdle’s PDF Expert is a tool that many iOS users will be familiar with because of its amazing Spark email app, Documents file management, Calendars productivity software, and Scanner Pro app. Add this PDF Expert to the mix, and you’ve got a very complete set of software solutions for almost all work-related activities.
The free tier includes several useful functions, such as the ability to enter text into forms, highlight text, underline, strikethrough, add shapes such as circles or arrows, append comments to portions of the text, and add stickers for a little fun.
One thing you can’t do on the free version is enter a digital signature, which is reserved for the Premium plan, which is a shame because it would make this a fantastic alternative for individuals who only require the fundamentals. There is also no free way to convert a PDF to Word, Excel, or other formats. It’s worth mentioning that the Premium tier (currently $79.99 or £72.99 per year) includes access to PDF Expert on the Mac, so it’s not a terrible deal if you edit and make a lot of PDFs. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.
10. PDF Element (iOS)
PDF Element is available on both iOS and Android, but Wondershare appears to have given the iPhone and iPad versions a bit more attention since they include a few more capabilities. The primary difference is the ability to add text fields, which makes it much more useful when filling out forms. Highlighters, free-form sketching, stamps that can make it easier to mark out places that need signing or correction, digital signatures, comments and notes, shapes, and underlining and striking out text are all included.
The only drawback is that any document saved on the free tier will have a watermark, so you’ll have to pay for a clean Free PDF Editors in the end. This isn’t a big ask since it’s only $6.99 or £6.99 a month and you can quit at any moment. This is the best software in the list of the best Free PDF Editors in windows in 2023.