The Best PDF Editors For 2021

Searching for the best PDF editor is often a process that confuses a lot of people. There are different ranges of solutions to choose from. You have higher-end solutions such as Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, but that is intended for the professionals and requires a deep learning curve and is quite more expensive than the competition.

However, if you are just starting your PDF editing journey, then you should go for something that would suit a beginner rather than going for something that is for professional use and requires a deep learning curve.

Let’s not digress, and start looking at the list of the best PDF editors for 2021.

Wondershare PDFelement Pro – Editors Choice

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I have been using Wondershare PDFelement Pro for quite some time now, and the best thing is that it is very easy to use whereas it comes with all the right features that a professional would require. This is one of the best Adobe Acrobat alternatives available in the market.

Below are some notable features of the PDFelement Pro.

  • Create Fillable PDF Files – With PDFelement Pro, you do not worry about creating PDF files that are easily fillable.
  • Easy PDF Editing – PDFelement Pro allows quick and accurate editing of PDF documents, which includes scans without going back to the source files.
  • Faster Conversion Speed – PDFelement Pro allows PDFs conversion to MS Office formats, HTML, rich text, plain text, several image types, and in the Mac version, Apple’s Pages.
  • Commenting Tools – It allows you to review and mark-up PDF files without any hassle.
  • Batch Processing – If batch processing is the feature you’re concerned about then you must try this software. It will make your whole experience a lot smoother, and comfortable. Batch processing consists of the conversion of files, extraction of data, OCR, and other watermark features.
  • Apply Digital Signatures – With this feature, you can add certified digital signatures to help the receiver validate document authenticity and integrity.
  • Great OCR accuracy – PDFelement Pro has a great OCR functionality that is used to scan a document as well as edit the scanned document. OCR currently supports all the popular languages.
  • Export Data Into Excel – You can easily export data into excel files.

Regular Pricing

  • Individuals – PDFelement Pro: $79/year, PDFelement Standard: $59/year
  • Team – PDFelement Pro starts at $109/user/year, more details by clicking here.
  • Education– PDFelement Pro: $79.50 (Perpetual License), PDFelement Standard: $39.50 (Perpetual License)

Discounted Pricing (Perpetual License)

  • PDFelement Standard: $59 one-time fee
  • PDFelement Pro: $109 one-time

The discount can be availed by clicking here.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

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Another great option on the list is Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. The PDF format was introduced by Adobe in 1993 and when it comes to PDF editing, Acrobat Pro DC is considered the industry standard for professionals. Even though the program isn’t free but if you need to edit and manage PDFs professionally, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is definitely for you.

One of the premium solutions that are available for all major platforms such as Windows and Mac whereas supports mobile functionality. Some of the great features are as follows;

  • Easy Conversion – Convert almost any file to PDF format which includes Word, PPT, Excel, JPG, and vice versa.
  • Quick Editing – Allows PDF editing, lets you add comments, recognize text via OCR feature, merge multiple files into one, reorder, delete, rotate, crop pages, split PDFs into multiple files.
  • Sharing – You can send files to others for commenting, protect your PDF files, unlock PDF files, compare multiple files for the difference.
  • Sign PDFs – Send documents to others to get their signature, fill forms, and sign them, turn your existing forms into fillable PDF forms.


  • Billed annually at US$179.88/yr

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Smallpdf – Best Free Online Solution

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If you are in search of an excellent free online PDF editor that has all the right features for you, then you should definitely look at Smallpdf. I have been using SmallPDF for some time and upon using it, I will recommend this solution due to its great interface and efficiency.

Smallpdf got enough features to keep you around for some time.

  • Compress PDF – With SmallPDF, you can reduce the PDF file size to avoid the file size restrictions while submitting online.
  • PDF Converter – SmallPDF allows you to convert Word, JPG, PNG, PowerPoint, and Excel files to and from PDF.
  • Easy Editing – SmallPDF allows you to edit PDF files such as text editing, freehand annotations, share files for commenting, unlocking PDF files, protect PDF files.
  • Sign PDFs – Create a signature, fill forms, and sign them, ask people to sign it.


  • Free Version: Access to 21 Smallpdf tools, Process up to 2 documents.
  • Pro Version: Access all the premium features with a $9/user/month subscription.

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PDF Architect 7

Top 9 Best PDF Converter Software for Windows 10

The next option we are looking at is PDF Architect 7 developed by Pdfforge; the Windows-exclusive PDF editor that is budget-friendly while not compromising the feature set. The best thing is that it is available in both paid and free versions, it is up to you as to what you want to go with.

Some of the notable features of PDF Architect 7 are listed;

  • Hassle-Free PDF Editing – With PDF Architect, you can modify the text anywhere in the PDF, split or merge, page settings.
  • Easy Insertion – PDF Architect allows you to insert images, hyperlinks, page numbers, watermarks, headers, footers, and Bates numbering to your PDF documents.
  • Secure & Sign – It allows you to approve and sign documents,  redaction feature to properly black the confidential areas, secure PDFs with 256 AES encryption
  • Review – Add comments, stickers, notes, and stamps. Their whiteout features allow you to erase elements in the PDF file.
  • Forms – You can make personalized PDF forms, manage field sequences and insert scripts, checkboxes, buttons, Add text, Include a Submit, Import, and export form data.


  • Free Version: Comes with limitations.
  • Standard: $49/year.
  • Professional: $69/year.
  • Pro + OCR: $89/year.

More details can be found here.

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Nitro Pro

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Nitro Pro is certainly one of the best PDF editing software programs that comes with a rather interesting name. Looking to edit contracts, forms, spreadsheets, blueprints, or beyond? Nitro Pro provides you the tools to manage PDF editing and eSigning. The only downside we observed is that it is not budget friendly considering the competition in mind.

Some of the important hallmarks of PDF Architect 7 are listed;

  • Quick Editing Tools – Add, delete, and modify text and images in multiple windows at once, and copy/paste text into Microsoft Word or Office files.
  • Accurate Conversions – Nitro Pro promptly and precisely transforms every PDF to and from MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your desktop, tablet, or phone.
  • Secure & Sign – With Nitro Pro you can set permissions, add password security, whiteout and redact sensitive data. eSign feature makes the eSign process quite easier, do it yourself or request others to sign the PDF.
  • Review + Annotate – Manage review and collaboration via trackable commenting, markup.
  • Build + Forms – Make fillable forms or add your own data to an existing form.


  • Free Trial: Nitro Pro comes with a 14-day free trial after that it acts as PDF reader.
  • Nitro Productivity Suite: $159/user.

More details can be found here.

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Foxit PhantomPDF

Foxit PhantomPDF Business - FileCR

We are now looking at the Foxit PhantomPDF. This PDF editor is pretty full-fledged when it comes to the feature set. Since the product is available to try for free, and if you are looking for something to convince you, we have got some pretty convincing points to mention.

  • PDF Editor – Perform paragraph edit and have text flow across multiple paragraphs, change the document layout by changing their size or moving text boxes. Make them professional by adding headers, footers, adding stamps, watermarks, bates numbering, etc.
  • Easy To Organize – With PhantomPDF you can promptly and precisely manipulate PDF documents.
  • Share & Collaborate – PhantomPDF lets you annotate, share, and collaborate with PDF.
  • Scan and OCR – Scan to PDF, OCR PDF, and edit scanned PDFs without any hassle.
  • Protect and Sign – PhantomPDF thoroughly understands your privacy concerns, therefore, it was built to protect users’ confidentiality in mind too. You can encrypt, redact, whiteout, and Sign PDF documents.

The main downside we found is that the trial version doesn’t come with all features and the interface might confuse the beginners.


  • Free Trial: Comes with limited features.
  • Standard Version: $109 one-time fee.

More details can be found here.

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Other PDF Editors Available in the market
  • PDF Architect 7
  • PDF Buddy
  • ABBYY FineReader/FineReader Pro
  • Icecream Apps PDF Editor
  • Able2Extract Professional
  • PDFTables
  • Gaaiho PDF Suite 5
  • PDF Pro
  • PDFfiller
  • HiPDF
  • Formswift
  • Ilovepdf
  • FileStar PDF
  • PDFDocs
  • PDFescape
  • PDF-Xchange Editor
  • ByteScout PDF SDK
  • iSkySoft PDF Editor
  • Xodo
  • Flip PDF
  • PDFexpert
  • Ashampoo PDF Pro
  • Novapdf
  • Dochub
  • Soda PDF
  • SmallPDF
Frequently Asked Questions

Since we have looked at all the best PDF editors for Windows / Mac as well as browser-based platforms, now time for the frequently asked questions.

How can I edit a PDF for free?

Simply choose the solution listed above as per your needs and start PDF editing without any hassle. We recommend you to start with

Are there any good free PDF editors?

Of course, you can try online PDF editors such as SmallPDF, for simple tasks or download the desktop version PDF editors such as PDFelement Pro, Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, Nitro Pro, PDF Architect, PDFescape, AbleWord comes with a free plan.

What is the best PDF Editor for Windows 10?

Professionals are known for a variety of software such as Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, PDFelement Pro, Nitro Pro, PDFescape, and PDF Architect.

Why is editing PDFs so hard?

PDF files were not meant to be editable whereas there exist solutions that allow a user to edit PDF. Some of the hallmarks are Adobe Acrobat DC Pro & PDFelement Pro.

Is there a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat?

PDFelement Pro is considered a great alternative to Adobe Acrobat DC Pro whereas you can also use online browser-based options such as,

Final Words

With a lot of PDF editors available in the market, it becomes hard to find the right one. Fortunately, the list we have curated surely helps you find an all-in-one solution for anyone looking for a good PDF editing program. Whether you are just starting or an advanced user, the editors that we have chosen will get the job done.


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