The Best PDF Editor for Windows 10 (Research Done for You)
Business • Updated on Sept. 3, 2019
PDF or Portable Document Format is the best format for viewing and sharing documents, it is widely used by us. For example, many contracts and documents are signed virtually and saved as PDFs because the format tends to be more secure.
However, due to PDF’s special feature – un-editable, that means that viewing and editing PDFs can get complicated. So what will you do if you need to edit or revise a PDF file in Windows 10?
Luckily, there are plenty of PDF editing applications available. You will find software-based solutions and web-based solutions both. But most of these web-based solutions are limited and you do not know how secure your PDF files are on the websites.
You cannot and should not trust websites with your PDF files. If your PDF files that need editing are related to your work or a company, it is always better and safe to go for a solution that is desktop software based.
We will now discuss some of the best PDF editors for Windows 10. Hopefully, you will be able to pick the right fit for yourself by the end of the article.
If you’re a Mac user, check the best PDF editor for Mac review here.
The things to consider before choosing a PDF editing software
Before we dig deep into this review, let’s look at what factors to look for in a good PDF editing software.
We don’t know about you, but we use PDF editing tools for professional work. This is where having a user-friendly interface can really save the day and help you swiftly get time intensive editing out of the way.
Create, convert & export PDF files
This is an obvious feature that your PDF editor should have. You should be able to create new PDF files from already existing documents that you might have. These documents can be scanned images or a types document from a word processor.
These documents can even be a spreadsheet and your PDF editor should be able to convert these files into PDF easily. A functional and good PDF editor can easily create and convert Microsoft Office files, images, and even HTML content so that it retains how the original document is formatted.
Exporting a PDF file into another format like a Microsoft Word format or even a Microsoft Excel format should also be possible so that you can change things in that file at a larger level easily.
Editing & annotation
Of course, the main requirement of a PDF editor has to be that it can actually edit PDF files in a good way. A lot of PDF editors can edit text in the PDF files but when it comes to editing and modifying images and more, these editors don’t do a great job.
A good PDF editor should be able to work with everything that a PDF file has including the text, images, hyperlinks and more. It should allow you to highlight parts of the document or apply a stamp on the document before you can go ahead with the edited PDF.
There are times when we have to scan printed documents and the PDF editor should also allow you to edit these scanned PDF files. This can be done using OCR or Optical Character Reader which converts scanned textual documents into documents that can be edited digitally.
A good PDF editor with good OCR functionality should work with text, images and other types of content in a PDF file.
When it comes to using a PDF in a workplace, it is important that these PDF files are protected. A PDF editor should come with security features that should include password protection, ability to redact document contents and the ability to sign the documents electronically.
These are some of the features and functionalities to help you choose the best PDF editor tools – directly from TheSweetBits staff who’re actually tested it.
Still here? Okay, great!
Let’s dig deeper into this review.
Our favorite pick: PDFelement 7 Pro (most popular)
Our top choice among the PDF editors is Wondershare’s PDFelement 7. It has a sophisticated yet simple interface comprising of all the essential business features.
The UI is easy to navigate and has all the main features of the editor on its home screen in huge clickable tiles. Its UI is similar to that of ribbon interface used by MS Office. You can edit, create, convert, combine, or batch process PDFs, as well as access a library of PDF templates from the home screen itself.
Using PDFelement 7 Pro to edit PDF files is a breeze. Adding new text does not require manual font selection as the program automatically picks up the font that the text is being added into and sets the font, size, and style accordingly. You can easily edit other parts of the PDF like resizing and editing pictures, adding or editing headers and footers of the document and a lot more. You can add comments, images, text boxes, markups, stamps, and links as well as insert sticky notes and highlight text.
You can easily convert your PDF files to several different formats such as Word, Excel, Text, RTF, ePUB, HTML and Image (PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, and TIFF) keeping the original formatting and fonts intact. You can also compress the documents.
Moreover, with PDFelement 7 you can convert a non-fillable form created in Word, Excel or any other format into a fillable and editable form. You can also simply use drag and drop features to create PDF or web forms within minutes.
You can smoothly share documents for review with options for emailing and tracking with DocSend, and there is also integration with Dropbox and Google Drive.
While dealing with sensitive data, you can redact documents and also apply encryption. Take note that the hidden text won’t roll back to normal and the redactions are final.
OCR is again a feature that is only available in the Pro version of PDFelement 7 and to our surprise, it worked quite well. You can easily convert scanned copies and paper documents into editable and searchable documents.
PDFElement 7 supports 25 languages. This comes handy when you want to use a document again without typing it from scratch.
It offers lifetime and yearly subscription plans to choose from, starting at $129 per year. It is suitable for both individuals as well as team use. However, its free trial is limited with watermark. Also, its Windows and Mac interfaces differ.
Honestly, PDFelement Pro might be the best PDF editor that we have come across in a while. But let us take a look at the list of pros and cons.
+ Easy to use PDF editing tools which can edit texts, images, and everything
+ Fast and accurate OCR scanning
+ Easy options to create digitally fillable forms
+ Easy conversion to formats like Word, Excel etc.
– OCR features only available in paid Pro version
– Does not integrate with Microsoft Office directly
The fact that the PDF editing itself is so easy and seamless makes it an amazing choice if you want a good PDF editing app for yourself.
Acrobat Pro DC is among the best-known, most powerful pdf editors. It comprises of three components:
Acrobat DC: It lets you do various editing functions on your PDFs on desktop and mobile devices.
Adobe Document Cloud: Using this you can create, export, store and send PDF files, and collect electronic signatures.
Acrobat Reader DC: It allows you to read, print, and sign PDFs.
Acrobat DC has an easy to navigate interface with tabs. It offers three views – Home, Tools, and Document. If you do not have a pdf open, you will find yourself at the home tab. You can quickly quick access recent files and locally stored files, whether in Adobe Document Cloud or third-party services such as Microsoft OneDrive or Box.
The Tools tab contains Acrobat DC’s numerous tools in a single pane. You can add any of the individual tools as a shortcut to a right sidebar. In this manner, you can access them with an opened PDF without toggling back to the main tools menu. When you select a tool the commands specific to it appear, or its associated toolbar pops up if you are in an open document.
Each PDF file opens in its tab in the Document view. A toolbar with some basic editing tools can be seen on the top of the document. The navigation pane is on the left side while the task pane is on the right side of the document.
Adobe provides you with almost everything required to work with PDFs in a business scenario. It lets you convert Microsoft Office files, images, HTML, scanned documents, etc. into PDFs, send them out for comments and electronic signatures, and secure sensitive information with password protection, encryption, and text redaction.
Adobe has recently made its documents sharing experience more efficient. You have the choice of sending a PDF as an email attachment or a link to the file in Adobe Document Cloud. There is a new tool that asks whether you or others need to fill and sign first and then notifies you through completion of that task. So, filling and signing a document is a lot easier now.
The only downside is that a first-time user can be overwhelmed by the variety of features that acrobat DC comes with. To deal with this, Adobe now comes with a new onboarding experience that steadily guides you through the task of making Acrobat your default PDF editor, demonstrating how to add and combine your PDF files and organize pages. You can access the recommended tools from the Home tab for a quick walkthrough.
One major drawback is its pricing plan. Although it offers a free seven-day trial, it starts with $14.99 per month with annual commitment or $180 per year. It is quite expensive when compared to other editors that are on par with it and it does not offer a lifetime license. It also lacks some great OCR proofreading tools found in other editors such as ABBYY FineReader.
While we picked two winners for editing PDF, there are a number of other decent options that may appeal more to you.
ABBYY FineReader (Heavy OCR editing)
ABBYY FineReader is the highest quality OCR available. In case, you require a pdf editor with flawless OCR to manage/convert documents, look no further than ABBYY FineReader. Its OCR is precise, effective and saves time and effort.
ABBYY has an exceptionally clear interface with all the icons labeled. It lets you export to multiple formats. It comes with a highly nifty cross-format document-comparison feature. So, you can compare the Word and PDF versions of the same file and find out which of the two has the latest revisions. It also has a Hot Folder feature that automatically creates PDF files from documents or images saved to the folder.
For basic PDF editing, FineReader has a cleaner and more contemporary interface than Adobe Acrobat. Its search features let you highlight or underline all instances of a search string. Using its redaction mode, you can blank out any text or region in a document.
ABBYY includes an OCR editor, a built-in spelling checker, which checks the OCR output and rectifies recognition errors. When installed, ABBYY adds ScreenShot Reader that lets you capture text from the screen and send the output straightaway to Microsoft Word or some other app instead of to the Clipboard.
However, ABBYY doesn’t have Acrobat’s full-text indexing feature which makes searching almost instant in large files.
The single-user license for ABBYY FineReader costs $199.99 making it quite expensive for personal use. Another major drawback is that ABBYY has no version control.
Check out ABBYY FineReader
Nitro Pro PDF (Comprehensive editor)
The Nitro Pro PDF offers a complete set of editing tools, review and markup features, multiple security options like permissions, password protection, and data redaction. It has a Microsoft Office-like interface which guarantees an intuitive experience and shorter learning curve for even first-time users. Moreover, if you prefer to work with an editor that offers you some more advanced features, Nitro Pro is the way to go.
Nitro Pro boasts of some features that make it stand out. Its full integration with Nitro Cloud makes collaborating on documents and securing signatures easier than ever. Its document workflows feel simpler and seamless as it allows you to edit right in a browser rather than having to toggle over to the desktop program.
The integrations with Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box make sure you can have easy and quick access to your cloud-based documents. With the new OneDrive for Business connector, you can save your PDFs directly to OneDrive, easily creating and sharing access links with colleagues. Editing PDFs can be done in lesser time as you can drag-and-drop text and images between multiple open windows.
Nitro Pro is compatible with high-quality CAD drawings. You can work with blueprints within your PDFs, as well as export to PDF from Revit, AutoCAD, and Microstation.
Nitro Pro’s Chain of Trust support automates the identification of trusted contacts. Thus, quickly validating the digital signatures received.
The single-user license of Nitro Pro costs $159. Although the price is reasonable, Nitro’s customer service support is not what a user will expect and has a long response time. Also, Nitro does not have any dedicated mobile app.
Check out Nitro Pro
Able2Extract Pro (Converting PDFs)
Able2Extract Professional is a PDF editor built mainly around exporting the PDF files into proper editable formats. Sometimes when you use a normal PDF editor to convert PDF files into formats like Excel, the results turn out to be – not so good.
This is where Able2Extract comes in. This software is a pro at converting PDF files to formats like Word, Excel etc. with every single detail and precision as is the PDF file already was in its source format.
The software can easily convert PDF files into formats like AutoCAD, CSV, Excel, HTML, Word and more. Formats like AutoCAD aren’t supported by every PDF editing tool out there but Able2Extra Professional can easily work with these formats and deliver great results.
Its full use, single-user, lifetime license costs $149.95 while a monthly subscription costs $34.95. The affordable cost does make Able2Extract an obvious choice but there are some cons associated with it – the updates are rare, its OCR at times fails to recognize headers and sometimes fonts and layouts get distorted.
Check out Able2Extract Professional
Kofax Power PDF Advanced (better for business)
If you’re a small business that requires a PDF converter for your individual needs, the flexibility of the Kofax Power PDF may be what you’re looking for. Power PDF was formerly owned by Nuance, who was just acquired by Kofax, a company excelling in the areas of collaboration, security, and enterprise deployment.
It has an intuitive Microsoft Ribbon interface. Every feature and user interaction is optimized to support PDF workflows with as few clicks as possible.
With Kofax Power PDF, you can easily merge multiple PDFs into a single file, apply watermarks and stamps, and quickly search documents. You can also perform smarter searches with Looks Like Search, a PDF pattern search tool. Additionally, Kofax allows you to automatically highlight, cross out or underline search results for faster, easier PDF editing.
You can digitally sign and share documents using the integrated DocuSign feature, from the most trusted and popular eSignature service. You can also use the advanced redaction features and automatically inspect documents and remove sensitive data for safe, secure document sharing.
Power PDF Advanced costs $179.99 and a 30-day free trial is available. Its pricing is almost similar to Adobe Acrobat but its OCR features are not as powerful as that of Adobe. It also has minor issues in document conversion and does not offer free version upgrades. Another downside is its higher learning curve as compared to other editors.
Check out Kofax Power PDF
Foxit PhantomPDF (cloud-based editor)
Foxit PhantomPDF is a comprehensive PDF editor that accommodates the requirements of businesses and personal users. It has an intuitive, user-friendly interface and offers a huge set of advanced, PDF editing and security tools. You can create, edit, comment, collaborate, share, secure, organize, export, scan, and sign PDF documents and forms.
Foxit PhantomPDF allows users to convert multiple file formats to PDF and vice versa. The editor also provides multiple language support (up to 41 languages). This makes PhantomPDF an ideal PDF solution for businesses and individuals based in other countries.
Using the ConnectedPDF functionality, you can control your content. You can convert your regular PDF files to ConnectedPDF in a single step, create and manage various versions of that file, and keep tabs on all activities related to that file. This means you can track who opened your pdf and when. All actions performed on the pdf are recorded.
PhantomPDF offers integrations with Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive among others, allowing users to collaborate, share, and annotate with ease and speed.
PhantomPDF is priced at $129. Although it is a great package at this cost, there are some drawbacks. Its OCR feature has some issues, the trial version has limited features and it cannot convert to ePub. Additionally, it cannot be used for PDFs that have Flash animations and 3D CAD drawings.
Check out Foxit PhantomPDF
PDF Architect Pro (flexible tool)
PDF Architect is promoted as the only customizable PDF editor. It is offered as a free download and three different paid packages, each containing a particular set of PDF tools it calls modules. You can also purchase these modules individually based on your needs.
PDF Architect organizes tools in tabs. The first 12 tabs cover common document tasks like creating, converting, securing PDFs and more. The 13th is an empty custom tab to which you can add tools as per your requirements and create a personalized ribbon bar.
PDF Architect lets you can create PDFs from scanned documents or more than 300 file formats. It also supports one-click conversion of PDFs to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML, text, and image formats. You can also perform batch conversion.
You can compare document versions to monitor collaborative changes. If a document contains sensitive data, you can secure the PDF fully or partially with password encryption, permissions, redaction, or digital signatures.
PDF Architect Pro costs $69 yearly and with OCR its priced at $89 yearly. You sort of compensate for the reasonable price as PDF Architect does not have the drag and drop feature for editing and it does not support ePub conversion. Furthermore, it does not optimize documents for display on mobile platforms.
Check out PDF Architect
Microsoft Word( if you already own MS Word)
Word is Microsoft’s flagship word-processing software that is by far the most popular word processor in the world. It is available as a stand-alone or as part of the Microsoft Office suite. Word files are frequently used as the format for sending text documents via e-mail.
Microsoft Word is packed with various features that make word-processing a simple and productive process. It is immensely user-friendly. Its ribbon interface allows for smooth navigation and easy access of its numerous functionalities.
You can easily format text, change fonts, add special effects to text, organize long and complex documents, set up different sections – including tables, graphics, images, create your layout templates, use macros, create passwords to protect your documents, and even print your documents in different page sizes.
These were some of the best pdf editors for Windows. Our favorite pick among these is PDFelement Pro 7. It is for users who want a feature-rich editor sans any complexity. Another plus is that it retails for a fraction of other business-oriented PDF editors.
We hope this carefully curated list helps you in selecting a pdf editor that fits your needs.