The 12 Best PDF Editors for Windows: Free and Free Trial Options

Summary :

Learn about the best free PDF editor online tools and offline software. Free and free-trial options are both included for you to choose the fitting one. 

Table of Contents

PDF Editor for Windows

PDF Editor for Windows

The document format PDF is ubiquitous, yet the edibility of PDF is one major defect.

Luckily, the editing of PDFs has been made easier by a variety of PDF editing tools and software, and this post is there to help our readers find the best of them.

🏆Winner of the Week🎉

PDFgear is the best PDF editor for Windows 11&10 overall. It’s completely free and without restrictions.

In this list, online tools and desktop software are respectively introduced. Different introduced PDF editors have different pricing models: most are paid products with free trials, and one of them is surprisingly 100% free.

The Best PDF Editor Software for Windows: Compared

PDF Editor Software Premium Pricing Best for Key Features
PDFgear TOTALLY FREE Cost-effective PDF editing features Direct PDF text editingFree OCR for PDF documents; Batch processingElectronically sign PDF; No sign-up, no watermark, no limit
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Starting at $14.99/month Professional-level PDF editing Add logos to brand agreements; Redact sensitive informationCreate web forms using existing documents
Foxit PhantomPDF $79 yearly license Creating standard PDF documents for sharing Compare PDF documents with highlights; Flexible text and object editing; Position objects with the help of rulers and grids
Nitro Pro $179.99 perpetual license  Requesting and tracking signatures Integration with Office, SharePoint, and cloud storage; Insert and edit links, headers, and numbering; Add dynamic stamp annotations
ABBYY FineReader PDF Starting at $99/year Accurate OCR for scanned PDF documents Turn scanned documents into editable PDFsCompare documents in different formats; Collaborate and approve PDFs

5 Best PDF Editor Software on Windows

Below are the top PDF editor desktop software running on Windows. All of them have free editions or free trials and are well-compatible with Windows 10 and 11 computers, some also work on older systems like Windows 7 and 8.

#1. PDFgear Desktop – Best Free Alternative to Adobe

The fact that you’re looking for a free PDF editor for Windows, says that you’ll need the most cost-effective option, and PDFgear PDF Editor Desktop is just about right.

With it, you can facilely edit the text in unselectable PDFs using OCR, annotate PDFs, sign PDFs, insert images and shapes into PDFs, highlight PDFs, and more.

PDFgear allows you to change or replace text in PDF, and also copy text from PDF without line breaks or text gibberish issues.

Additionally, the most impressive feature of PDFgear is it is TOTALLY FREE to use which makes it the best free alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Now with its brand new Chat PDF feature, you can easily read PDFs with ChatGPT, summarize PDFs into sentences, and make edits to the key information. Moreover, the new PDFgear mobile app helps easily edit PDFs on iPhone.

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDFgear Desktop

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDFgear Desktop

Pricing: Totally free to use, No sign-up requirement, and limitation, no watermark

Free trial: Completely free to use without restrictions.

Download PDFgear for free >


  • Extract text from PDF and images with or without OCR
  • User-friendly PDF reader and editor screen
  • Create and add legal and secured electronic signatures to important PDF documents
  • Extensive PDF converting, compressing, and organizing features other than editing
  • Convert Word to PDF without changing font


#2. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC – Quite a Professional

If we’re talking about the most professional PDF editor tool for your business, then Adobe Acrobat is something you should never overlook.

Developed by the creator of PDF, Adobe, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a paid and market-leading PDF reader/editor application for computers.

What you can get from the purchase is pro-level document editing features such as comparing files, changing highlight color, requesting signatures, flexible PDF combining, etc. Yet the pricing model of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC can be daunting, as you can see below.

Free PDF Editor for Windows Acrobat Pro DC

Free PDF Editor for Windows Acrobat Pro DC

Pricing: A free trial of 7 days and then a $14.99/mo annually or $24.99/mo monthly subscription.

Free trial: 7 days

Visit the Adobe Acrobat Software Official Website


  • The industry-leading PDF editing software
  • Professional-level PDF annotating and markup features
  • Full details in editing features provided


  • Expensive pricing model
  • Too complicated for basic PDF editing needs

#3. Foxit PhantomPDF – An Affordable PDF Management Suite

Foxit PhantomPDF is an affordable PDF management suite designed for businesses. During our testing process, there are certain editing features that we find rather impressive.

With Foxit PhantomPDF, you get to compare PDF documents with highlights for quick view changes and make edits, and fast extract pages from PDF using Foxit in a few clicks.

Users get full control over the edited PDF documents with dozens of feature buttons easily accessible from the toolbar.

Free PDF Editor for Windows Foxit PhantomPDF

Free PDF Editor for Windows Foxit PhantomPDF

Pricing: 14-day free and trial $79.00 yearly plan

Free trial: 14 days

Visit the Foxit Phantom PDF Editor Official Website


  • A very responsive piece of PDF editor software
  • Efficient workflow once you get the hang of it
  • Comfortable using experiences like Microsoft Office suites


  • Expensive pricing for extensive electronic signature
  • Slow response time on certain
  • Additional payment is required for more advanced features

#4. Nitro Pro – Flexible and productive PDF Tool

Nitro Pro is something that helps you work fast, with improved productivity and flexibility. After trying its unique features such as digital workflow, progress tracking, and mobile signatures, you’ll totally get my point.

Additionally, the Nitro Productivity Platform also brings handy utilities to the professional level, offering solutions tailored for industries including real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, etc.

Free PDF Editor for Windows Nitro Pro

Free PDF Editor for Windows Nitro Pro

Pricing: 17-day free trial and $9.991 User/Month subscription

Free trial: 14 days

Go to Nitro PDF Editor’s Official Website


  • Allows for integration with cloud storage like Google Drive
  • A free trial that doesn’t require credit card details available
  • A Nitro mobile version for iPhone, iPad, or Macbook


  • Occasionally err when extracting text from images using OCR
  • A complicated user interface that is not so beginner-friendly
  • Custom support rigidly for paid users only

#5. ABBYY FineReader PDF – A OCR Tool

ABBYY FineReader PDF is widely deemed as the best OCR tool on the market, and with the editing functions it offers, you get to easily make adjustments with your scanned documents which as unselectable PDFs with ease.

As a lesser-known PDF editor tool for Windows 10 and Windows 11, FineReader PDF is a PDF editor with highly-rated PDF editing functionalities that are worth more attention.

Free PDF Editor for Windows FineReader

Free PDF Editor for Windows FineReader

Pricing: 7-day free trial and subscription starts at $19 monthly

Free trial: 7 days

Visit the ABBYY FineReader PDF Software Official Website


  • Best PDF OCR for those who want to edit scanned documents
  • Easy-to-use PDF editing and OCR features
  • Straight-forward feature layouts and using logic


  • Difficult to avoid quality loss during exporting
  • License is required for a full set of features

7 Best Free Online PDF Editors for Windows

Online PDF editors are web-based applications that allow you to edit your PDF documents within a web browser application such as Chrome on your Windows computer.

#6. PDFgear Online – A Full-featured PDF Toolkit

Here in the first place, I would love to recommend the best free online PDF editor for Windows is PDFgear, a website that offers 70+ PDF-related online tools. It’s completely free to use for the moment, they don’t require logging in, and have no limitations for free users, these are our favorites and the major reasons that PDFgear prevails.

So the PDFgear online tools serve as a good alternative when you want to edit PDF without Adobe, the inbuilt printer feature is practical especially when you need to share your PDF documents in a flattened format.

The PDFgear PDF Editor tool covers many useful PDF editing features such as annotating PDFs, extracting PDF pages, merging PDFs, etc. And what’s left is waiting for you to find out.

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDFgear

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDFgear

Pricing: Completely free to use

Go to PDFgear PDF Editor Website


  • A complete set of PDF management tools for PDF editing, conversions, compressions, etc.
  • View, edit, fill out and sign PDF documents with ease
  • The PDF editor to add notes, comments, highlights, and markups to the PDF
  • It converts PDF to/from 30 image/documents formats like JPEG and Word
  • Compress PDF by up to 80% compression ratio


  • The performance is highly subject to the internet connection
  • Occasional issues when dealing with large PDF files
  • Some advanced versions are only available on the free desktop version

#7. iLovePDF – A Maximum of 2 Hours

iLovePDF or I Love PDF, is a big name in document management fields in European countries. As a reliable and popular online PDF toolkit, iLovePDF offers a selection of useful online PDF editors, converters, compressors, and more. iLovePDF has limitations of usage against free users, but the free trial is already impressive.

If needed, there are also conversion tools to change the edited PDF documents into Word or other document/image formats.

Free PDF Editor for Windows iLovePDF

Free PDF Editor for Windows iLovePDF

Pricing: Free with limited usage or premium starts at $4/month

Go to iLovePDF PDF Editor Website


  • Browse for 20+ PDF online tools from the intuitive iLovePDF home page
  • Add page numbers if your PDF documents don’t have them already
  • An iLovePDF mobile phone app is also available
  • Edit PDF documents, add signatures, and fill PDF forms easily


  • A limited number of uploaded files for free users
  • Long uploading and processing time for multiple PDF documents

#8. Smallpdf – Only 2 Files Are Free

Smallpdf is another highly-recommended online PDF editor that features a clean and concise user interface for you to easily drag and drop your PDF and start editing.

With a wide scope of feature buttons, you get to highlight, draw on, insert images into your PDFs, and do many other interesting things. While most SmallPDF tools are efficient and practical, the use times are limited to drive users to their paid plan.

Free PDF Editor for Windows Smallpdf

Free PDF Editor for Windows Smallpdf

Pricing: Free with limited usage or premium starts at $7/month.

Go to Smallpdf PDF Editor Website


  • Fast file uploading and processing speed to improve your working efficiency
  • Convert PDF to Word to edit the original text-based content
  • Redact, blackout, and write on your PDF documents


  • Limited use times of their online PDF tools for free users
  • Advanced features such as high compression and converting scanned PDF to Word are for premium users only

#9. Adobe Acrobat Online – Powerful and Constrained Tool

Adobe, the creator of the PDF document format, now has the web version of its hero product Adobe Acrobat. And just like the desktop Acrobat Pro DC, Adobe Acrobat Online functions nicely in PDF editing, splitting, trimming, and other PDF editing situations, and never returns disappointment.

Yet the drawback of Adobe Acrobat Online is also pretty obvious, free visitors to the site are quite constrained when using Adobe Acrobat Online.

Free PDF Editor for Windows Acrobat Online

Free PDF Editor for Windows Acrobat Online

Pricing: Starts at $19.99/mo with a free trial

Go to Adobe Acrobat Online PDF Editor Website


  • Compared with the other recommended online Adobe Acrobat Online is faster and more stable
  • Practically all PDF editing features you’ll need
  • Optimized user experience for common PDF editing features


  • Requires you to sign up or log in to edit and export
  • Expensive pricing model as an online PDF editor
  • Excessive features bring about lagging issues on low-end devices

#10. PDF Candy – Wise Choice for Low Budget

PDF Candy is another powerful online PDF editor that offers practical editing features for PDF forms and PDF documents from a simple yet feature-rich user interface, offering a list of editing features in the sidebar.

Other than the useful PDF editor, you can also scroll down a bit and browse for 46+ more online tools offered by PDF Candy. There are some features you can’t easily find in other online PDF tools such as unlocking pdf, protecting PDF, adding header and footer, etc.

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDF Candy

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDF Candy

Pricing: $6 per month

Go to PDF Candy PDF Editor Website


  • A web extension version of PDF Candy is also available
  • Ideal for advanced users who are on a low budget
  • Clean and intuitive user interface


  • Limited choices for text font and colors
  • Tasks will be queued for unsubscribed user

#11. Sejda – Full-featured Editing Tool

To help with your PDF tasks says Sejda, and that is precisely what Sejda is for. Offering a simple but not-so-simple PDF editor tool beta, Sejda allows you to do many things with your PDF documents, including adding text, links, forms, images, signatures, whiteouts, annotations, shapes, etc.

Dozens of text font formats are offered for you to add customizable text to your PDF, and you can use repositioning, resizing, and adjustments to make it more visually pleasing.

Free PDF Editor for Window Sejda

Free PDF Editor for Window Sejda

Pricing: Free trial or premium starts at $7.50/month.

Go to Sejda PDF Editor Website


  • Allows for uploading files from Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, and URL
  • Ample font options for editing text in the PDF document
  • Easy-to-use PDF editor software


  • We’ve encountered several issues during the uploading process
  • Daily usage limitation for free users
  • Relatively fewer PDF editing features

#12. airSlate PDF Editing System – Business Owners Try

As the one and only automation platform providing no-code workflow for your PDF document editing, airSlate is extremely ideal for business owners and the self-employed with little coding experience.

The airSlate PDF editing system helps you create fillable PDF documents and web forms for data entry. You can also edit the text-based original content in important contracts and agreements, which includes highlighting text, eSigning, sharing via QR codes and SMS, sending for signing, etc.

Free PDF Editor for Windows airSlate

Free PDF Editor for Windows airSlate

Pricing: 30-day free trial, and the basic plan at $30.

Visit the airSlate PDF Editing System Official Website


  • An API available for business owners
  • The one and only PDF automation option in this post
  • airSlate is a platform with constantly added features
  • Brings automation to your documentation workflows


  • Excessive features for users with simple PDF editing needs
  • The steep learning curve for the training process
  • The offline features are quite limited

How We Picked the Best Free PDF Editors

How do we test the PDF editors, and are the PDF editors reviewed?

In different educational and business scenarios, the editing needs for PDF documents vary. Some common choices are highlighting text, editing text and images, adding comments, adding notes, drawing markup, adding/deleting/rearranging pages, inserting and copying links, annotating PDF documents, etc. The support for popular PDF editing features is one vital criterion used to measure a better PDF editor.

And more importantly, the nature of being free to use is another merit we all care about. Instead of having to fork out without a clue, it’s better if the PDF editor is free to use, or if we can start with a free trial.

Moreover, our editorial team has tested over 50 free PDF editors that run on the Windows operating system, and we will only bring safe, trusted, and virus-free options to our readers.


If you still have some problems with the best PDF editors for Windows, we covered you here. You can get the answers from this frequently asked questions part.

What is the best free PDF editor for Windows 10?

Some of the best free PDF editors for Windows 10 and Windows 11 are PDFgear Desktop, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, Foxit PhantomPDF, PDFfiller, Nitro PDF Pro, FineReader PDF, etc. And you can find more options from our post of the 12 best free PDF editors for Windows!

Does Windows 10 have a built-in PDF editor?

No, Windows 10 and Windows 11 don’t have any inbuilt PDF editor applications, like Preview for macOS. However, if you intend to read and view PDF documents, the built-in web browser application Microsoft Edge can help you do that.

How can I edit a PDF on Windows for free?

Yes, with the right free PDF editor tool, you’ll be able to create and edit PDF documents on Windows for free. The easier approach is using a free online PDF editor such as PDFgear Online PDF Editor for basic editing features. If you intend to take PDF editing to a higher level, you can also try the free PDF editor software PDFgear Desktop.

Does Windows 10 have a PDF editor?

For users running a Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer, you do have an easily accessible PDF editor tool called PDFgear. All you need to do is to go to the website using a web browser application (like Chrome) on your Windows computer, and you can make and edit PDF documents within the web browser, using PDFgear.

How do I edit a PDF in Windows?

There are two most-used ways for experienced users to edit a PDF document on Windows 10 or Windows 11 computers. One is using an online PDF editor tool like, to edit PDF in a web browser; and another is using a piece of desktop PDF editor software like Adobe Acrobat, after the installation of which.

Is there a free PDF editor for PC?

Yes, there are many free PDF editors for PC, and the most popular and best-received ones include PDFgear, Smallpdf, iLovePDF, Sejda, and Soda PDF. For more recommended options, please check out the 12 best PDF editors for Windows on this page.

The Conclusion

With these many given options, I believe you will eventually find the best PDF editor for your Windows computer, and for yourself, no matter if you’re working with local documents, or collaborating using web files.

And if your working condition contains them both, then getting a premium membership from a PDF solutions provider with both online and offline tools, such as PDFgear, is a good way to keep your work on both sides organized. You’ll only need one PDF editor tool after all!

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