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The Best PDF Editor for Your Small Business in 2024

March 13, 2024
Last Updated
March 15, 2024
15 min read

Need a PDF editor for your small business? Here are some of the best options available.


Drowning in paper and digital documents? Take control of them with a PDF editor for your business.

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In this increasingly digital world, PDFs are more used today than ever before.

It's not unusual for a business to use PDFs internally, and externally for their clients.

A good PDF editor makes it easy to edit, convert, annotate, secure, and do more with PDF documents.

And when time is money, you can quickly add up the hours (and dollars) saved by using a PDF editor that can enhance your document system.

But which PDF editor is best?

That depends entirely on your business, budget, needs, and who uses the tool.

What makes a PDF editor a great fit for one business, may make it the wrong choice for another.

And while there are countless PDF editors and tools on the market, not all of them are created equal.

We understand that this can make choosing the right one a confusing task.

That's why we've made this list of our top choices for PDF editors for small businesses.

This list isn't exhaustive, but it includes the PDF editors that we have tried and have experience with.

We'll also focus on dedicated desktop PDF editors, rather than online PDF editors. Why? They're safer, faster, more secure, and more reliable.

Our goal is to be objective and unbiased with our comparison. So, you can make best decision for your business (even if it isn't us!).

What to Know Before You Start

  • The best PDF editor depends on your needs, budget, operating system, and the tasks you need to do.
  • You get what you pay for — be wary of free, online PDF editors.
  • Take advantage of the free trial that most PDF editors offer.

Why Do Small Businesses Need a PDF Editor?

Reputable PDF editors have a collection of tools that can make processing and working with PDFs (and other documents) easier, faster, and less frustrating.

PDF editors can contain multiple tools to create, edit, markup, convert, and protect PDF documents.

So, choosing the right PDF editor can save you time and money.

Any business owner that works with PDFs on a regular basis can benefit from a PDF editor.

Common benefits include:

  • Improved document management. A PDF editor makes managing, organizing, and working with your documents easier and more efficient.

    Especially in a digital word where PDF files are used more than ever, it becomes almost necessary to have a tool to create and edit your own PDFs.
  • Enhanced professionalism. First impressions matter. PDFs are widely used because of their professional appearance, and their ability to be opened and viewed on almost any device.

    Because of this, it's become increasingly important to have a tool that can make clean and professional PDFs, both for internal documents, and for clients.
  • Improved collaboration and accessibility. Since PDFs are used more than ever in this digital world, being able to quickly and effectively work and collaborate on PDFs has become almost mandatory.

    PDF editors contain tools to annotate, markup, highlight, leave comments, and more on documents. This makes it easier for multiple people to work on the same document, and offers ways to highlight key information that you won't want them to miss.
  • Saving money. Regardless of the business, time is money, but money is also money. PDF editors can save money since they have multiple tools built-in, which replaces the need to have multiple separate tools.

    And since you have all the tools in one place, you'll spend less time (and therefore money) fiddling with PDFs and other documents.
  • Security and compliance. Depending on the type of document you're dealing with, you may need to add extra security measures such as signatures, passwords, etc.

    A PDF editor can help you protect important documents, keep private information safe, and improve the security for you and your clients.

Simply put, a PDF editor offers multiple ways to improve the efficiency, security, management, and organization of your important PDFs. Which can save you time and money in the long run.

What About Online PDF Editors or Tools?

If you've been looking for a PDF editor for your small business needs, you've probably noticed the many online PDF editors and online PDF tools.

While online PDF editors have several benefits over desktop PDF editors (such as not needing to download them, and the free cost of many online PDF tools), they may not be best for a small business.

In short, you get what you pay for.

Online PDF editors and tools are plentiful with a quick Google search, but they don't offer the same flexibility, safety, control, and ownership over your PDF files.

Reasons why an online PDF editor isn't right for your business:

  • Less powerful. While online PDF tools can be useful for a simple task, they are often limited in the amount of editing that can be done.

    A desktop PDF editor on your computer has more tools (and power), and has them all in one place, giving you more control over your documents.
  • Slower. The speed of an online PDF editor depends on the speed of your internet, and of the company's servers.

    If any problems occur with your internet (or theirs), you may be left stranded and without a tool that you've come to depend on.
  • Reliant on internet access. Like previously mentioned, an online PDF editor requires that you be connected to the internet. Desktop PDF editors, on the other hand, have everything you need on your computer.

    This makes you less reliant on the whims of other companies, and offers you more reliability when it comes to managing your documents.
  • Less safe. All online PDF editors and tools require you to upload your documents to their servers before you can work on them. Once you've uploaded a document to the internet, you can never be 100% certain how that document will be used, or where it will end up.

    This is especially dangerous if your PDFs have sensitive information like names, addresses, credit card numbers, etc.

    In short, if you care about privacy and safety, you shouldn't use an online PDF editor.

What to Look for When Choosing a PDF Editor

You may have now decided that a PDF editor would benefit your small business, but what exactly should you be looking for?

There are countless PDF editors on the market. Many of them may seem like they have the same tools, but there are differences between them.

At the end of the day, the right PDF editor for your business will be based on the needs of you and your business.

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a PDF editor:

  1. Price. What's the monthly or annual subscription price; do they offer a lifetime license?
  2. Tools. What are the exact tools you need?
  3. Design. Is it easy to find the tool you're looking for and perform the task, or will you need to memorize where everything is?
  4. Learning Curve. How easy is the PDF editor to use? Is it intuitive, or will you need to spend time reading the instructions before you can get anything done?
  5. Minimum System Requirements. Will the PDF editor work on your computer? Is it fast, or is it known to be slow and clunky?
  6. Security. What kind of security tools will you need, and does the PDF editor have them?
  7. E-signing. Can you sign digital documents when you need to?
  8. Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Can the PDF editor recognize and edit text from scanned documents and images?
  9. Mobile support. Does the PDF editor have a mobile app, and is this something that your business needs?

PDF Editor: Basic vs Advanced Tools

While you'll find that most reputable PDF editors overlap in the tools that they have, there are some key differences. Most notably, you'll notice differences in the exact things that a PDF editor can do, and how they do them.

Before comparing PDF editors, take a moment to think about the kinds of tasks that you'll need to perform on a regular basis.

To help you compare PDF editors, we can break down the tools they'll have into two categories:

  1. Basic tools
  2. Advanced tools

Basic PDF tools usually include:

  • Adding text
  • Create, export, and convert to PDF
  • Minor edits of existing content — merge, rotate, delete, resize, and split pages
  • Review, annotation & markup (highlighting, stamps, freehand drawing, etc.)

Advanced PDF tools can include:

  • Editing existing text
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
  • Converting PDF into other formats (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • Adding and editing images
  • Inserting PDF pages
  • Creating fillable forms
  • E-signing and signatures
  • Cloud storage and collaboration tools
  • Security tools (password protection, permission restriction, content redaction, etc.)
  • Reusable templates
  • Optimizing and compressing PDF files


PDF Pro is our all-in-one PDF editor that makes it easy and affordable to manage, organize, and work with PDFs.

PDF Pro gives you all the tools to instantly create, convert, edit, secure, optimize, and perform OCR on PDF files.

What's different about PDF Pro?

We wanted to make a comprehensive PDF editor that you can use right out of the box, doesn't compromise on power, and with a price that doesn't break the bank.

Anyone that's used Microsoft Office tools (like Word or Excel) will feel right at home with PDF Pro's design and layout.

PDF Pro's neatly organized and clearly labeled tools ensure that you can instantly find the tool you're looking for — saving you time, and money.

Key Features

Along with all the basic editing tools that you can expect in a comprehensive PDF editor, PDF Pro also boasts a suite of powerful, advanced PDF tools.

  • Desktop PDF editor (Windows)
  • OCR
  • Redaction
  • E-sign
  • Security tools
  • PDF optimization and compression
  • Batch processing
  • High-quality conversions
  • Form creation
  • PDF stamp creation
  • Bates numbering


PDF Pro is available as a monthly subscription, or you can purchase a perpetual license as a lump sum cost and have it for life! Truly giving you flexibility over your PDF editor and your business. Try PDF Pro for free today

  • PDF Pro:
    Monthly: US $5 per month
    Lifetime License: US $192 (one-time payment)

Pros & Cons


  • Easy to use
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Powerful basic & advanced PDF tools
  • Made specifically for Windows
  • Lightweight system requirements — won't bloat or slowdown computer performance
  • Affordable
  • Available as a lifetime license


  • Not available on Mac
  • No mobile support
  • No cloud storage


Foxit is available in two versions: Basic and Pro.

The Basic version comes equipped the basic editing tools needed to create, and edit PDFs.

The Pro version of Foxit offers more advanced PDF tools for businesses that need them.

However, some of the most advanced PDF tools such as cloud storage or access to their mobile app come with an additional subscription cost that's not included in the price of the Pro version.

Some people may enjoy this flexibility, since they won't need to pay the additional cost for tools they may not use.

For others, however, it can be a confusing pricing model, and the costs can quickly add up if you need access to all their tools.

Key Features

While Foxit is more known as a PDF tool for large, enterprise companies, their tools are useful for small businesses. Though Foxit offers different versions of their PDF editor, we'll cover the features they're best known for.

  • Desktop PDF editor (Windows & Mac)
  • Mobile PDF editor app (iOS & Android)
  • OCR
  • Cloud storage
  • Security tools
  • 3D support
  • Compression for scanned documents
  • Integrated PDF editing & e-signing — manage your documents from anywhere


Foxit is available as a subscription or as a lifetime license (one-time purchase).

The lifetime license is only available for the basic version of their PDF editors, while their most advanced editor (PDF editor Pro +) is subscription-only.

  • Foxit PDF Editor (Basic):
    Monthly: from US $11.99 per month.
    Lifetime License: US $159 (one-time payment).
  • Foxit PDF Editor Pro +:
    Monthly: from US $16.99 per month.

Pros & Cons


  • Available on Mac and mobile (iOS & Android)
  • Cloud storage for collaboration
  • OCR
  • Manage signatures and e-signing PDFs from anywhere
  • Lifetime license available
  • 24/7 live support


  • Mobile application is known to be a bit slow
  • E-signing, cloud storage, and mobile costs extra
  • Subscription gets expensive if you need access to all their tools & features


First created for Mac, Nitro's PDF editor is a solid choice for businesses using either Windows or Mac.

Similar to Foxit, Nitro offers their PDF tools across several tiers — each with their own additional cost and included tools. This can quickly get expensive if you need many of their advanced features.

Key Features

Foxit offers both basic and advanced PDF tools. One popular feature Nitro offers is access to their library of ready-made templates.

  • Desktop PDF editor (Windows & Mac)
  • Mobile PDF editor (iOS & Android) — not a full editor, just an app that can perform certain tasks on a PDF.
  • OCR
  • Batch processing
  • Ready-made templates & forms
  • E-sign
  • Security tools
  • Cloud services


Similar to Foxit, Nitro offers their PDF editor (and all their tools) across several tiers and versions. To access all their tools, expect to pay extra.

While Nitro offers a perpetual (lifetime license) version of their PDF editor, their most advanced tools are only available with a subscription. And their subscription is only available as an annual subscription — they do not offer a monthly subscription

  • Nitro PDF:
    Monthly: from US $14 per month (billed annually)
    Lifetime License: US $200 (one-time payment)

Pros & Cons


  • Available on Mac, Windows, and mobile (iOS)
  • Offers cloud services
  • Lifetime license available (except for highest tier)
  • Higher discounts for enterprise sized companies
  • OCR


  • No mobile app for Android
  • Expensive if you need all the tools (same problem as Foxit)
  • File conversions don't support certain formats.
  • No monthly subscription — Annual subscription, only

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe famously invented the PDF format, so their Adobe Acrobat PDF editor tends to boast the most state-of-the-art and powerful editing tools around.

But this power and innovation brings with it a steep learning curve, large, bloaty software, and a high price tag.

However, if you already use other Adobe products, you may be used to Adobe or may prefer a PDF editor that integrates well with those other products.

Key Features

Adobe Acrobat is offered in two versions: Standard and Pro.

Adobe Acrobat Standard offers their basic editing tools and functions to edit and modify PDF documents.

Adobe Acrobat Pro is their premium version which features more advanced tools such as OCR and redaction.

Adobe Acrobat Standard is Windows-only. If you use a Mac computer and want to use Adobe Acrobat, you'll need to subscribe to their Pro version.

  • Desktop PDF editor (Standard: Windows, Pro: Windows & Mac)
  • Mobile PDF reader (iOS & Android) — not a full PDF editor
  • Create and manage fillable forms
  • E-signing and response-tracking
  • Security tools
  • Cloud services and collaboration tools
  • Advanced text and image editing
  • Advanced PDF accessibility tools (screen reader and screen magnifier)
  • Integrates well with other Adobe products


Adobe Acrobat operates on a subscription basis, with no option to purchase a perpetual (lifetime) license.

  • Adobe Acrobat Standard:
    Monthly: from US $12.99 per month
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro:
    Monthly: from US$ 19.99 month

Pros & Cons


  • Powerful, advanced PDF tools
  • Advanced e-signing and response tracking
  • Desktop and mobile app available
  • Integrates well with other Adobe products


  • Adobe Acrobat Standard is Windows-only
  • Steep learning curve
  • Cluttered and confusing layout
  • No lifetime license available
  • Software to known to be bloaty — can slow down older computers

PDF Expert

PDF Expert is a PDF editor designed specifically (and exclusively) for Mac and Apple devices. Windows users will need to look elsewhere.

However, if you use Mac, you may appreciate their simple and intuitive design, as they wanted their tool to be "Mac-like".

Since they focus on Apple products, this means that their PDF editor is also available on iPhones and iPads.

Key Features

While lacking some of the more advanced tools such as restricting PDF permissions with passwords or batch processing, PDF Expert still has quite a bit to offer. Their tools still allow you to edit, convert, and organize PDF documents.

  • PDF editing
  • Annotation and markup
  • Fill forms
  • Manage and organize PDFs and pages
  • Compress PDFs
  • Redact documents


PDF Expert offers both a subscription (billed annually), and a lifetime license of their Mac PDF editor.

They do not offer a monthly subscription plan, and the lifetime license doesn't include the iPhone and iPad version of their PDF editor.

  • PDF Expert:
    Annually: US $79.99 per year (billed annually)
    Lifetime License: US $150 (one-time payment)

Pros & Cons


  • Wide collection of PDF editing and annotation tools
  • Can sync across Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices
  • Simple "Mac-like" design
  • A solid set of form filling and PDF organization tools
  • Lifetime license available (Mac-only, not iOS)


  • Only has an annual subscription plan (no monthly subscription plan)
  • Lifetime license not available for iPhone or iPad
  • Mac-only (no support for Windows)


While not a paid PDF editor, Mac's built-in Preview tool boasts impressive editing capabilities. If you're a Mac user and just need to perform simple edits, Preview may have everything you need.

Key Features

  • Simple editing tools
  • Wide collection of annotation and markup
  • Fill forms
  • Solid set of security tools


Preview comes built-in on Mac computers. When it comes to price, it's hard to beat free.

  • Preview: Free!

Pros & Cons


  • Comes free on Mac computers
  • Solid annotation and markup tools
  • Can secure PDF documents


  • Advanced tools are missing
  • Mac-only
  • Not always easy to find the tools you need

Which PDF Editor is Right for My Business?

Each PDF editor has their own set of features, prices, pros, and cons.

To make your choice a bit easier, we've summarized each of the PDF editors covered in this guide.

At the end of the day, the right PDF editor for you and your business depends on your needs, and the needs of your clients.

When in doubt, make use of the free trial that's offered by most PDF editors as a risk-free way to try out a PDF editor.


PDF Pro is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses running on Windows, that are looking for an affordable, easy to use, all-in-one PDF editor.

If you're looking for a PDF editor, and don't need Mac or mobile support, PDF Pro stands out as your go-to choice.

The powerful and comprehensive tools, minus the complexity, make it a perfect choice for any small business.


Foxit's tools cater to businesses small and large. But the larger your business is, the more attractive Foxit may be.

Especially businesses requiring cross-platform compatibility (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) and collaborative features like cloud storage.

If your team values flexibility and you're prepared to manage a tiered pricing structure, Foxit can offer a tailored fit, balancing basic needs with the option to scale up for advanced features.


Like Foxit, Nitro caters to business large and small, with particular benefits to medium to enterprise-sized business.

Nitro is best suited for businesses using both Mac and Windows devices.

Nitro is especially appealing for teams needing ready-made templates and forms, along with cloud services for enhanced collaboration. Though, like Foxit, expect additional, higher costs to access all their features.

Adobe Acrobat

The premier choice for professionals and organizations requiring the most advanced PDF tools, seamless integration with other Adobe products, and are willing to navigate a steep learning curve. Adobe Acrobat is unmatched in feature depth and cloud collaboration, ideal for businesses that rely heavily on PDF manipulation and are not deterred by subscription-only pricing.

PDF Expert

Tailor-made for Mac & Apple, PDF Expert is great for those looking for a solid set of tools for editing, annotating, securing, and organizing their PDF documents.

The lack of Windows support limits who can use this tool, but their focus provides a good experience for business that run exclusively on Apple devices.


Preview is free tool that comes built-in every Mac computer. While not a dedicated PDF editor, Preview boasts an impressive amount of editing and annotation tools for PDFs.

Though it lacks the some of the advanced tools of its paid counterparts, Preview offers a solid suite of tools for simple PDF tasks, making it an attractive option for Mac users seeking simplicity and convenience.

Enhance Your Business with a PDF Editor

Simply put, the best PDF editor for your small business depends on your needs, budget, operating system, and the tasks that you'll need to do.

When starting the journey to find the right PDF editor, consider your priorities carefully to ensure you choose a tool that not only meets your current needs but can also support the needs of your business as it grows.

And be sure to take advantage of the free trial that most PDF editors offer. It's a great way to try out a potential PDF solution, risk-free.

If your small business uses Windows, we recommend trying PDF Pro, our all-in-one PDF editor that makes it affordable and easy to edit, secure, and organize PDFs.

Don't just take our word for it.

See for yourself what PDF Pro can help you with:

Buy Now Try PDF Pro Free


We've answered some common questions about PDF editors for your benefit.

Which is the best PDF editor for small businesses?

The best PDF editor for a small business depends on the needs, budget, operating system, and the tasks that the business has.

Is there a one-time purchase PDF editor?

Yes, there is! There's more than one PDF editor that has a lifetime license. One option for Windows users is PDF Pro.

If you use both Windows and Mac, Nitro and Foxit also offer a lifetime license of their PDF editor.

What is the difference between a PDF document and a PDF form?

"PDF document" is an umbrella term that can refer to most PDF files.

A "PDF form", on the other hand, usually refers to an PDF document that is interactive, and has fields that you can fill in with personal information.

Should I use a free PDF editor or a paid one?

Like most things, when it comes to PDF editors, you get what you pay for.

If you're a business that needs a reliable and safe PDF tool (especially if you deal with personal or sensitive information), it's worth investing in a paid PDF editor.

A paid PDF editor offers more tools, reliability, support, and safety than you'll find in a free online PDF editor.

Digital Marketing SpecialistArron Staradub
Arron was a Digital Marketer at PDF Pro, where he wrote helpful and engaging articles for those that that used PDFs in their daily life.

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