How To Edit A PDF Without Adobe Acrobat?

PDF files are used extensively, and Acrobat Pro from Adobe is widely regarded as the best software for editing PDF files. It has all the features required for editing, like inserting images, adding text, and updating tables. Yet, learning to use the software is time-consuming, and many consider it expensive since Adobe charges the user $179 annually or $14.99 for a monthly subscription. Many would like to learn how to edit a PDF without Adobe Acrobat. Some of the free and inexpensive paid options are discussed below.

How To Edit A PDF Without Adobe Acrobat?

To edit a PDF without Adobe Acrobat, you can use free online editing tools without installation, such as PDFBuddy, PDFescape, Sejda, or even Google Docs. However, you may need professional editing for many PDF files. In that case, you can use standalone PDF editing software much cheaper than Adobe Acrobat, such as PDFelement for Windows or PDFpen for Mac.

Online editing of PDF files

If the files do not have confidential information and only a few PDF files must be modified, persons who want to change the PDF file quickly can use a suitable PDF editor online. The user has to upload the PDF file to the website provided, after which the required changes can be made to the file. Some of the online services are:

  • PDFBuddyOpens in a new tab.– Free tool for editing up to 3 PDF files monthly. Registration is required to save the changes.
  • PDFescapeOpens in a new tab.: The user can annotate, edit, or password-protect PDF files. The user can fill out existing forms or create one or more new forms. Free use for files up to 10 MB and 100 PDF pages. PDF: The user cannot register to secure, convert, or edit PDF files. Only 3 PDFs are allowed monthly free.
  • SejdaOpens in a new tab. edits text fills it out and signs PDF files. Free usage is limited to 3 PDFs monthly, and file size is limited to 50 MB or 200 pages.

Preview App for Mac PDF editing

Every Mac has the Preview app for opening PDF photos and allowing the user to edit the PDF. In the app’s tools panel, there are options to underline, highlight text, annotate text, delete or add pages, compress, fill forms, sign, and password-protect the PDF. The app is similar to Adobe Acrobat in features, so the user can modify the PDF without downloading other apps.

Google Docs PDF editor

Many people use Google DocsOpens in a new tab. to create documents and worksheets and to edit PDF files. The PDF should be uploaded to Google Docs, and then the text can be edited. The images may be lost. After the editing, the edited file can be converted to PDF format and downloaded.

MS Word for Windows users

Users of a Windows laptop or computer can use Microsoft Office Word software to edit PDF files. Any PDF file opened using MS Word is automatically converted into an editable Word document. The user can edit the images and text in the file like a Word document. After the editing is complete, the file can be saved in PDF format. Several videos and other tutorials are available online, explaining all this in great detail.

I am using inexpensive editing software for PDF files.

Use Standalone PDF Editing Software (Cheaper Than Acrobat)

Small business owners, professionals, and others who cannot afford Adobe Acrobat can consider purchasing cheaper software with the most features. The buyer must pay the one-time purchase price for this software, which varies from approximately $50 to $150. They also have a well-designed user interface. Some better PDF editors are discussed below.

PDFelementOpens in a new tab. is compatible with iOS, macOS, and Windows, has almost all Adobe Acrobat features, and is affordably priced. It is recommended for those who wish to make PDF forms that are fillable. The user can edit text/links/images, add forms, combine, convert, and organize the PDF files. Paid features include optical character recognition (OCR) for making scanned files editable and searchable, watermarking, and encryption. In addition to the perpetual license, subscription plans are also offered.

PDFpenOpens in a new tab. for macOS and iOS users allows the user to edit PDF files easily. In addition to enabling quick editing of text and images, the user can draw, add, delete pages, annotate, password protect, and have OCR features. It has better editing features than the Preview app and an excellent user interface. The basic version is priced at $74.95; the Pro version costs $128.95


Though PDF is preferred to other file formats, altering PDF files, especially password-protected files, is not easy. Adobe Acrobat can edit PDF files on mobile, Mac, and PC, but it is expensive. Hence, users should consider the more affordable options listed above.

Igor Milosevic
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