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The Best PDF Editor for Windows 11 (2023 Guide)

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January 17, 2023
Last Updated
March 3, 2023
6 min read

The best PDF editors can open & edit almost any PDF document; letting you edit, annotate, sign, OCR, and more

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We've compiled the best PDF editors for Windows 11 to help you make an informed decision. We want you to pick the best PDF editor for your needs, even if it's not us! This guide is constantly being updated to be as helpful as possible.

Windows 11 is the most recent version of the Windows OS, bringing with it a better design, better layout, and better performance — better for both business and pleasure.

Regardless of your main uses, how some things never change — like our need for PDFs.

Windows 11 has a many new features, but one thing it's lacking is a PDF editor to edit, modify, and work with PDF documents.

For that, we'll still need to rely on one of the countless third party PDF software available.

But with so many options and brands, which one best?

More importantly, which one is best for you? And how do we determine that?

That's why we've created this helpful guide! We understand all the options can be overwhelming and want to make your choice a bit easier. Our goal for this guide is to be a complementary tool to help you pick the best PDF editor for you (even if it isn't us!).

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Many of the PDF editors we'll cover offer free trials, removing much of the risk associated when trying a new software. If you regularly work with PDF documents, you'll want to invest in a PDF editor that's going to make your life easier, while not breaking the bank.

PDFs have never been more used, everywhere from legal, medical forms, financial, etc. We're using and interacting with PDFs on a weekly or daily basis. A good PDF editor will be able to save you loads of time, helping you do everything from simple annotations, to editing existing

While documents are often the preferred final format of a document, they can also be edited and modified.

What to Know Before You Start

  • Most free, online PDF editors allow you to add text to a PDF, but being able to edit existing text is sometimes a premium (paid) feature.
  • Most PDF editors have the same basic editing functions (adding text, editing text, annotations/markups/highlights, rotating, merging, etc.)
  • Advanced editing features like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) are more commonly found in premium versions of paid PDF tools.

What is a PDF editor?

A PDF editor is software that allows you to edit and modify existing PDF documents, as well as create new ones and convert other documents into PDF format.

Common PDF editing capabilities include:

  • Adding text
  • Converting files to PDF
  • Merging documents
  • Adding or deleting pages
  • Rotating pages
  • annotating or marking up documents

There is a difference between adding text editing existing text, and both are often referred to as editing a PDF.

You'll see PDF editors refer to both as "editing" the PDF, so be sure to pay close attention to the type of edits you're able to perform on a PDF document.

Many free or inexpensive online PDF editors allow you to add text to a PDF page, but don't allow you to edit existing text.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What kind of PDF documents will I work on? (PDF documents, fillable forms, etc.)
  • What are my needs? What functions do I need the most?
  • What price point works best for me?
  • What kind of support is important to me?
  • Will this run on my computer?
  • How challenging will it be to learn how to use the software?

What to Consider Before Choosing a PDF Editor

  1. Price (your budget)
  2. Functions/Capabilities (basic vs advanced tools)
  3. Design UI (simple design or more advanced)
  4. Difficult/Learning Curve (beginner-friendly or not)
  5. Storage Space needed — Minimum Requirements (Lightweight program or do you need a modern computer)
  6. Security (security and signature tools)
  7. OCR (recognizing & extracting text from images and documents)
  8. Mobile (is there a mobile app?)

What Editing Functions to look for in a PDF editor

When evaluating the capabilities of PDF editors, you can break the functions into two categories:

  1. Basic features
  2. Advanced features

Basic editing features include:

  • Create, convert (to PDF), & export PDF files
  • Add text
  • Content editing — rotate, merge, resize or move images, merge, split
  • Annotations & markup

Advanced PDF editing features may include:

  • OCR
  • Editing existing text
  • Converting PDF into other formats
  • Adding or editing images
  • Inserting pages
  • Creating fillable forms

PDF Pro

PDF Pro is our all-in-one PDF editor, converter, creator, and OCR tool made specifically for Windows desktop.

It's a no nonsense, Adobe Acrobat alternative. What does "no nonsense" mean? It means that...

PDF Pro was made with a simple and intuitive interface so you can easily find the tool you need, without endless popups and menus. All the tools are organized in a top ribbon; anyone that's used Microsoft Office products will feel right at home.

We've kept things simple without compromising on power. PDF Pro also has advanced capabilities such as OCR, to recognize, extract, and edit existing text from pictures, images, and scanned documents.

PDF Pro is one of the most affordable all-in-one PDF editors on the market.

Key Features

  • Basic & Advanced editing tools
  • OCR
  • Batch processing
  • Security and signature tools

Pricing

  • Monthly - from $4 per month

Pros:

  • Lightweight program
  • Made specifically for Windows
  • Easy to use.
  • Beginner friendly
  • Affordable
  • Lifetime license available

Cons:

  • No mobile support

Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat is one of the most popular and well known PDF editors around. They're known for their innovation and advanced PDF tools, but also their high price, steep learning curves, and the sometimes overwhelming amount of tools, menus, and popups.

Adobe users are no stranger to steep learning curves and pop up menus.

Key Features

  • Advanced PDF editing tools
  • OCR
  • Cloud services

Pricing

  • Monthly - from $14.99 per month

Pros:

  • Advanced & innovative PDF editing tools (Acrobat Pro)
  • Streamlined sharing
  • Cloud services

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Feature set can be overwhelming to new users
  • Expensive

Nitro

Nitro PDF was originally created for Mac, but has also branched out with a Windows version. There are different tiers of their PDF editor, each with their own prices and functionalities.

Key Features

  • Advanced editing tools
  • OCR
  • Batch processing
  • Ready-made templates & forms

Pricing

  • Monthly - from $14 per month

Pros:

  • Simple, Microsoft Office-style interface
  • Cloud services for sharing & collaboration
  • Lifetime license available (except highest tier)

Cons:

  • No dedicated mobile app
  • Expensive (especially if you want access to all the tools)
  • Updates aren't included in lifetime license price
  • Lifetime license isn't available for their highest tier (subscription-only)

Swifdoo

Swifdoo is a simple PDF editor that includes most of the standard, basic PDF editing functions that we come to expect from our PDF editors.

While not breaking the mold in design and functionality, they've kept things simple and at an affordable price for those that want PDF editor that won't break the bank.

Features

  • Basic PDF editing features
  • Some advanced editing features (like OCR)

Pricing

  • Monthly - From $4 a month

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Light weight program
  • Simple design

Cons:

  • Less advanced PDF editing capabilities than others on this list
  • Licensing issues seem to be a common problem for users
  • No mobile app

pdfFiller

pdfFiller is a online PDF editor that works in your browser. They pride themselves on being easy to use, simple design, and have templates that are ready to be used.

They're mostly an only PDF editor, but they have a Windows desktop app that's currently in beta, so it may not be as fleshed out as their online version.

If you often use PDFs in your business, and deal with signatures, pdfFiller has specific features that may be attractive to you.

They have specific workflows to streamline the document signing process from your clients. They also have business templates that are ready to be used.

Features

  • Templates
  • Create forms
  • Sign & secure documents
  • Document signing workflows
  • OCR
  • Business-ready functions

Pricing

  • Monthly - from $8 per month

Pros:

  • Intuitive web-based design

Cons:

  • Windows desktop app is still in beta
  • Many of the business features won't be needed by some people.

Summary

When it comes to choosing the right PDF Editor for Windows 11, it's important to ask yourself the kinds of tasks you'll be doing regularly, and what your needs and budget are.

Many PDF editors offer free trials which removes the risk when evaluating a PDF editor. If it's not meeting your needs, you're able to cancel or refund within a time frame.

Ready to try a PDF editor? Try PDF Pro for free today or Buy Now!

FAQ

What is the best PDF editor for Windows 11?

The best PDF editor for Windows 11 is based upon your needs! Though there are many PDF editors on the market, the best PDF editor for you will be based on what you want to do, how you work, and your budget. We've created this guide to help you answer these sorts of decisions.

Does Windows 11 have a built-in PDF editor?

No it doesn't. While you're able to open and view PDFs on Windows 11, and can perform basic modifications (adding text, writing, drawing, highlighting) using Microsoft Edge (which is built-in), Windows 11 does not have a PDF editor of its own.

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Digital Marketing SpecialistArron Staradub
Arron is a Digital Marketer at PDF Pro, where he writes helpful and engaging articles for those that that use PDFs in their daily life. He has a knack for explaining concepts in an easily understandable way. He also loves reading and drinking too much coffee.

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PDF Pro is a desktop software for Windows distributed by PDF Pro Software Inc. The software "PDF Pro" and the company "PDF Pro Software Inc." are in no way affiliated with Adobe. The PDF file format is an open file format published under ISO 32000-1:2008

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