PDF format took off the moment they were launched back in the early 90s. PDF files are portable, easy to share, fun to read, and difficult to edit. What’s not there to like? Businesses, both big and small favor PDF over other formats because they don’t like others tampering with their documents.
Whether it is guidelines or work ethics or an internal document showcasing new product features, it is important to maintain the integrity of the file being shared. This is good but also bad at the same time. Because PDF files are difficult to edit, there are a number of PDF editors available in the market with more plans than users need them.
A few months ago, we discussed the best free and open source PDF Editors for Windows and Mac, however, just like any freeware, you don’t get all the features. So, here are some of the best PDF editors your money can buy.
Best PDF Editors (Paid)
1. Adobe Acrobat DC Pro
Adobe developed a free tool to read PDF files called Adobe Reader which has become an industry standard now. The paid version of Adobe Reader called Adobe Acrobat DC Pro can also edit PDF files flawlessly, however, is expensive with plans beginning at $12.99/month.
Adobe created PDF format and as such owned the rights until 2008 when it was converted to open format. Now, anyone can create, edit, and sign PDF files which is why you see so many PDF editors vying for users’ attention.
- Edit anywhere with browser support
- Also, convert and edit scanned docs
- Sign and comment on PDF files
- Convert PDF to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Uses AI to fix typos, adjust lines and paragraphs on the fly
- Expensive and more suitable for companies
- You can’t edit PDF files on Android and iOS devices, only iPad is supported
- The standard plan doesn’t support Mac
Get Adobe Acrobat (Windows | macOS | iPad)
2. Nitro Pro
Nitro is often said to be the biggest Adobe Acrobat DC Pro competitor and one of it’s most common alternative. Nitro Pro offers more or less all of the same features as Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. It allows you to edit PDF files, annotate them, sign them or get them signed, and even convert them to Microsoft Office supported Excel and PowerPoint format.
Nitro Cloud will allow you to share PDF files easily and securely with peers using any one of your favorite cloud storage service providers like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive among others. You can create, edit, share and sign documents in the cloud using Nitro Cloud which is a separate product. You get 1 year of Nitro Cloud free with Nitro Pro.
Pricing of Nitro Cloud is not disclosed on the site. In fact, pricing for business and enterprise solutions are on request basis only. Both are subscription plans and meant for business users and companies. Nitro Pro supports OCR feature and while it is very good, it is not as good as Adobe’s.
- One-time payment of $159 for single users
- Create, edit, convert PDF files
- Sign PDF files
- Share and Collaborate on PDF
- Nitro Cloud is a subscription plan
- No mobile apps available
- No support for MacOS
- Less file format supported than Adobe
Get Nitro Pro (Windows only)
3. PDF Architect
PDF Architect offers something unique that no other PDF editor has on the table. Each aspect of PDF Architect can be bought as a separate module which means you only pay for features that you want. This is important for users who are on a tight budget.
Like any other PDF editor, you can create, edit, share, sign and annotate PDF files. Like the above two PDF editors, PDF Architect uses a ribbon-style interface but even that can be customized with tools that you use the most. To do that, you will have to create a new tab.
When it comes to formatting support, PDF Architect can create PDF files from over 300 file formats and convert back to popular formats like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and HTML. You get security, signature, and forms for $69 and OCR capabilities for $89. For $49, you get editing features.
There is also a perpetual licensing option available where you can buy PDF Architect for a one-time fee. Pricing begins at $69.
- Pricing is very competitive
- Pricing is very flexible
- Supports many file formats
- Batch conversion
- No mobile apps
- Only Windows supported
Get PDF Architect (Windows only)
4. Foxit Phantom PDF Editor
Foxit is another popular name in the PDF editor game. Like it’s counterpart, Adobe, you can use the Phantom PDF Editor to create, edit, share, and sign files.
Foxit Phantom PDF Editor integrates with Evernote allowing you to send PDF files to the popular note-taking app. Many people use it as a filing cabinet. Like Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, you can sign multiple PDF files in batch. Good for companies with employees, for example.
There are two plans to choose from. The standard plan that will cost $7.99/month or $129 one-time that comes with everything except ConnectedPDF which simply means cloud support for sharing and collaborating on PDF files. For that, you will need the Business plan that will cost either $8.99/month or $159 one-time. There is a separate plan for Mac users that costs $99.99.
There is also support for all popular office file formats, OCR for image-to-pdf, and ability to sign multiple PDF files at once. Foxit also integrates with DocuSign which is a popular solution for signing various docs. Adobe insists on using its own tech.
- Cheaper than Adobe
- Flexible pricing
- Support Mac
- Mobile apps for Android, iOS
- Not the cheapest on the list
- Side-by-side comparison not available
Get Phantom PDF Editor (Windows | macOS | Android | iOS)
5. iSkysoft PDF Editor
iSkysoft PDF Editor comes in two flavors: Standard and Pro. The Standard one will cost you $59.99 and allow you to create and edit PDF files but will only support Word format when it comes to conversion. Pro version, at $89.95, support all other popular MS Office formats.
There is support for PDF forms but the pro version will also allow extracting data from forms. Then there is support for batch processing, OCR and scanning, and redacting lines which are available in both the versions.
Additionally, the pro version also password protection and the ability to add watermark in batch. I believe that password security is a basic feature and should also be made available in the Standard version.
Plus, there is a Business version which offers cloud collaboration, ability to sign PDFs, and advanced OCR.
- No subscription
- Cheaper plans
- Supports both Windows and Mac
- Add bates numbering
- No mobile apps
- Signature only available in the business plan
Get iSkysoft PDF Editor (Windows | macOS)
6. PDF Complete
PDF Complete may not be as powerful as Adobe Acrobat DC Pro but for a PDF editor that starts at $59, it is pretty powerful and takes care of all your basic PDF editing needs. You can create, edit, and convert PDF files to and from Microsoft XPS format and Open Office. PDF Complete also allows you to securely sign your docs. It allows you to scan images using OCR and convert it to PDF. Pretty neat for $59.
- Useful for small companies/individuals
- No mobile apps
- No support for Mac
- No cloud collaboration or sharing options
Get PDF Complete (Windows only)
7. Quoppa PDF Studio
Quoppa is a relatively unknown name in the PDF editor market. It comes in two flavors: Standard that will cost you $89 and Pro that will cost you $129. The Standard version packs enough features like creating and editing PDFs, scanning and creating from image files, adding watermarks, and filling in forms.
The Pro version adds OCR, PDF comparison, ability to sign PDF docs, redacting tools, and batch processing. Quoppa not only supports Windows but also Linux and macOS.
- Cross-platform support
- Low cost
- No mobile apps
Get Quoppa PDF Studio (Windows | macOS)
8. Nuanced Power PDF
Nuance Power PDF editor is another PDF editor that takes the affordable pricing formula to beat Adobe at its own game. Nuance Power PDF will let you convert PDF from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, fill forms and share these files with your peers. It has the same ribbon style interface that was popularized by Adobe and adopted by so many others after it. Finally, you can scan and create PDF files from scratch. This is where the Standard version ends, and for $129, it’s not bad.
The advanced version, priced at $179, includes DocuSign integration for signing documents, collaboration and sharing so you can work on the same document as your peers, and security features. You also get redaction and bates stamping in the Advanced plan. They also have a volume licensing plan in place. There is cloud support for third-party providers like Dropbox, Google Drive etc.
- One-time plans
- Cloud support
- Document sign
- Supports Mac and Windows
- No mobile apps
- Online collaboration doesn’t work remotely
Get Nuanced Power PDF (Windows | macOS)
9. PDF Element
Last on the list but definitely not the last. In fact, PDF Element is one of the best and the finest PDF editors on the list. For a one-time fee of $99, you get a simple and easy to use interface that allows you to create, edit, and convert PDF forms and fill in forms. You can also sign PDF files in bulk. There is a scanning feature with OCR to create PDF from scanned images. It supports batch processing and digital signature.
You can also invite users to collaborate on documents and batch submit them in a single go. In terms of features, platform support, and simplicity, PDF Element comes the closest to Adobe Acrobat DC Pro in my opinion.
- Mobile apps for Android and iOS
- Windows and MacOS
- Can’t find any
Get PDF Element (Windows | macOS)
Wrapping Up: Paid PDF Editors
While Adobe continues to be an industry leader when it comes to PDF editors, there are plenty of options in the market that will get the job done offering similar features for a price that is much more affordable. However, if you are a large company or looking for an enterprise solution, I would suggest you go ahead with Adobe because it was built to scale and supports CRM tools like Salesforce.