If you are an individual or small business owner who's looking for the best PDF editor to use on your Windows 10 based PC or laptop, here's the place for you.
We're determined to review the best PDF editing software so you can make changes to your PDF files effortlessly on your Windows PC.
Please note: we decide to exclude Adobe Acrobat because it's too expensive for us, spending $300 for a PDF editor might be overkill. Also, we knock out free or online PDF editing tools either because they are not so easy to use, or they are bundled with bloatware or adware which tend to slow down your computer.
So, what is the most powerful and affordable PDF Editor software that individuals and SMB owners can use? We've got several awesome tools for you.
QUICK PICKS: 3 GREAT OPTIONS
Windows 10 Compatible?
$29+ (50% OFF)
**Below, you'll find our expert reviews, but you can also click the links above to get the software. Note: these software work on Windows operating systems only. If you use a Mac, turn to our reviews of the best PDF Editor for Mac.
When Do You Need a PDF Editor Software?
Portable Document Format, short for PDF, offers a broad range of advantages over other types of file formats. But being able to easily edit a PDF file isn't always easy. Because PDFs are essentially images, and they are restrictive to certain changes you want to make. However, it's not impossible. Like you can use image editors to make changes to pictures, you can use PDF editors to edit pdf files as you want.
In general, there two ways to edit a PDF file: using an online PDF editing service, and the other is by using a third-party PDF editor software.
Desktop software or web services?
There is no right or wrong answer. Online PDF editing services 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.
They are without down-sides, however, the primary concern we have is security. Since you need to upload a PDF file, that means a copy of your file might be saved on the server of the respective provider. This is risky if your PDF contains highly private content or business confidentials. The second drawback is that they are not that easy to use compared to desktop editing software. We've tried a couple of free apps and felt they are very hard to navigate. If you have some advanced edits want to make, it will take far more time to rely on an online editor to get there. Last but not least, the features of web apps tend to be fewer than desktop software.
What about Adobe Acrobat?
Acrobat is great, but we feel it's overpriced, considering we individuals and small business owners only need to make minor changes and edits to several PDF documents. For example, Acrobat DC costs $299 USD one-time flat fee (or $15 per month if you go for the subscription model). Moreover, a quick comparative test reveals that some other alternatives offer almost the same value as Acrobat does regarding features, and they are much cheaper.
We've outlined below a list of best PDF editors for PCs (Windows 10 based), and the criteria we use to evaluate them.
How We Chose The Best PDF Editors for Windows 10?
- Editing Features: this is the essential part that you need the software for. A good desktop PDF editor should meet all your basic editing needs such as annotate, add forms, rotate, manage pages, drag and drop, digital signature, set a password, and other additional editing features. Best of all, the viewing and editing speed should be fast, and the entire operation should be sleek.
- Create & Convert: once you have edited the PDF file as you desire, you need to be able to save it 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 any popular file formats such as Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
- OCR Technology: if you often need to deal with scanned PDF files, then the ability to apply Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is incredibly important as the technology can convert the scanned image into actual texts. Learn more from this ABBYY library article. The PDF editor tools that adopt OCR technology would make pdf file editing like a breeze. No more hand typing, time-saving!
- Language Support: the chances are that English is not your first language, if so, the PDF editor program you choose should be able to speak your language. Meanwhile, when you edit scanned PDF files with non-English languages, the OCR technology should also have superior 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 editor you choose should offer a decent user experience as reflected by clean software UI (User Interface). Also, speaking from a geek's perspective, it should have few bugs so you won't encounter software crashes or malfunctions.
- Help & Service: not everybody is a software expert, while a PDF editor can be intuitive enough, it won't eliminate users from having problems or questions during the use. As such, it would be ideal if the software provider can offer quality customer support to address our concerns. The can be reflected by email, live chat, phone, and social media.
- Pricing: you only need to pay for what you use. For individuals and SMBs, you probably won't need to use all the features of a PDF editor software. Thus, it would be ideal if the software provider offers flexible pricing plans so you can choose the one that best fits your editing needs. Also, the price should be at a reasonable level, e.g. less than $100 USD preferably.
3 Great yet Affordable PDF Editor for Windows
#1: Wondershare PDFelement
PDFelement stands out of the crowd because it's incredibly easy to use and super powerful. CNET describes it "Thoughtfully designed and very capable PDF editor." In fact, it's more than a PDF editing software, you can use it to create and convert PDFs as well.
We highly recommend it for both individuals and professional business persons who need to deal with PDFs regularly and want to create elegant documents. PDFelement supports 9 languages including English, French, German, Spanish, and a few others.
#2: Soda PDF
Soda PDF has three packages: Standard, PRO, and PRO+OCR. All versions allow you to quickly and easily edit and convert PDFs as you want. But some advanced editing features like forms, secure & sign, review PDFs, etc. are only available in PRO versions.
We find Soda PDF excellent in handling basic editing tasks such as annotating, inserting, altering formatting, etc. If you need to turn scanned PDFs into editable and searchable texts, the OCR version also works great.
#3: Nuance Power PDF
Nuance is another great solution for PDF editing as well as PDF converting purposes. Power PDF's interface has a classic Microsoft style which lays all editing function buttons nicely in the pane. Nuance allows you to edit, annotate, convert, secure and share documents from or back to almost any application. The software supports the latest Form technology that enables you to convert plain PDFs to forms.
The unique feature that we found truly useful is that Power PDF has integrated Nuance's Dragon Notes voice recognition technology. That means you can add notes within your PDF file by speaking instead of typing. We assume that's also the reason why Nuance is more expensive than other alternatives.
Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.