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Best PDF Editors for Windows (Detailed Comparison)

PDF forms are everywhere nowadays. Here are some of the best PDF editors for Windows you should try for your next form filling.

When reading a PDF document, you can open it in almost any browser. The Edge browser even lets you ink and annotate PDF documents as much as you want.

However, you need a dedicated PDF editor if you want to create a PDF document or fill out official or work forms like tax returns.

To help you with that, here are a few best PDF editors for Windows.

Note: the PDF editors listed below work in Windows 10 and 11.

Best PDF Editor for Windows

Here is a quick list of PDF editors for Windows.

  1. Foxit PhantomPDF
  2. PDF-Xchange
  3. PDFescape
  4. PDFsam Enhanced
  5. PDFelement
  6. Xodo PDF Editor
  7. Drawboard PDF
  8. ApowerPDF
  9. Nitro PDF Editor
  10. AbleWord

1. Foxit PhantomPDF

When it comes to PDF documents, Foxit is one of the most popular software. PhantomPDF is an excellent PDF editor for Windows that comes with a ton of features. These features include but are not limited to text flow across multiple paragraphs and columns, the ability to move and manipulate text boxes, add different stamps and watermarks, reorganize pages, collaborative options, and protect and sign PDF documents.

One of the best things about PhantomPDF is that it has the best OCR capabilities. The collaborative options let multiple people work on the same document simultaneously, no matter their device.

Additionally, PhantomPDF is compatible with assistive technologies. This means that when you create or edit a PDF document using PhantomPDF, it can be used by people with disabilities via assistive technologies.

Windows pdf editor phantompdf

If you are looking for a feature-filled PDF editor for Windows and don’t mind the price tag, give it a try. After all, there is a free full-featured 14-day trial available.

Price: PhantomPDF is a paid software that costs a one-time fee of $129.

Download Foxit PhandomPDF

2. PDF-Xchange Editor

PDF-Xchange is another easy-to-use and feature-rich PDF editor for Windows. Just like PhantomPDF, PDF-Xchange has all the necessary features and more. Those features include advanced annotations, commenting support, OCR support, advanced document manipulation, read aloud, ability to move opened documents to recycle bin, convert CSV to PDF, advanced spell check with a constantly updated dictionary, etc.

The good thing about the PDF-Xchange Editor is that even with all these features, the user interface makes it relatively easy to find the option you are looking for, thanks to the Windows Ribbon style menu. Moreover, unlike other PDF editors, PDF-Xchange gives you tremendous control over editing PDF documents. Add to that, compared to PhantomPDF, PDF-Xchange is less pricey.

If you want to try the software, a free trial is available. However, some features will place a watermark on the output content.

Windows pdf editor pdf xchange

Price: PDF-Xchange Editor is a paid software that costs you a one-time fee of $43.50 for the regular edition and $54.50 for the plus edition.

Download PDF-Xchange Editor

3. PDFescape

PDFescape is a straightforward and lightweight application for editing PDF documents in Windows. Though the application is light, it has all the basic features you’d expect from a good PDF editor.

Using PDFescape, you can merge different PDF documents into one, sign and certify documents, password-protect PDF documents, edit text and images, convert to and from PDF, annotate, compress, etc.

What makes PDFescape unique is that it lets you publish PDF forms and collect the responses. Additionally, you can also upload PDF documents to the PDFescape cloud. That being said, depending on the PDFescape version you are using, there are limitations on file upload size and how many files you can store.

PDFescape also comes in the form of a web app. This makes it so that you don’t even have to install the software on Windows to use it. This feature is handy if your need is temporary or basic.

Windows pdf editor pdfescape

Price: The PDFescape online web app is free to use. You must upgrade to the pro version for advanced features and a desktop application.

Download PDFescape

4. PDFsam Enhanced

PDFsam Enhanced is a PDF editor for Windows with all the essential features you need. With PDFsam, you can do regular things like view, create, convert, edit, insert, merge, split, review, form filling, OCR, annotations, and form signing.

The best thing about PDFsam is that it follows the Microsoft Office design language. This makes it relatively easy to use, and the ribbon menu helps you find the required options as quickly as possible. Compared to other premium PDF editors, PDFsam looks clean, and there is not much learning curve.

That being said, if all you need is merging, splitting, rotating, and extracting, then you can use PDFsam Basic. PDFsam Basic is both free and open source.

Windows pdf editor pdfsam

Price: PDFsam Enhanced is a premium product that costs $39, $49, and $69 for Standard, Pro, and Pro+, respectively. Depending on what version you choose, the feature set will be different.

Download PDFsam Enhanced

5. PDFelement

PDFelement is another best Windows PDF editor that follows Microsoft Office design language to make things easier for the end-user.

Compared to other PDF editors on this list, the PDFelement’s user interface is pretty clean and snappy. No matter what you want to do, the software responds quickly. Of course, PDFelement has all the necessary and advanced features.

Those features include but are not limited to text manipulation, basic image manipulation, basic and advanced annotation, PDF conversion, extraction, merging, and other security features like password protection, document signing, comprehensive permission management, etc.

The best thing is that the essential features like text manipulation, annotation, and conversion come in the free version. So, if you are looking for a free PDF editor for Windows, give PDFelement a try.

Windows pdf editor pdfelement

Price: The base version of PDFelement is free. You need to upgrade to the Pro version for advanced features like OCR, automatic form recognition, redaction, batch processing, etc. The pro version costs either $69 or $99.

Download PDFelement

6. Xodo PDF Editor

Xodo PDF Editor is a straightforward and basic PDF editor for Windows that is aimed at people looking to edit or sign a PDF document quickly.

Compared to the above PDF editors, Xodo is not as feature-rich but has all the essential tools like text manipulation, form filling, document signing, inserting, merging, critical annotation support, etc. Additionally, the user interface is also pretty minimal and easy to use.

The best thing is that Xodo is available via the Microsoft store for free. You can even use the Xodo web app to edit PDF documents when needed.

Windows pdf editor xodo

Price: Xodo is entirely free.

Download Xodo PDF Editor

7. Drawboard PDF

Drawboard PDF is a Microsoft store app with an excellent user interface filled with features.

Unlike other apps in this Windows PDF editor list, Drawboard PDF is not only a PDF editor but can also act as a drawing board. As you can guess, Drawboard PDF is helpful software for designers, architectures, etc. Of course, being a PDF editor, Drawboard PDF has all the necessary features you’d expect.

Using the Drawboard PDF free version, you can do all the basic markup and annotation jobs. You need the pro version for advanced features like merging, re-ordering, signing, password protection, etc.

If you are looking for a PDF editor that supports Windows Inking with excellent pen support, Drawboard PDF is for you.

Windows pdf editor drawboard pdf

Price: The Drawboard PDF’s base version is free. You need to subscribe to their service monthly or yearly for advanced features.

Download Drawboard PDF

8. ApowerPDF

ApowerPDF is another simple PDF editor for Windows with all the essential features. Using ApowerPDF, you can do basic PDF editing like manipulating text and images, watermarking, splitting and merging, document signing and password protection, simple annotations, commenting, forms, etc.

The best thing about the ApowerPDF is that the official website has detailed how-to guides on how to use the ApowerPDF to its fullest potential. This makes it so that even beginners can use the software without hiccups.

To put it simply, if you are looking for a simple PDF editor with all the essential features while having detailed guides and help topics to get you started, then do give ApowerPDF a try.

Windows pdf editor apowerpdf

Price: ApowerPDF is a paid software and costs a one-time payment of $59.95.

Download ApowerPDF

9. Nitro PDF Editor

Nitro PDF Editor is another powerful yet easy-to-use best PDF editor for Windows.

When it comes to the feature set, it is very comparable to other premium counterparts like PhantomPDF. One of the best things about Nitro PDF is that it lets you add custom design elements like dynamic bookmarks to make the PDFs more usable and customizable.

Thanks to the built-in OCR functionality, you can easily scan documents and quickly turn them into a PDF with editable elements. Nitro PDF has one of the fastest OCR processing compared to other PDF editors in this list.

Of course, Nitro PDF editor comes with regular bells and whistles like text and image manipulation, editing and merging, page position manipulation, signing & password protection, etc.

Windows pdf editor nitro pdf

You might want to check out Nitro PDF editor if you scan documents heavily. There is a free seven-day trial to give things a try.

Price: Nitro PDF Editor costs $159 per user. There is a free trial with limited features to try the software.

Download Nitro PDF Editor

10. AbleWord

AbleWord is a very basic PDF editor that is simple to use and free. Though the user interface looks a bit old and follows the WordPad app design, it is perfectly functional and clean.

As you can tell from the name itself, AbleWord is also a word processor.

Compared to all other applications on this list, AbleWord lacks PDF editing capabilities. That being said, AbleWord is pretty minimal and uses fewer system resources while being fast. So, if your PDF editing needs are simple. i.e., you don’t need advanced features like splitting, merging, signing, or OCR capabilities; AbleWord is perfect for you. Give AbleWord a try and see if it works for you.

Windows pdf editor ableword

Download AbleWord

That is it. If you think I missed any of your favorite PDF editors for Windows, comment below and share it.

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