16 Best Free PDF Editors for Windows & Mac [2020]

Portable Document Format or more commonly referred to as PDF is a widely accepted document format for several reasons. PDFs are printable and viewable on basically any platform, including mobile devices, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux computers. Unless you convert your PDF document to a doc or text file, you’ll need to use PDF editor to edit its contents. There are many excellent PDF editors out there, both downloadable software and browser-based editors. We’ll discuss some of the best free PDF editors that you should be using in 2020.

Best PDF Editor for Windows And Mac

PDF files are a great way to preserve the original graphical appearance when printing pages for magazines or brochures. They also provide a framework for advanced functionality such as support for JavaScript, 3D Graphics, and attached files. Nowadays, most free PDF editors are browser-based with online editing and sharing capabilities.

Nevertheless, there are still excellent downloadable and professional free PDF editors available. Let’s check them out below.

1. Foxit PhantomPDF

Foxit PhantomPDF is a free PDF editor with a very intuitive and easy to use interface. You can easily create and edit PDF documents or forms. You can also add your brand’s watermark and add digital signatures.

Moreover, it allows you to edit text and adjust the document layout by changing textbox dimensions. You can also access the PDF files you’ve edited or created anywhere with the in-built cloud storage integration.

2. PDF-XChange Editor

PDF-XChange Editor allows you to create PDF files from scanned documents, images, text files, and much more. It also features a Word document to PDF converter, something that’s not included in most PDF editors. The free version of the software offers up to 60% of the premium version, the remaining 40% can be used but will simply but a watermark over the output. There are over 175 features jam-packed into this software such as adding notations, pencil tools, and form generation.

3. PDFescape

PDFescape is a browser-based online PDF editor. It is supported on most popular web browsers including Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, and Safari. You can edit PDF files directly, annotate them, create forms, password lock the PDF file, and much more. It also has an online-sharing feature, that allows others to view your PDF file using a simple link. There’s also a downloadable desktop version and Premium version that features a document merger and PDF file converter.

4. Kofax Power PDF

Kofax Power PDF is an excellent PDF editor designed for small businesses to large enterprises. The standard version features a highly accurate and precise PDF to Word or Excel converter. You can also combine PDF’s, edit them, create and fill forms as well as share the PDF files in the online cloud.

The Advanced and Enterprise options feature a real-time collaboration tool. This allows multiple users on the same network to edit the PDF files. Kofax also offers excellent security features such as access restrictions and data locks. We’re aware this product is premium, but it offers a lengthy free trial for users looking for an advanced and feature-rich editor.

5. Overleaf Editor

Overleaf is an advanced free online editor that allows multiple users to edit the file at once. Whilst editing you can see changes other users make in real-time. This makes Overleaf an excellent PDF editor for group projects and collaborative work.

All you have to do is upload a file (it supports pdf, .eps, .svg, and .png formats) and you’ll get access to edit the raw source code behind the PDF documents. If you’re new to LaTeX file editing, it may take some time to get used to it. But when mastered, you’ll be awarded functionality that surpasses premium PDF editors.

6. Smallpdf

Smallpdf is an all-in-one PDF editing and management tool founded in 2013. It allows you to compress PDF files, converts to various formats as well as share the document via email or link.

You can merge, split and e-sign PDF files and well as password protect and add encryption to your data. The free version limits the number of tools you can use, but it should suffice for the average user.

7. PDF2GO

PDF2GO is one of the most versatile and easy to use browser-based PDF editors out there. With a simple upload, you can edit, merge, and split PDF files on the go.

Moreover, you can add security such as password protection and repair corrupt PDF files. It also features a PDF converter that lets you convert PDF to JPG images, Word, Powerpoint, and Excel formats. You can also compress PDF files using basic or strong compressions.

8. Sejda PDF Editor

Sejda PDF Editor is another browser-based editor that allows you to upload and edit files online. The ability to create PDFs from virtually any file and edit the finest details inside that PDF makes this one of the most popular free PDF editors in the market today.

You can create a digital signature, make fillable forms, add shapes, images, and much more. Once, you’re done, just save your file and it’ll be available for download.

9. LibreOffice Draw

LibreOffice Draw is most commonly used for drawing sketches and designing complex plans. However, it can also be used as an efficient PDF editor.

The GUI lets you click on any position to add, edit, or delete text. Some of its advanced features also let you add images, tables and change the formatting. When exporting the file, you can sign it with a watermark, add a digital signature, and set the compression and encryption level settings.

10. PDF Expert

PDF Expert a fast and beautiful PDF editor for Mac devices. You can easily edit the text as PDF Expert automatically detects the font and size of the original text. Moreover, there are excellent features included such as the Split View mode, digital signing, file merging, and cropping. For the latest Macbooks its also features a touch bar support for intuitive and quick PDF editing and viewing.

16 Best Free PDF Editors

Below are the best free PDF editors for Windows and Mac devices. We’ve also added a couple of extra editors to this list that didn’t quite make the top 10 but you should definitely check them out.

  1. Foxit PhantomPDF
  2. PDF-XChange Editor
  3. PDFescape
  4. Kofax Power PDF
  5. Overleaf
  6. Smallpdf
  7. PDF2GO
  8. Sejda PDF Editor
  9. LibreOffice Draw
  10. PDF Expert
  11. SodaPDF
  12. PDFBuddy
  13. NovaPDF
  14. PDF Architect
  15. PDFzorro
  16. PDFTK BuilderĀ 

Final Words:

There are many free PDF editors out there, but only some provide reliable and quality features such as the ones in the list above. That being said, if you’re looking for an advanced and highly customizable editor for a small business or home office, we recommend you use a premium PDF editor such as Adobe Acrobat DC or NitroPDF. These products also offer free trials, if you just want to use it temporarily.

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