In the ever-evolving digital landscape, PDF files have become an integral part of our daily lives, serving as a universal format for sharing and exchanging documents. However, editing and manipulating these files can be a daunting task, especially for those without access to expensive software.

Fortunately, the market is brimming with a plethora of free PDF editors, each offering a unique set of features and capabilities. In this article, we will dive into the 9 best free PDF editors of 2024 that are available as standalone software or web based platforms that provide a seamless experience without any installation.

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1. Sejda PDF Editor

Sejda PDF Editor

Sejda is a robust online PDF editor that I’ve personally found incredibly useful for both personal and professional needs. The interface is intuitive, making it easy to navigate and quickly find the tools you need.

Editing text and images within PDFs is a breeze, and I love how simple it is to merge or split documents. The ability to compress large PDF files has been a lifesaver when I need to share documents online. On the downside, some of the more advanced features like OCR can be a bit clunky to use.

Key Features:

  • Edit PDF text, images, and hyperlinks with precision for accurate document revisions
  • Split and merge PDF files seamlessly to organize and combine content
  • Compress and optimize PDF file sizes for faster sharing for efficient document sharing
  • Add watermarks, headers, and footers to enhance document branding to personalize and brand PDFs
  • Fill out and sign PDF forms electronically for convenient form completion

Platform: Web-based (https://www.sejda.com/)

2. PDFgear

PDFgear

In my experience, PDFgear is one of the most well-rounded and feature-rich free PDF editors available. The desktop app is fast and responsive, with a clean interface that’s easy to get acquainted with.

I really appreciate the accurate text editing capabilities, which allow me to make changes without compromising the document’s formatting. The annotation tools are also top-notch, making it effortless to highlight, strikethrough, or add comments directly on the PDF. One minor drawback is that the free version displays a watermark on edited documents, but it’s a small price to pay for such a powerful tool.

Key Features:

  • Edit PDF text, images, and hyperlinks with pinpoint accuracy for precise document editing
  • Annotate PDFs with text, shapes, and highlights for enhanced collaboration to facilitate teamwork and feedback
  • Fill out and sign PDF forms securely for secure form completion
  • Split and merge PDF files to streamline document management to organize and combine content
  • Compress and optimize PDF file sizes for efficient sharing for faster and easier document sharing

Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux (https://www.pdfgear.com/)

3. TinyWow

TinyWow

TinyWow is a sleek and modern online PDF editor that offers a range of editing and conversion tools, making it a compelling choice for users who value simplicity and efficiency.

Key Features:

  • Edit PDF text, images, and hyperlinks with ease for quick document revisions
  • Convert PDFs to and from various formats, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for improved compatibility and sharing
  • Merge and split PDF files to reorganize content to organize and combine content
  • Compress PDF file sizes for faster sharing and storage for efficient document sharing and storage
  • Annotate PDFs with text, shapes, and highlights to add notes and feedback

Platform: Web-based (https://tinywow.com/)

4. Canva PDF Editor

Canva PDF Editor

As an avid user of Canva’s design tools, I was excited to explore their PDF editor, and it didn’t disappoint. The integration with Canva’s vast library of templates and design assets is a game-changer, allowing me to create visually stunning PDFs with ease.

The ability to collaborate in real-time with team members is also a fantastic feature for group projects. However, I’ve noticed that some of the more advanced PDF editing features can be a bit limited compared to dedicated PDF editors.

Key Features:

  • Edit PDF text, images, and layouts with a user-friendly interface for intuitive document editing
  • Add eye-catching design elements, shapes, and illustrations to PDFs to enhance document aesthetics
  • Collaborate on PDF editing and design in real-time with team members for efficient collaboration
  • Convert PDFs to various formats, including Canva’s proprietary design format for improved compatibility and sharing
  • Access a vast library of templates and design assets to enhance document aesthetics to create visually appealing PDFs

Platform: Web-based (https://www.canva.com/pdf-editor/)

5. PDF Candy

 PDF Candy

As a web-based PDF editor, PDF Candy is incredibly convenient, allowing me to access and edit PDFs from any device with an internet connection. The interface is straightforward, making it easy to jump in and start editing, merging, or splitting PDFs right away.

I particularly enjoy the seamless conversion capabilities, which have come in handy when I need to share documents in different formats like Word or PowerPoint. However, I’ve occasionally run into issues with larger file sizes, causing the editor to lag or freeze.

Key Features:

  • Edit text, images, and hyperlinks within PDFs with precision for accurate document revisions
  • Merge multiple PDFs into a single, cohesive file to combine and organize content
  • Split PDFs into separate files for easier organization to reorganize and distribute content
  • Compress PDF file sizes for faster sharing and storage for efficient document sharing and storage
  • Convert PDFs to and from various formats, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for improved compatibility and sharing

Platform: Web-based (https://pdfcandy.com/)

6. PDFescape

PDFescape

PDFescape is a reliable web-based PDF editor that offers a comprehensive suite of editing tools, making it an excellent choice for users who need to annotate, highlight, or fill out PDF forms.

Key Features:

  • Add text annotations, shapes, and highlights to PDFs to provide feedback and notes
  • Fill out and save PDF forms with ease for convenient form completion
  • Draw freehand lines, shapes, and text boxes on PDFs for creative document editing
  • Insert images and graphics to enhance document visuals to create visually appealing PDFs
  • Whiteout or redact sensitive information for privacy protection to maintain confidentiality

Platform: Web-based (https://www.pdfescape.com/)

7. Apple Preview (for macOS users)

For Mac users like myself, Apple’s built-in Preview app is a reliable and easily accessible option for basic PDF editing needs. While it may lack some of the advanced features found in dedicated PDF editors, it excels at simple tasks like annotating documents, filling out forms, or rearranging pages.

The fact that it’s already integrated into macOS is a huge convenience factor, eliminating the need to install any additional software. That said, the editing tools can feel a bit limited for more complex projects.

Key Features:

  • Annotate PDFs with text, shapes, and signatures to provide feedback and notes
  • Fill out PDF forms and save the changes seamlessly for convenient form completion
  • Rotate, crop, and resize PDF pages for better organization to optimize document layout
  • Add or remove pages from a PDF document with ease to reorganize and customize content
  • Merge multiple PDFs into a single file for improved organization to combine and organize content

Platform: macOS (Pre-installed)

8. FormSwift

 FormSwift

FormSwift is a dedicated online PDF editor that specializes in creating, editing, and filling out forms, making it an ideal choice for businesses and organizations that heavily rely on form-based workflows.

Key Features:

  • Create fillable PDF forms from scratch or using pre-designed templates to generate custom forms
  • Edit existing PDF forms and add new fields as needed to customize and update forms
  • Save and share PDF forms securely with team members or clients for secure collaboration and distribution
  • Collect form responses and export data for analysis to efficiently manage and analyze form data
  • Integrate with popular storage and collaboration platforms for seamless workflows to streamline form-based processes

Platform: Web-based (https://formswift.com/)

9. Smallpdf

Smallpdf

Smallpdf is a web-based PDF editor that I’ve found incredibly user-friendly and efficient for quick edits or file conversions. The interface is clean and uncluttered, making it easy to focus on the task at hand.

I’ve had great success using Smallpdf to compress large PDF files, significantly reducing their size without compromising quality. However, I’ve found the text editing capabilities to be somewhat basic, making it less suitable for extensive document revisions.

Key Features:

  • Merge and split PDF files with a few clicks to combine and organize content efficiently
  • Compress PDF file sizes for faster sharing and storage to optimize file size for efficient sharing and storage
  • Convert PDFs to and from various formats, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for improved compatibility and sharing
  • Edit PDF text and images with basic tools for minor document revisions
  • Add or remove pages from a PDF document as needed to customize and reorganize content

Platform: Web-based (https://smallpdf.com/)

Conclusion

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, the ability to edit and manipulate PDF files has become increasingly important across various industries and personal endeavors. With the diverse range of free PDF editors available in 2024, users can effortlessly tackle a wide variety of PDF-related tasks without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re a student, professional, or casual user, these top-rated free PDF editors offer a wealth of features and capabilities to streamline your workflow and enhance your productivity. Embrace the power of PDFs and unlock new possibilities with these versatile and user-friendly tools.

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Last Update: May 7, 2024