There are some fantastic free PDF editors around, so we've rounded up the very best to make your life easier.
PDF documents are designed to look and behave exactly the same way on any device. That makes it a brilliant format for sharing, but editing them is another matter. Most office software and photo editors let you export documents in PDF format, but editing requires a dedicated tool. That's because PDF was initially a proprietary format owned by Adobe, and it still owns some of the technologies associated with it. Other companies can license those technologies, but only for a fee that's usually passed on to you – the user.
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There aren’t many free PDF editors, and even fewer that won’t leave your documents with unsightly watermarks. That's why we've hand-picked the very best free PDF editors, which offer all the tools you need and won't spoil your work with unsightly watermarks.
Edit PDF files for free with our online PDF editor! You can add text, images, and signatures, white-out and highlight content, and more.
The best free PDF editors at a glance
- Apowersoft Online PDF Editor
- PDF-XChange Editor
1. Apowersoft Online PDF Editor
Editar Un Pdf Online
A powerful free PDF editor that works right in your browser
Apowersoft Online PDF Editor is a powerful PDF editor that's free to use, and runs in any modern web browser.
Before you can use the online PDF editor, you’ll need to click ‘Launch online’ and download Apowersoft’s launcher – a browser add-on. This take a little extra time, but the effort is well worth it.
The PDF editor will open outside your current browser window. You can edit text – very unusual for a free PDF editor, and very handy.
Text won’t always flow the way you’d like it to, so you may need to spend some time tweaking alignment and text box size, but it’s very impressive for a free PDF editor. Your exported PDFs won’t be watermarked either. We're converted.
A compact but powerful PDF editor
SmallPDF is a cloud-based PDF editor, which means it can be used through any device using an internet browser.
It uses a simplified interface to make it easy to edit or add text, as well as drawings or images. Using drag and drop, you can add or remove content as required.
It also comes with a PDF to Word editor, which means if you need to make more detailed edits in a Word doc you can, and even better is that formatting should be preserved.
Uploads and edits are made securely via SSL, so you don't need to worry about third-parties accessing your PDF documents, which could be a concern if the information in them is confidential.
You can also use SmallPDF to fill in forms, esign, unlock, or protect a PDF. Files can be imported directly from online storage providers such as Google Drive and Drop Box.
Overall, SmallPDF is a compact but powerful PDF editor, that should be able to help you achieve most initial edits required, with the helpful doc conversion for more complicated edits.
While it's not free to use continuously, there is a 14-day free trial, which can be useful if you only need to get a few documents edited. After that, pricing begins from around $5 per month.
3. PDF-XChange Editor
Another superb tool for editing text in PDFs, with built-in OCR
If you need to edit the text in a PDF, PDF-XChange Editor is ideal. It lets you retype, delete, and reformat text, and adapts well if the document uses a font that isn’t installed on your PC. You can also attach comments, split PDFs, and extract pages.
One of PDF-Xchange Editor’s best features is the ability to use OCR to recognize text in scanned documents – ideal if you only have a printout rather than the original file (a handout from a lecture, for example).
Some of the features visible in the menus and toolbars are only available in the premium version of the software, PDF-XChange Editor Plus, but you can easily hover your mouse pointer over an icon to find out if it’s included.
If you go ahead and use a premium tool anyway (adding polygonal shapes or new text boxes, for example), your document will be watermarked. Look out for a warning message underneath the main toolbar before saving your work, just in case.
The paid-for downloads, PDF-XChange Editor costs $43.50 (£35) for the normal version, but for additional features such as form creation and use you will need to buy PDF-XChange Editor Plus, which costs $54.50 ($48).
An online-only free PDF editor with a great choice of tools
Free online PDF editor Sejda offers an excellent range of tools, with an added layer of security: all files are deleted from its servers after five hours.
You can add text, images and links, sign documents, add annotations, and insert ellipses and rectangles. There’s also a ‘whiteout’ option, though this simply draws a white rectangle – it doesn’t remove any data. There’s no OCR either, so you won’t be able to edit text in scanned PDFs.
When you’ve finished editing, click ‘Apply changes’ and you’ll be able to download the document, send it to Dropbox or Google Drive, delete it, or access a shareable link. The link will expire after seven days.
There are limits on the free service: every hour, you can process no more than 200 pages or 50MB data (whichever comes first) and perform no more than three tasks. That’s pretty generous, but if you need to perform more tasks, there are weekly, monthly and annual passes available.
At $5 (about £4, AU$7), a weekly pass would work out quite expensive over a long period, but is perfect if you’ll only be needing the full tool for a short time and don’t want to commit to a longer subscription.
A free online PDF editor that lets you add new text and images
There are two versions of the PDFescape PDF editor: a free web app and a premium desktop program. Here we're using the online editor; if you download the desktop software, you'll only receive a trial of the premium edition. It's suitable for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari, and will probably work fine on other Chromium-based browsers too.
PDFescape's online editor lets you create new text boxes on the page, but unless you upgrade to the full desktop software there's no way to edit existing text either, you you can create simple geometric shapes and – as with Sedja, above – add white rectangles to obscure parts of the document when it's printed.
PDFescape lets you select a picture from your PC, then drag a rectangle to insert it. You can insert text fields too, enabling you to create simple forms – a rare and welcome feature for a free PDF editor.
- Check out our guide to the best free PDF to Word converters
It's not easy to find a truly free PDF editor that lets you not only edit and add text but also change images, add your own graphics, sign your name, fill out forms, etc. Below, however, is a list of exactly what you're looking for.
Some of these are online PDF editors that work right in your web browser, so all you have to do is upload your PDF file to the website, make the changes you want, and then save it back to your computer. That's the quick way—but do bear in mind that, typically, an online editor isn't as fully featured as its desktop counterpart, plus the file is exposed to the internet (which might be of concern if it contains sensitive content).
Because not all of these free PDF editors support the same features, and some are restricted in what you can do, remember that you can process the same PDF in more than one tool. For example, use one to edit the PDF text (if that's supported), and then put the same PDF through a different editor to do something supported in that program (for example, to edit a form, update an image, or remove a page).
If you don't need to change the contents of the PDF but instead just need to change it to another file format (such as .docx for Microsoft Word or .epub for an eBook), see our list of free document converters for help. On the other hand, if you have a file you created yourself that you want to save as a PDF file, learn How to Print to PDF.
Microsoft Word: A Top Choice
If you already own Microsoft Word 2019, 2016, or 2013, then skip all the suggested programs below: you have a great PDF editor at your disposal right now. Just open the PDF as you would any Word document, give the program a few minutes to convert the PDF, and then edit away.
Sejda PDF Editor
What We Like
Lets you load PDFs from other websites
Supports adding hyperlinks
Includes a signature tool
Lets you insert blank pages into the PDF
Can remove pages from the PDF
Supports whiting out parts of the page
Can insert images and shapes into the PDF
What We Don't Like
Can be used on only three PDFs every hour
Limited to PDFs with fewer than 200 pages
Doesn't edit PDFs larger than 50 MB
Sejda PDF Editor is one of the very few PDF editors that actually lets you edit pre-existing text in the PDF without adding a watermark. Most editors only let you edit the text you add yourself, or they support text editing but then throw watermarks all over the place.
Plus, this tool can run entirely in your web browser, so it's easy to get going without having to download any programs. You can get the desktop version if you'd rather use it that way.
There are some differences between the online and desktop versions that you should know about. For example, the desktop edition supports more font types and doesn't let you add PDFs by URL or from online storage services as the online editor does (which supports Dropbox and Google Drive).
Another neat feature is the web integration tool that lets PDF publishers provide a link for their users that they can simply click to automatically open the file in this online PDF editor.
All uploaded files are automatically deleted from Sejda after two hours.
This online PDF editor works no matter which operating system you use. Sejda PDF Desktop runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
You can use both the online and desktop versions to convert a PDF to a Word doc or a Word doc to PDF. Open the Tools section in either program to find that option.
What We Like
Can edit PDF text
Supports manipulating graphics
Includes lots of image-editing tools
What We Don't Like
Melhor Editor Pdf Gratis Online
The number of graphics-editing tools can be overwhelming
Inkscape is an extremely popular free image viewer and editor, but it also includes PDF editing functions that most dedicated PDF editors support only in their paid editions.
Inkscape is a very capable image editing program. If you're not already familiar with programs like GIMP, Adobe Photoshop, and other image editors, however, it's probably a bit advanced for you.
In the context of PDF editing, though, you should consider Inkscape only if you want to delete or edit the images or text in the PDF. We suggest you use a different tool in this list to edit PDF forms or add shapes and then plug that PDF into Inkscape if you need to actually edit the preexisting text.
PDFescape Online PDF Editor
What We Like
Works online through your web browser
Includes lots of tools
Lets you add your own text and images
Can delete and add PDF pages
What We Don't Like
Can't edit existing text
Doesn't edit large PDFs
PDFescape has quite a lot of features. It's free as long as the PDF doesn't exceed 100 pages or 10 MB.
You can't truly change text or edit images using this editor, but you can add your own text, images, links, form fields, etc.
The text tool is very customizable so that you can pick your own size, font type, color, alignment, and apply effects such as bolding, underlining, and italics.
You also can draw on the PDF, add sticky notes, strikethrough text, put white space over anything you want to disappear, and insert lines, checkmarks, arrows, ovals, circles, rectangles, and comments.
PDFescape lets you delete individual pages from the PDF, rotate pages, crop out parts of a page, reorganize the order of the pages, and add more pages from other PDFs.
You can upload your own PDF file, paste the URL to an online PDF, and make your own PDF from scratch.
When finished editing, you can download the PDF to your computer without ever having to make a user account. You need one only if you want to save your progress online without downloading the PDF.
The online version of PDFescape works in all operating systems. There's also an offline PDF editor called PDFescape Desktop, but it isn't free and runs on Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows.
What We Like
Uses OCR to identify the text in the PDF
Can import a variety of shapes and images
Supports adding QR codes to the PDF
Offers a portable version
What We Don't Like
Many features require a license
Works with Windows only
PDF-XChange Editor offers some great tools, but not all of them are free to use. If you use a non-free feature, the PDF will save with a watermark on every page.
If you stick to just the free features, however, you can still do some editing to the file and save it back to your computer.
You can load PDFs from your computer, a URL, SharePoint, Google Drive, and Dropbox. You can save the edited PDF back to your computer or to any of those cloud storage services.
The PDF-XChange Editor program has lots of features, so it might seem overwhelming at first. All of the options and tools are simple to understand, however, and they're categorized into their own sections for easier management.
One nice feature is the ability to highlight all the form fields so that you can easily spot where you need to fill in. This is really helpful if you're editing a PDF with lots of forms, such as an application.
Although the free version puts watermarks on your edited documents, this program does let you edit existing text, add your own text to the PDF, and add or delete pages from the document.
You can download this program in portable mode to use on a flash drive or as a regular installer.
Many of the features are free, but some are not. If you use a feature that's not covered by the free version (you're told which features are not free when you use them), the saved PDF file will have a watermark attached to the corner of every page.
Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 users can install PDF-XChange Editor.
Smallpdf Online PDF Editor
What We Like
Is completely free
Lets you add more text to the PDF
Can put white space over areas you want to erase
Supports importing shapes
Can load and save PDFs from various sources
What We Don't Like
Doesn't let you edit existing text
Only two PDFs can be edited every hour
One of the quickest ways to add images, text, shapes, or your signature to a PDF is with Smallpdf.
This website allows you to upload a PDF, make changes to it, and then save it back to your computer all without needing to make a user account or pay for any anti-watermarking features.
You can open and/or save your PDF to your Dropbox or Google Drive account, too, in addition to your computer.
You can import three shapes into a PDF with Smallpdf: a square, circle, or arrow. You can change the object's main color and line color, as well as the thickness of its edge.
Text size can be tiny, small, normal, large, or huge, but only three font types are available. You can change the color of any text you add.
When finished editing the PDF, just hit the FINISH button and then decide where you want it saved; you can even generate a share link. You can also run the edited PDF through Smallpdf's PDF splitter tool if you want to extract the pages from the document.
If you edit two PDFs within an hour, you have to upgrade to Smallpdf Pro if you want to keep using the website. Or, you can wait an hour to edit another.
Smallpdf works with all operating systems that support a modern web browser.
FormSwift's Free PDF Editor
What We Like
Everything is free
Doesn't leave a watermark
Can erase or redact existing text and images with white or black space
Lets you insert your own images
Can add your own custom text to the PDF
Circles, checkmarks, and 'x' icons can be placed over any text
Supports highlighting anything on the page
Make exe from batch file. Easy typing, drawing, and signing
What We Don't Like
Cannot edit existing text
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No easy-to-access undo button (but you can delete what you've done)
Can upload PDFs only from your computer (not from other places such as Google Drive or Dropbox)
Must make a user account to save the PDF
FormSwift's Free PDF Editor is a very simple online PDF editor that you can start using without even making a user account.
It's as simple as uploading your PDF file to the website and using the menus at the top of the page to quickly perform some basic PDF editing functions before downloading it back to your computer.
Modificar Pdf Online Gratis
When you're done editing the PDF, you can download the file as a PDF file, print it directly to your printer, or save the PDF as a Microsoft Word .docx document.
The .pdf-to-.docx conversion didn't work for every PDF that we tried, but in those that did convert successfully, the images were formatted nicely and the text was fully editable.
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Another feature offered by FormSwift at formswift.com/snap lets you quickly edit or sign PDFs from your phone by taking a picture of a document. You can then share or download the PDF when you're done. It's not perfect: Most things done through a web app are spotty. It does work, however, with a little patience.
You can upload Word documents and images to FormSwift, too, if you need to edit those instead of a PDF.
All operating systems can use this PDF editor since it works online.
What We Like
Lets you edit the PDF's text directly
Supports adding images, links, and custom watermarks
The background of the PDF pages can be edited
Headers and footers can be included in the PDF
Supports combining several PDFs into one
PDF pages can be cropped
Can insert, extract, delete, and rotate PDF pages
Editing embedded forms is easy
Can password-protect the PDF
What We Don't Like
Descargar Editor Pdf Online Gratis
Free version places a watermark on the PDF
PDFelement Pro, just as the name sounds, is free but with a major limitation: It places a watermark on every page of the PDF. That being said, the watermark doesn't cover much of the page, and it's important to realize that it supports some truly great PDF editing features.
This program would be a truly free PDF editor if it weren't for the fact that the free edition will not save without first putting a watermark on every single page of the PDF.
Editor Archivos Pdf Online Gratis
Depending on what you'll use the PDF for, however, the features it supports might be enough for you to consider living with the watermarks.
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