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

Last updated on November 17, 2022

Summary :

This page covers the 12 best free PDF editors that work online or offline. Completely free programs and products with free trials are both included.

Pick the Best Free PDF Editors for Windows

Best Free PDF Editor for Windows

Best Free PDF Editor for Windows

The ubiquity of PDF documents stands to reason, the readability, portability, and edibility of PDF documents are favored by professional documentation, which explains why PDF has outstripped JPEG and become the third most popular file format over the internet, right behind HTML and XHTML.

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

For different user preferences, the options that work as an online tool or desktop software are respectively introduced. Additionally, different introduced PDF editors have different pricing models: some of them are completely free, and others are paid tools with free trials.

From the 12 best free PDF editors for Windows 10/11 as well as old systems like Windows 7 and 8, I believe you can find the one that best fits your budget.

Also Read: The 10 Best Online DOCX to PDF Converters [Free and Paid]

How Do We Pick 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, and some of the common choices are highlighting text, editing text, adding comments, adding notes, drawing markup, rearranging pages, 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 Windows operating system, and we will only bring safe, trusted, and virus-free options to our readers.

5 Best PDF Editor Software on Windows

Below are the top PDF editor desktop software running on Windows operating system. Most of them have free editions or free trials and are well-compatible with Windows 10 and 11 computers, as well as old systems like Windows 7 and 8.

The Best Free PDF Editor Software for Windows: Compared

PDF Editor Software Free Trial Premium Pricing Key Features Best for Overall Rating
PDFgear Desktop Unlimited (Download link Less than $1.7/Month (See pricing)
  • Fill out PDF forms
  • Free OCR for PDF documents
  • Electronically sign PDF
  • No Sign-Up Requirement (Free edition)
  • No Watermark Limit (Free edition)
Cost-effective PDF editing features ★★★★★
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 7 days Starting at $14.99/month
  • Add logos to brand agreements
  • Redact sensitive information
  • Create web forms using existing documents
Professional-level PDF editing ★★★★☆
Foxit PhantomPDF 14 days $79 yearly license
  • Compare PDF documents with highlights
  • Flexible text and object editing
  • Position objects with help of rulers and grids
Creating standard PDF documents for sharing ★★★★☆
Nitro Pro 14 days $179.99 perpetual license 
  • Integration with Office, SharePoint, and cloud storage
  • Insert and edit links, headers, and numbering
  • Add dynamic stamp annotations
Requesting and tracking signatures ★★★★☆
ABBYY FineReader PDF 7 days Starting at $99/year
  • Turn scanned documents into editable PDF 
  • Comparing documents in different formats
  • Collaborate and approve PDFs
Accurate OCR for scanned PDF documents ★★★☆☆

#1. PDFgear Desktop – Best Alternative of Adobe

The fact that you’re looking for a free PDF editor for Windows, says that you’ll need a 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 or inset markup to PDF, add electronic signatures to PDF, and more.

By upgrading to the premium version, you shall reach the same working productivity as you could with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDFgear Desktop

Free PDF Editor for Windows PDFgear Desktop

Pricing: Feature limited free trial with no sign-up requirement and no watermark limit. Or $19.99 annual plan and $49.99 for a perpetual license. (Less than $1.7/mo, see the pricing >)

Download PDFgear for free >

Pros

  • 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
  • Add or remove watermarks from PDF
  • No watermark limit (free edition)
  • No Sign-Up requirement (free edition)

Cons

  • Need to upgrade to the premium version for the image-to-text OCR feature
  • Requires the software installation process to use PDFgear Desktop

#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 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, 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.

Visit the Adobe Acrobat Software Official Website

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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

Visit the Foxit Phantom PDF Editor Official Website

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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

Go to Nitro PDF Editor’s Official Website

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Visit the ABBYY FineReader PDF Software Official Website

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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 – 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.

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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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 documents/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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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

Pros

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

Cons

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

#11. Sedja – Full-featured Editing Tool

To help with your PDF tasks says Sedja, and that is exactly what Sedja is for. Offering a simple but not-so-simple PDF editor tool beta, Sedja 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

 

FAQs about Free PDF Editors for Windows

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:

  1. PDFgear Desktop
  2. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
  3. Foxit PhantomPDF
  4. PDFfiller
  5. Nitro PDF Pro
  6. FineReader PDF

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.com for basic editing features. And if you intend to take PDF editing to a higher level, you can also try PDF editor software that has a free trial.

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 PDFgear.com 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 PDFgear.com, 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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