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Group test: what's the best PDF editor? Acrobat Pro vs Nuance vs Foxit vs Nitro

The best PDF editor you can install

Adobe may have invented the PDF format, but is its own Acrobat Pro software still the best? For many people, the cost is simply too high, and cheaper software offers much better value - especially if you don't need all of Acrobat's features. Here, we round up the best PDF editing software.

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6. Nitro Pro 8

A good value in a basic PDF application, Nitro Pro will suffice for an array of ordinary PDF tasks.

5. PDF-XChange Pro 2012

If you don't want the hassle of multiple programs, or if your employer expects you to use Microsoft Office, PDF-XChange Pro 2012 is a great alternative to Adobe Acrobat X Pro.

4. Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8

The features in Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8 are all useful to anybody working regularly with PDF files. Direct editing speeds up final tweaks to documents, although you wouldn’t want to create from scratch, using it. Voice-powered notes also improve productivity, but full speech editing would be handier. All in all, this application is better value in lots of ways than Acrobat Pro.

3. Foxit PhantomPDF 6

PhantomPDF offers a lot of features at a great price, but you'll need that 30-day free trial to make sure it does exactly what you need.

2. Adobe Acrobat Pro XI

Users who have shelled out for CS6 may feel shortchanged and MS Office integration is balanced in favour of Windows, but Acrobat XI offers a substantial boost to productivity for managing PDFs. Standout features are the streamlined digital signing, export as PowerPoint, the Photoshop-style automation of Guided Actions, and Edit Text & Images, which banishes ‘static’ PDFs forever.

1. Nuance Power PDF Advanced

In many ways, Power PDF Advanced matches Acrobat Pro feature-for-feature, while offering useful extras like a more flexible search and a more familiar business interface. When you add in the fact that it's over £50 cheaper than Adobe's offering, it has to be a contender for anybody seeking a PDF tool primarily for archival and group work. The £80 light versions, Power PDF Standard, doesn't support Open Text, SharePoint and some document management systems (DMS).

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