Nuance Power PDF 2 is the best PDF editor. We test and rate the best PDF editors you can get, including packages from Adobe, Foxit, Nuance, Nitro and more. Also see: How to edit PDFs for free (and AbleWord below).

PDF (Portable Document Format) is one of the most popular types of document for sharing as most devices and computers can open a PDF for the recipient to read. It doesn't matter whether you're using a laptop or a smartphone, nor which software was used to create it. 

But while some PDF reader software allows you to annotate or add comments, such as the free Foxit Reader, sometimes you need to edit the actual PDF itself. This is possible with the tools below, even if a a different program was used to make the file in the first place. See alsoHow to convert PDF to Word.

These packages here allow you to create PDFs, but also edit PDF files without the laborious process of editing the original source file in its native format and re-converting it. In addition, most of them also provide advanced features such as form creation, digital signature and ID certification, and collaborative review and commenting, that you generally don’t get with free PDF packages. We also take a look at one free package - AbleWord PDF editor -  to see just how much you can get without spending a penny.

If you don't want to install any software, you can edit up to three PDFs online using PDF Pro for free. Or you can click here to buy the best Nuance PDF-editing products.

Best PDF editor | Best free PDF editor

1. Nuance Power PDF 2

Nuance Power PDF 2
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 18 July 16
  • RRP: £79.99 inc VAT (Standard); £139.99 inc VAT (Advanced)

Overall, we found Nuance Power PDF 2 to be intuitive and easy to use, especially if you're familiar with Microsoft Office. We have little doubt that most users will be able to quickly get up and running with it. We found the reviewing features particularly comprehensive, proving means of annotating, marking text in various ways and drawing attention to parts of a document, and it's great that there's now support for touchscreens. Given that it's so much cheaper than Acrobat, it makes a lot of sense for small business use.

Read our Nuance Power PDF 2 review.

2. Nitro Pro 9

Nitro Pro 9
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 14 April 16
  • RRP: £113 inc VAT

In buying Nitro Pro 9 you have to accept that there are features missing compared to Adobe Acrobat XI Pro but we’d be surprised if these would be an issue for the majority of people. This is a fully featured PDF editor that's very easy to use and represents excellent value for money.

Read our Nitro Pro 9 review.

3. Foxit PhantomPDF Business 7

Foxit PhantomPDF Business 7
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 25 February 15
  • RRP: $129 (£83)

Foxit PhantomPDF Business 7 provides the level of functionality that the professional user has come to expect at a keen price. The user interface is modern and easy to use, and Foxit provides no shortage of tutorial videos and easy access to support options to get you up to speed in record time.

Read our Foxit PhantomPDF Business 7 review.

4. Adobe Acrobat XI Pro

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 1 July 16
  • RRP: £453 inc VAT (Upgrade from £194)

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro is a fully featured PDF editor, but unless you really need its features (or you can get it for education prices) then it's hard to justify the expense when other PDF editors do a lot of what Acrobat can do for a considerably smaller outlay.

Read our Adobe Acrobat XI Pro review.

5. AbleWord

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 8 June 16
  • RRP: Free

Although primarily a word processor, the fact that the free AbleWord can read and write PDF files means that its more than capable of acting as a PDF editor, thereby suggesting comparison with some seriously expensive competition. While the professional aspects of professional PDF editors are missing, for simply editing PDF documents, AbleWord is perfectly capable.

Read our AbleWord review.

6. Tracker PDF XChange Pro

Tracker PDF XChange Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 10 February 16
  • RRP: $79.50 (approx £52)

Costing significantly less than virtually all other business-oriented PDF editors, yet providing the functionality you’d expect, Tracker PDF XChange Pro is well worth trying out (there's a trial option on the website). The down-side is that some of the functions you’d expect to find in the main package are in separate utilities but this is only a minor inconvenience, given the price.

Read our Tracker PDF XChange Pro review.