PDFs are crucial for businesses. Whether you're sending out invoices or contracts, or maintaining customer records and scanned documents, PDFs ensure documents are viewed as intended.
But what if you want to make changes to a PDF, such as editing text, adding or removing objects, or commenting while reviewing? Instead of converting the PDF to an editable doc again, making changes, and converting back to a PDF, you can simply use a PDF editor and make changes in just a few clicks.
PDF editing software can save time and help you process PDFs faster without changing the file format. With the wide range of PDF editors available, choosing the one that best meets your needs can feel overwhelming. That's why we created this PDF editing software buyers guide with all the essential information you need to choose the right tool.
Here’s what we'll cover:
What is PDF editor software?
PDF editors allow users to upload, create, and edit content within PDFs. These tools help users edit text and images within PDFs, rearrange pages, password-protect files, electronically sign documents, and more. Users can also convert other file formats such as Word documents, Excel sheets, HTML, JPG, Gifs, and images to PDFs (and vice versa).
PDF editors typically integrate with optical character recognition software, document scanning software, and document generation software.
Text editing feature in ABBYY FineReader PDF Software (Source)
Common features of PDF editors
Most PDF editing tools have the following features in common:
|Convert to PDF
||Convert other file formats to PDFs.
||Edit existing images or add and remove images and shapes within PDFs.
||Add, remove, or edit text within PDFs.
||Add comments or notes to specific sections of PDFs.
||Add permissions to determine how users can interact with files to protect both sensitive information and file ownership.
||Sign a PDF electronically, and give others permission to digitally view and sign documents.
|Optical character recognition
||Convert images of typed, handwritten, or printed text into machine-encoded text.
||Create PDF forms, distribute forms, and receive responses. You can manage, track, and view all forms and responses within the software.
||Combine documents, spreadsheets, emails, and more into a single, organized PDF. You can also reorder pages and assign page numbers.
||Compare documents by opening two PDFs in the same window.
|Full text search
||Search PDF text to find specific words or phrases.
What type of buyer are you?
Before purchasing PDF editing software, you should determine which buyer category you're in so you can choose the right tool. The majority of buyers fall into the following categories:
- Small and midsize businesses (SMBs; up to 500 employees): SMBs generally have smaller teams and fewer clients, so they handle a limited amount of documents. Buyers in this segment can use PDF editors to alter contract templates and edit necessary fields for individual customers.
Some free PDF editors or reasonably priced basic versions with features including optical character recognition, electronic signatures, page rearrangement, and text and image editing can work for these buyers.
- Large enterprises (over 500 employees): Enterprises with large teams and client bases deal with a large number of documents. PDF editors can help such buyers create and manage sensitive documents, customize branding, and protect files with passwords.
A fully featured PDF editor that offers password protection, user restriction settings, and customizable branding along with the ability to handle large files are often a better fit for buyers in this segment. Since these businesses often share documents with a large number of people, they should opt for a tool with security features to maintain the security of distributed PDFs.
Benefits of PDF editing software
- Enhanced security: PDF editors have built-in security features that ensure the safety of information within the documents. Features such as password protection, user restrictions, and encryption can restrict recipients and viewers from printing the PDF, and changing or copying the content.
- Easy editing: PDF editors allows users to directly edit PDFs without converting or retyping the document. Optical character recognition features make scanned or image-based documents searchable and editable.
- Better control and visibility: PDF editors can convert PDFs into a read-only format that can't be altered without leaving digital footprints. This lets you effectively track changes to maintain version control and visibility when collaborating on the same file.
- Mobile: The rise in bring your own device (BYOD) policies means employees work with many types of devices, such as tablets and smartphones, in the workplace. You want a PDF editor that supports use on smartphones, tablets, or laptops so you can view, edit, convert, and share files from anywhere. Look for dedicated mobile apps when evaluating PDF editors.
- Collaboration: A PDF editor should allow multiple participants to collaborate on a single document. This will help both co-located and distributed teams to review and edit PDFs simultaneously. Look for PDF editors with shared review features to facilitate collaboration.
- Features and cost: The cost of a PDF editing tool varies based on included features. Before buying software, determine the needs of your organization and which software features can help meet them. If you handle a small number of documents, consider a free or basic version of PDF editing software. But if you need advanced features such as a built-in spell-checker, language support, multi-file merging, and validating PDFs for ISO standards, you should look for an enterprise solution.
Market trend to understand:
Here’s a market trend to keep in mind when selecting a PDF editor for your business:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) technology in PDF editors: AI-enabled PDF editors are capable of analyzing document structure or image processing to find relevant objects within document images and compare documents faster. Such software can apply neural networks to extract necessary elements such as text lines, tables, barcodes, and labels without having to improve the quality of images and documents beforehand. This tech can use previously gained experience while processing pages character-by-character or line-by-line to provide better, faster results. PDF editing tools with AI technology also allow users to recognize complex scripts in multiple languages. Many software providers have already implemented AI in their PDF editing software offerings, and more are expected to follow.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.