How to Edit PDF Without Adobe Acrobat: Best Solutions

Adobe Acrobat has been the leader on the market of PDF editing software for decades. The reason for such a status is due to the fact that Adobe created this market by inventing the Portable Document Format in 1993. Today this versatile file extension is a standard form of communication for any industry, government, and social sector. But is Acrobat the only option? Not at all!

Editing PDFs Without Adobe

The main reason for many people to give up using Adobe Acrobat and some other products of the developer is not their quality. Adobe is a pioneer in a variety of things and provides services that can fulfill the needs even of the most demanding professionals and the largest companies with the most sophisticated business processes. Actually, these are the main buyers of the Acrobat bundle and the Creative Cloud utility today.

But what about individuals and smaller ventures that don’t need such an extensive functionary for hundreds of dollars per year? It’s such a massive crowd of people in the US and worldwide, that other developers have started to implement alternative cheaper and free solutions almost immediately. However, only the widespread use of broadband allowed companies to create versatile cloud-based solutions that can really compete with Adobe when it comes to basic PDF editing and encryption operations.

At last, you can choose from a wide range of solutions that are focused on tackling particular sets of tasks, depending on the plan you select. Some services can be used as offline software, but the vast majority of modern PDF solutions are fully online. The reason is it’s the only way to save the largest amounts of time on launching, saving, and sharing documents regardless of their size.

Top 5 Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat

Below are the most reliable PDF editing solutions that will help you replace the pricey Adobe Acrobat. Pay close attention to the offered features and plan pricing to understand what’s better for you.

1. PDFLiner

PDFLiner is a straightforward online platform that’s focused on individual and collaborative editing of documents. The good thing is that you don’t need to install any additional software or browser extensions to use the full feature set of the app on your computer, tablet, or even a smartphone.


The entire editing process is organized on a transparent step-by-step concept. When you open the website, you can drag and drop an existing document right onto the page and start editing it right away. If you need to create a file from the ground up, you have an option to browse the library to find the form template or a fresh federal form related to finance, government, insurance, taxes, police, courts, medicine, sales, and other realms.

When you choose the needed option, the editor will launch automatically. There you can use a wide range of essential tools, including text editing, text box/symbol/image adding, highlighting, drop-down menus, data fields, and many more.

If you need to secure your documents, you can add custom watermarks, encrypt a file, and sign up your forms with different types of electronic signatures. You can scan your signature with a web camera, generate a digital signature with a security protocol, or draw a signature with a mouse, touchscreen, or another input method.


The service provides 3 plans, including an individual plan, a Pro plan for 3 simultaneous users, and a Premium plan for up to 5 users. Monthly pricing is $14, $36, and $50 accordingly, but if you take an annual plan, you get a 30% discount that transforms the monthly tariff into $19, $25, and $35. The free trial lasts 10 days.

2. Ease PDF

This online platform is focused on editing and converting PDF files. Although the service was launched only 3 years ago, it was also based on results of decade-long research of the industry.


To start working in Ease PDF, you have to open the website, click All PDF Tools, and select any module that you need at the moment. Unfortunately, there’s no built-in form and template library, but you still can easily upload the downloaded documents from your device, insert file links, or upload PDFs directly from Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.

The converting module can transform PDFs to Word (DOC/DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT/PPTX), Excel (XLS/XLSX), HTML, JPG, and more. In addition, you can use it to merge or split PDF files and compress them (reduce the file size). Other benefits of this online service include batch document processing, e-signature, watermarks, protection, compression, and several other features.


The platform offers a $6 individual plan that lets you access the entire feature set within a month. If you need a year-round solution, be ready to pay from $48 to $72, depending on the seasonal discount size. There’s no free trial on this platform, but you can cancel your subscription within the first 7 days of use and receive your money back. Unfortunately, there’s no option to connect more than one user to a single account, which means that adding every new user to a corporate system will take a full extra plan price per user.

3. Soda PDF

Soda PDF offers a convenient online platform that lets you edit PDF documents with a wide range of tools. The distinctive feature of the service is the option to create new PDF documents online.


Opening Soda PDF, you get straight to the editor. All the features are available directly through the control bar. The interface of the platform is very similar to customary interfaces of MS Office software and lets you access all the features from a single panel.

You can create new PDF documents without uploading them from your computer. That’s something that most online apps cannot do, but Adobe Acrobat and Soda PDF can. Of course, you can also import your files from the device, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

Some of the tools include text and image inserting, commenting and highlighting, converting into Microsoft Office formats, and some rare (for PDF editors) image formats, such as TIFF, GIF, and BMP, which makes it a good solution for designers, engineers, and professionals from similar fields.


You can start using the service for free within the free trial, which is short but enough to check out all the features. The plans aren’t very expensive, but the standard plan ($6/months or $60/year) doesn’t include many of the features, including batching, security, e-sign, commenting, and forms. The Pro account lets you use everything for $10.50/month or $108/year. The good news is that you get 2 months for free and a discount if you purchase one of the annual plans.

4. Sejda

Sejda is a rare type of service that has a deep focus on editing PDF documents. Its features may look quite narrow to you, but they can be extremely helpful for a variety of creative and professional purposes too.


Similar to competitors, Sejda lets you start editing straight away by uploading a file from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or custom address. Then you get to the straightforward editor, where you can not only add or remove text and images, but also change the existing font types, sizes, and styles.

While the converter module is rather standard, the document splitting options are extensive. You can extract particular pages, split files by pages, bookmarks, percents, file sizes, and even particular parts of the text. These features are incredibly helpful when you need to transfer large PDF files via corporate systems that have a file size threshold. Privacy features let you lock your documents with passwords, watermarks, secure, and e-signatures.


You can start using the platform for free, but to complete more than 3 tasks per hour (50Mb/200 pages), you have to purchase a week pass for $5, and a monthly plan for $7.50, or a Desktop+Web annual plan for $5.25/month ($63/year). The last lets you install a desktop version of the service and use it offline.

5. PDF Buddy

PDF Buddy is an affordable and very simple PDF solution that focuses on the most basic editing features. It’s the simplest option on this list, but that’s what many users need so much.


When you open PDF Buddy, you can drag and drop a document from your device and start editing right away. Using the most straightforward interface ever, you can add new text elements and change their size, color, and font. The paint tool makes it easy to circle things and comment on them with the text tool.

Next, you can highlight and whiteout any element of the document, add several standard shapes, and use 10 ready-made stamps to add specific meaning to highlighted areas. Finally, you can protect your documents with your electronic signature. It can be generated right on the website, uploaded from your device, or drawn with a mouse.

All the information on your personal PFD Buddy cloud is encrypted with AES-256, so it’s impossible to steal sensitive data without having your login and password.


Although this service isn’t as feature-stuffed as the previous ones, it lets you edit up to 3 PDF documents of any size for free every month. If you need to edit more than that, you can pay for passes that provide access to 5 ($5.99), 15 ($12.99), 30 ($19.99), and 50 ($29.99) PDF documents. However, it’s much cheaper to get the unlimited Pro plan for $7.99/month and get 25GB of cloud storage as a bonus.

Freedom of Choice 

Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format, design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a coherent whole. In the words of Jan Tschichold, "methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve, have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect books, these rules have to be brought back to life and applied."
Front matter, or preliminaries, is the first section of a book, and is usually the smallest section in terms of the number of pages. Each page is counted, but no folio or page number is expressed, or printed, on either display pages or blank pages.
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