PDF Editing

PDF Editing

I am looking for a PDF editing tool that is not just for viewing, but for making changes to the content within PDFs, for free, without watermarks and if possible - without limits.

No Watermark Apps

Online Tools

My Pick: Sejda PDF

Sejda PDF is an online tool without any watermarks! It’s amazing! The only limit is that it allows 3 tasks per hour and files up to 50MB. It also has a desktop version using Electron which can be installed with scoop install sejda-pdf. The limits of the free version can be seen on this page.

PDF Bob is an online tool without any watermarks and it has all the necessary options, except one: it can add content, but cannot modify existing text.

Smallpdf.com is similar to PDF Bob as it also does not have any watermarks, but it won’t let you modify existing text.

PDF Buddy is another online tool with all features available for free, except for document merging, which has a separate tool that is also free. The only limit is 3 PDFs per month, which is really quite restrictive.

Desktop Tools

My Pick: none

LibreOffice Draw can open and edit PDFs normally, but when you save the file, it slightly changes the formatting, such as the fonts. The option for PDF is “export” instead of “save”, which says a lot. Nonetheless, it is not a bad solution.

OnlyOffice is an excellent open-source office and productivity suite from Russia with a top-notch appearance. Its repository can be found on GitHub. It can convert PDFs to documents and export documents to PDF, but it cannot directly edit PDFs. However, similar to LibreOffice, it completely ruins the formatting in those conversions, even more than LibreOffice. It has some intriguing options, such as the ability to convert docs to Markdown, but that alone is not sufficient enough to keep it on the computer in the long term. Additionally, it seems to be noticeably slower than LibreOffice or WPS.

PDFedit is a desktop tool, and its repository is genuine open-source, but the latest version is from 2014, and I have tried it, and it is quite buggy, making it hard to accomplish anything with it.

Tools with Watermarking

My Pick: PDF-XChange

PDF-XChange Editor is okay, but it adds a watermark, and it can be installed with scoop install pdf-xchange-editor. It’s a super-complete solution with a somewhat strange user interface. The latest version info can be found on the changelog page.

PDF Architect has a free version that can only manipulate pages and nothing else. Everything else is in the pro version.

WPS Office PDF is a desktop tool that looks perfect, but it is the only one in the entire package that requires payment. Unbelievable!

EaseUS PDF Editor

PDFliner is an online tool that offers a short trial period before requiring a subscription.

Foxit PDF Editor is a desktop tool that offers a free trial. It can be installed using scoop install foxit-pdf-reader. It has an excellent interface.

Master PDF Editor is a desktop tool that only has a demo version available.

WinZip PDF Pro is a desktop tool that is free to use as a reader only. To access additional features, you need to subscribe to the pro version.

SpeedPDF is a desktop tool that uses Electron and is not free.

PDFelement is a classic PDF editor that includes ads and watermarks.

IceCream PDF is a desktop tool that includes a watermark.

Nitro does not offer any free options.

Manipulating Pages, Signing, and Other Non-Editing Tasks

My Pick: PDF Arranger is amazing option

pdf document handler, pdf manipulation, pdf transformation tool

pdfarranger/pdfarranger is a small open-source Python program that functions as a frontend for pikepdf/pikepdf, a fork of the former PDF-Shuffler. It works excellently and can be installed using scoop install pdfarranger.

Bullzip PDF Studio is a free and reliable viewer with similar options to SumatraPDF, and it also can print PDF directly from the command line, for example.

PDFCool Studio doesn’t offer anything for free.

PDF24 Creator is a desktop tool that is completely free to use and offers manipulation features but no editing options. It includes OCR and a reader, among other features, but its interface looks somewhat outdated.

PDF Mixer is a desktop tool for PDF manipulation, but includes a watermark.

CutePDF Online Editor is a well-known online tool for PDF editing.

EvotecIT/PSWritePDF is a collection of PowerShell scripts that can be used to manipulate PDFs. It is CLI-only, which might make it less user-friendly, but it’s a great proof of concept.

coherentgraphics/cpdf-binaries offers professional-grade command-line tool binaries.

DocDocGoose is an open-source online tool for manipulating pages, but does not allow editing.

YeahlowflickerProduction/SourcePDF is an open-source desktop tool for PDF transformation, but it has been deprecated since 2020.

PDFsam Basic is truly open-source and available on the torakiki/pdfsam repository, but only allows page manipulation. A more powerful, non-free version is also available for editing.

PDF to PDF is a free and relatively modern tool.

Poppler is a set of tools for working with PDF files, packaged for Windows by oschwartz10612/poppler-windows, and can be set up with scoop install poppler. It contains useful tools that are well explained here: poppler-utils.

PDF Annotators

My Pick: Microsoft Edge browser

Microsoft Edge has a properly fantastic annotation feature. Firefox has a basic annotation feature for drawing freehand and adding text, but does not include highlighting. Chrome does not have anything.

Rnote is a Rust-based tool with an active repository at flxzt/rnote, but it is not yet available on Scoop, as it is not yet compatible with Windows.

Foxit PDF Reader also has an annotation feature, and is available on Scoop, but is surprisingly large at 300MB for some reason, probably Electron.

Xournal++ is a highly versatile tool, available on Scoop, and is being rapidly developed, as evidenced by its repository at xournalpp/xournalpp.

Okular is a truly open-source viewer and annotator, quite fast, and can be installed using Scoop.

UPDF is not available in package managers, and is a huge download because it is an Electron app. Although it performs well, it has a problem in that it only saves with a watermark in the free version. So forget about it.

SwifDoo PDF Annotator has not been tested.

PDF Assistant appears to be more geared toward touchscreens, which is understandable, and can be installed with winget install --id 9N5DHC24Q8DX. It is annoyingly riddled with ads and is simply not suitable for desktop use.

Lean PDF Readers

My Pick: Sumatra PDF as it is amazing!

Sumatra PDF, available at sumatrapdfreader/sumatrapdf, is undoubtedly the best.

makuke1234/PdfiumView is very fast and light-weight, but very barebone. It’s not available on scoop.

MuPDF is also fast and bare-bone but it is available on scoop with scoop install mupdf.

Miscellaneous Tools

PDF Text Deleter is a free desktop tool that can delete specified text serially across multiple PDF documents. It is interesting that it supports protected PDFs, which is great.

Dangerzone is used to sanitize any PDF and make it safe. Since it is open-source, its repository is available at freedomofpress/dangerzone. It works for other documents as well, such as Word and others.

serhack/pdf-diff is a tool for visualizing differences between two PDF files.

vslavik/diff-pdf is also a simple GUI tool for visually comparing two PDF files, but this one is installed with scoop install diff-pdf.


READ: Compare of the Best PDF Software | UPDF Acrobat alternatives – PDF Expert vs. PDF Studio : macapps

WPS Office PDF is free. UPDF Pro is $56 lifetime for cross-platform. PDF Studio Pro is $70 and also cross-platform.

Polaris Office for Mac or for Windows is $80 lifetime, per platform.

LibreOffice is interpreting the PDF document as a Draw file while you work on it. That can lead to issues, like objects and text boxes placed in the wrong area.

PDF Reader Pro

Nitro PDF is $179 per platform lifetime, and on Mac there is Essentials version for $129 that can edit but not OCR.

FreeOffice is cross-platform and free, od nemačke firme, i radi direktno sa najnovijim Microsoft formatima.

OnlyOffice je cross-platform i free, ali mislim da je pomalo bloated.

Frooodle/Stirling-PDF: locally hosted web application that allows you to perform various operations on PDF files

PDF Expert is a very slick product. It is VERY fast — much faster than PDF Studio for just about everything, i sasvim dobra krekovana verzija nalazi na appstorrent.ru kao i mnogi drugi resursi.

date 17. Feb 2023 | modified 29. Dec 2023
filename: Research » PDF Editing