11 Best PDF Editors for Windows 11

If you are an individual or small business owner who’s looking for a reliable PDF editing tool to use on your PC, here’s the place for you.

In this roundup review, we’ll show you the best PDF editing programs for Windows 11, so you can make changes to your PDF files effortlessly and improve business efficiency.

Note: all the software tools listed here have been tested and run well on our Windows 11 PC. If you are on a MacBook or iMac, read our review of the best PDF editor for Mac.

Do You Need PDF Editor Software?

Portable Document Format (PDF), offers a range of advantages over many other types of file formats. But being able to easily edit a PDF isn’t always easy. Because PDFs are essentially images, which are restrictive to certain changes.

However, it’s not impossible. In general, there are two ways to edit a PDF file: an online PDF editing service, or via a third-party PDF editor software.

Desktop software or web services?

Online PDF editors are usually free, all you need to do is upload your PDF file and directly edit it there. It’s convenient and quick, you don’t have to spend time downloading any third-party programs.

However, the primary concern here is content security. Since you need to upload a PDF file, that means a copy of your file will be saved on a remote server provided by the PDF editing service provider.

It might be a bit risky if your PDF contains private content or business confidentiality. The second drawback is that those online editors are not that user-friendly compared to desktop editing software.

We’ve tried a couple of free web apps and felt most of them are hard to navigate. If you have some advanced edits to make, it will take far more time to get there. Last but not least, features of web services tend to be fewer than that of desktop software.

What about Adobe Acrobat Pro?

Adobe Acrobat Pro is great, but we feel it’s overpriced ($19.99/month), considering most of us individuals and small business owners don’t need to edit PDFs on a day-to-day basis.

Moreover, industry tests reveal that some alternatives offer almost the same value as Acrobat does, and they are much more affordable. That’s why we didn’t rank Adobe Acrobat Pro in the first place.

Best PDF Editor for Windows 11: Our Picks

Here is a list of our top recommendations, along with a quick review of each PDF editing program so you know its pros and cons.

1. PDFelement

PDFelement is an all-in-one PDF solution. You can use the software to edit, convert, annotate, protect, even watermark and sign PDF files. You don’t have to waste time formatting in a graphics editor when you can use PDFelement page manipulation features.

You can also create PDF files from scratch, then make them modifiable and customizable. Much cheaper than Adobe Acrobat, PDFelement provides enterprise-grade PDF functionalities and licensing at an affordable rate.

2. Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro helps you make progress on projects while on the move. It makes sharing documents and gathering comments easy, with full control and tracking. All you have to do is send a link to someone, and they can open your document, view it, and comment.

This PDF software is ideal for collaborating with colleagues in multiple locations with the ability to edit or convert documents into any Microsoft Office format.

You can use Adobe Acrobat with their mobile app so you can create, export, and organize, all on your phone or tablet. You can also collect signatures, track progress, and then archive all of the signed documents.

3. ABBYY FineReader

ABBYY FineReader makes scanned PDFs as editable as digitally-created PDFs. Regardless of its source, you can open any PDF and start editing. You can change data, adjust photos, and correct typos directly within the document.

Not only can you add and adjust, but the eraser tool also lets you delete any area on the PDF page. With a single click, you can rearrange, add, and delete several pages at once.

You can also modify the document metadata for better organization, or create interactive PDF forms for questionnaires that are easy to share and print.

4. Soda PDF

Soda PDF allows you to change the page order, text size, and font. It can split a single PDF into several different documents. Under the Insert tab, there are tools for adding new elements, such as watermarks, headers, footers, and page numbers.

Soda PDF also provides excellent collaboration support with the ability to highlight selections, add comments, stickers, and even drawings.

5. Able2Extract Professional

With Able2Extract Professional, you can add or delete text directly in the PDF window itself. You can add any image format or vector shapes to personalize your documents. Either open and edit existing PDFs or create new files from scratch.

You can merge and split documents, directly assembling and tailoring your PDFs to your business needs. Able2Extract can add Bates numbering to PDF pages for medical, legal, or business documents.

Other formatting options include numbering sequences, prefixes, and suffixes. You can scale the content on your pages along with the annotations without difficulty.

6. Foxit PDF Editor

Foxit PDF Editor lets you skip many of the steps required to edit a PDF (such as needing to find and modify the source files) by allowing you to edit the content and layout directly. You can edit text so that it flows across multiple paragraphs, columns, or pages.

The software recognizes text blocks, permitting you to change the size and how the content is justified. Other professional elements include watermarks, stamps, footers, and bates numbers.

With features for adding and revoking document access, you can track the activity of various readers and the connected reviews with send requests.

7. PDF Architect

Some of the editing features of PDF Architect include the ability to change text sizes, colors, and styles. You can edit PDF documents the same way you would when operating a Word Processor.

With this software, you can always rectify unsightly typos or formatting issues. Whether you need to add pages, delete pages, extract, or rotate pages, PDF Architect is equipped for your needs.

If something goes wrong and you find your PDF is in the wrong orientation, you can split or merge documents to your satisfaction. You can also modify the background or margins for a specialized touch.

8. Smallpdf.com Editor (Online)

Smallpdf comes with a simplified interface that even beginners should be able to use. The online tool is compatible with all Windows, Linux, and Mac hardware, and because it is browser-based, you shouldn’t have any trouble using it on your mobile device or tablet.

Using cloud services, you should also be able to access your files from wherever you have internet access. Whether you want to edit your PDF file directly, or you’d rather convert to a Word file, Small PDF Editor can assist you in either task.

If you want to add text or fill out PDF forms, you can import directly from PC, Dropbox, or Google Drive to get started.

9. Nitro PDF Editor

Nitro PDF offers custom PDF creation. Whether you need to swap images, modify the text, add logos, or add pages, this software can do it all.

With review and markup features for effective collaboration, you can share sensitive data with multiple security options, including data redaction, permissions, and password protection.

Nitro PDF Editor provides all of these services with a user-friendly ribbon-style interface that’s easy for beginners to use.

10. Kofax Power PDF

Power PDF lets you create and assemble industry-standard PDFs compatible with all viewing software. With drag-and-drop ease, you can combine files, and replace or remove pages.

To keep records of your correspondence, you can use this software to save Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook emails as PDF files and archive them. Power PDF is perfect for users that work with PDF documents in many different applications.

You don’t have to waste time re-creating documents, you can simply convert them. Complex layouts from formats such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Corel can be perfectly reproduced.

Whether your layout includes items such as graphics, tables, or columns, you’ll be able to convert your materials without retyping a word.

11. Qoppa PDF Studio

Qoppa PDF Studio lets you make text and image edits directly on the page. With the user-friendly design, PDF creation and editing are much simpler.

All you have to do is activate a toolbar and paragraphs and sentences will automatically wrap text in the appropriate locations along with the images you’ve dragged into place.

PDF Studio also provides all the markup and review tools you might require, including graphical, audio, sticky notes, highlights, and text boxes.

One stand-out feature of this PDF editor is cross-platform, working on all major operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, and soon to market: Android.

Best PDF Editor for Windows 11: What to Consider?

Editing Features

A good desktop PDF editor should meet all your basic editing needs such as annotating, adding forms, rotating, managing pages, dragging and dropping, digital signature, setting a password, and other advanced editing features.

Best of all, viewing and editing speed must be fast so you have a sleek and smooth navigation experience.

Create & Convert

Once you finish editing a PDF file, you need to be able to save or share it quickly. Also, you may want to open the document from an external app.

Thus, the PDF editor you select should be able to convert a PDF file into popular file formats such as Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

OCR Technology

If you need to deal with scanned PDF files, then the ability to apply Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is incredibly important as this technology allows you to convert a scanned image into actual text.

The best PDF editor software should embed OCR and make any PDF editing like a breeze. No more hand typing, time-saving.

Language Support

You may receive documents that are not in English, thus the PDF editor program you choose should be able to speak your language.

Meanwhile, when you edit scanned PDF files that contain non-English content, the OCR technology should also have multilingual support so you no longer have to check language errors.

Ease of Use

Working with PDF documents is often hard as it is. Therefore, the PDF software you choose should offer a decent user experience, for example, a clean user interface (UI).

Also, it should have few bugs so you won’t encounter software crashes or malfunctions.

Help & Service

While a PDF editor tool can be intuitive to use, it’s inevitable that users may have problems or questions during the use. It would be great if the software provider can offer quality customer support to address our concerns.

This can be reflected by email, live chat, phone, and social media.


You only need to pay for what you use. For individuals and SMBs, you probably won’t use all the features of PDF editor software. Thus, it makes more financial sense if the software provider offers flexible pricing plans so you can choose which one best fits your editing needs.

Are there any other PDF editing programs that you feel we should feature here as well? Share your feedback in the comment below.

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  • Sana Pob

    I found out that PDF-XChange Editor is fantastic software that can do everything you need to do with PDF files and more. This is the fastest PDF editor, great featured. I like their new OCR plugin (from ABBYY FineReader).
    PDF-Xchange Editor Plus is on the top. Another plus was that the support team were very responsive. I always got all responses within hours.
    It is excellent value for money and I would highly recommend it to anybody (and to look more detail for the article).

  • Albert

    Compression is a feature that is often ignored in PDF software reviews, but is critical for anyone who must use PDFs in a filing context, such as submitting PDF files to government agencies where the upload limit is 2 megabytes. Adobe Acrobat is excellent at compression with Optimized and Reduced size conversions, and has a quick OCR capability which also reduces the size of a scanned file. There are also tools to remove scan detritus which causes file bloat as well

  • David Ralph

    The article’s premise is nice, and what I want pretty much. Software with the ability to scan professionally (setting resolution, monochrome or color, contrast), do basic edits like remove or add pages, rotate individual pages, perhaps to change content of scanned images, and MOST importantly, do a very accurate OCR overlay, whether from the scanner or from a received pdf file which is a simple image.

    Too bad the links to the various software are to versions where OCR is not possible and which do not indicate the control or even whether there is the ability to control scanner protocols. So, I guess, thanks for Googling the existence of these programs, but the information is not what was promised.

  • Sanja Po

    Good list but not full. You forgot to mention PDF-Xchange Editor (and PDF-Tools). This Editor is one of the top PDF softwares for years and one of the best and the most advanced tools for PDF documents. Even its free version is also the most feature-rich on the market. Some its features are even more precise and detailed than similar in Adobe or Foxit. It has wide variable functionality to create PDF files from images, scanner, text files, Markdown files etc. New enhanced OCR plugin made it even more attractive to customers.

  • Israel Hernandez

    Great review. However, I find it interesting that no two sites on PDF reviews agree on the ranking, I wonder why? Are the authors comparing differing features or assessing differing capabilities differently? As a consumer it is hard to know. The one consistent top performer has been Adobe PDF Pro, other than that, the rest seem to be all over the place in ranking.

  • Michael Schwaeger;l

    I am looking for a PDF writer and editor with which I can write in like a word processor, and create a newsletter with the ability to insert pictures, text boxes, etc and is also compatible with Adobe viewer DC. I can’t seem to find anything except for Adobe professional and I don’t know if my organization can afford it. I am leery of trying anything cold and can’t seem to find a description of a program that reads like what I need.

    • Pam

      Have you looked at Scrivener?

    • T

      Just use the word processor of your choice and print to pdf.