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 also: How 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.
Nuance Power PDF 2
- 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 full Power PDF 2 review.
Foxit PhantomPDF Business 7
- 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 (mainly because it borrows heavily from Microsoft Office) and Foxit provides no shortage of tutorial videos and easy access to support options to get you up to speed in record time.
Plus, if you only need very basic editing options such as annotation, highlighting and signing PDFs, then Foxit Reader is totally free.
Read our full Foxit PhantomPDF review
Nitro Pro 10
- RRP: £133.99 inc VAT
This is a fully featured PDF editor that's very easy to use and represents good value for money. Like other editors, it provides facilities for PDF creation and editing, form creation, digital signatures and ID certification, commenting, plus optical character recognition (OCR) so that scanned paper documents can be turned into PDFs that are truly editable.
Aside from performance improvements, version 10 now the much-requested integration with Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. There's also a new facility to request and receive electronic signatures and online collaboration tools to share documents and provide feedback with online mark-up and commenting tools. It's one of the best PDF editors around.
Read our Nitro Pro review here.
Adobe Acrobat DC
- RRP: £11.42 inc VAT per month
Adobe invented the PDF, and so you'd be right to expect that it has the best - or at least very good - PDF editing software. These days, of course, Adobe wants you to pay a subscription to access the latest version of Acrobat Pro. The DC stands for Document Cloud, and hints at the fact that you can store your PDFs in the cloud and collaborate on them with others.
If you don't need many editing features, you can just use Acrobat DC, which is the standard version. However, while this works out at £11.42 per month ($15), the Pro version is hardly any more expensive at £13.33 per month. You can find out more at Adobe's website
However, 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.
- 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.
Here's our full AbleWord review.
Tracker PDF XChange Pro
- 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 full PDF XChange Pro review