Most businesses today use PDF for their document workflows because, with the right tools, you can edit PDFs, annotate them, convert them to other formats, fill out forms, add digital signatures, and so on. However, most free online and offline products that try to pass off as PDF editors aren’t capable of editing text and other objects in a PDF document. What they allow you to do is merely make corrections on top of what’s already there. On the other hand, a true PDF editor is one that lets you modify existing components in a PDF by either removing them, changing them or altering their attributes. If you want a true PDF editor that will allow you to fully edit your PDF files for free, it’s better to look at some free trial options. There are some great tools available for both offline and online use. Here’s a look at how to edit PDF documents for free.
PDFelement 7 Pro Free Trial
Unlike most other limited-time free trial versions, PDFelement 7 Pro for Windows and Mac is fully functional. There are minor restrictions on how large your documents can be while converting to other formats, as well as trial watermarks to prevent misuse; other than that, it’s pretty much a free PDF editor that’s ideal for personal or internal company use. To remove the restrictions and branding, all you need to do is upgrade to a paid plan. However, this article focuses on the actual editing process, which is unfettered in the trial version of PDFelement 7 Pro, essentially making it a free PDF editing tool.
How to Edit PDF for Free in PDFelement 7 Pro (Perpetual Free Trial)
The download from Wondershare is a trial version that can be registered immediately or at a later time. Go ahead and download the .exe or DMG file depending on whether you’re on Windows or Mac. Install it like any other software application and launch PDFelement 7 Pro on your desktop. Follow the steps shown below to edit a PDF document for free:
- To open the file, you can either use the Open File option or the File menu; alternatively, just drag the PDF document and drop it over the program icon or, if open, into the main interface window.
- Click the Edit tab to put the document into edit mode. In the editing toolbar, you’ll be able to see the various tools available to you. These include text and image editing, creating and managing links, replacing or tweaking images, adding or removing header and footer elements, creating customized copyright and other watermarks, cropping pages, spell-checking, and more.
- When you’re done editing the document, simply hit File → Save As to create a copy. This copy will contain the trial watermark. To remove it, just upgrade to a suitable plan and load the file again in PDFelement. Please note that hitting Save will treat it as a modified document and delete the original PDF.
An unregistered copy of PDFelement 7 Pro is still a fully functional PDF editor, which is one of the unique differentiators of this product.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Trial Period
The trial version of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC only lasts for 7 days. If the plan is not canceled before the 8th day, you will be billed for one monthly billing cycle. The advantage, though, is that you get a fully unlocked product with no restrictions. It’s like having a valid software license for a 7-day period. Editing PDFs for free is basically unlimited during this time so if you have a bunch of PDF edits to be done as a once-off, this is an ideal solution.
How to Edit PDFs with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (7-Day Trial)
Once you’ve installed the software and triggered the trial period, here’s how to edit a PDF document for free in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (Trial Period):
- When you open a PDF file, you’ll see a tool panel on the right side. Look for the Edit PDF option and click on it.
- You will see various tools to edit text, images, links, and other objects. In edit mode, clicking any element in the PDF will make all the necessary tools available.
- You can save the file as is or assign a different name if you don’t want to change the original.
One major drawback of using this particular software is that if you cancel during the trial period or at any time in the future, the application is basically reduced to a non-functional PDF editor. You can still view PDFs and even fill forms, but that’s about the extent of its functionality unless you’re on a paid subscription.
Soda PDF Trial Period
Soda PDF is a great Windows PDF editor that also offers an online option called Soda PDF Anywhere targeted at Mac users. The trial period here is 14 days or twice that of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. However, as with Adobe’s product, it will revert to Soda PDF Free, which lets you read PDFs, combine them, create them, and do limited PDF conversions. Notice that no free PDF editing is available past the 14-day trial unless you switch to a paid plan.
How to Edit a PDF for Free with Soda PDF (14-Day Trial)
After installing the utility in a Windows PC, this is what you need to do to edit a PDF for free in Soda PDF. A similar process can be followed in Soda PDF Anywhere, the online version of the software:
- Open the document from a local drive or a cloud service and click the Edit menu item at the top. This will display a Windows-style ribbon toolbar with various sections for modifying the contents of the PDF.
- To edit text, just select the text block and make the changes you need. The blocks can also be resized or repositions, and other PDF elements will snap into place to reorder themselves.
- The same Edit tab also has tools for PDF page management, such as image and text extraction, splitting a PDF document, adding a background or watermark, and so on.
- When you’re done editing, save the file with a different name or overwrite the original PDF.
Using the service online requires you to have a fast and stable Internet connection, which is why most people prefer a desktop utility for hardcore document management tasks involving big-sized or large quantities of PDF files. The advantage with Soda PDF is that you can leverage the online version to work on documents on the go while reserving the desktop version for resource-intensive tasks. Unfortunately, that leverage only lasts for two weeks, after which you have little more than a PDF reader installed on your PC.
Sejda PDF: Edit a PDF Document Free Online
Are there really free PDF editors available online where a user can modify existing text? Well, they’re extremely hard to find, to be honest. As we mentioned earlier, most of them are only capable of adding on top of existing content. For example, if you want to replace a piece of text, you’ll have to mask it with a white box and then add a text box on top of that. The problem is that you’ll need to manually match the font to the original, which is not always easy to do. Nevertheless, there are some free online PDF editors that can edit existing content, such as Sejda Online PDF Editor.
How to Edit Text and Other PDF Objects with Sejda Online PDF Editor
- Go to the URL for Sejda PDF editing and upload your document. You can also import directly from a URL or a cloud storage service as well as create a PDF from scratch.
- When the file is displayed on your screen, you’ll see that it is already in text edit mode. Simply click on any text to edit it. You can also add images and links to your document.
- Once you finish editing the PDF, click on Apply Changes at the bottom and download your file. Note that this will be a copy of the original, which you can indicate by assigning a different filename.
Conclusion: The Best Free PDF Editors Overview
We’ve now seen how to take advantage of the trial versions and trial periods offered by different PDF editors. Some users prefer to have full functionality for a limited time, which makes Soda PDF stand out from Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. On the other hand, having a free-forever version makes PDFelement one of the most attractive options. Sejda is a great PDF editor but comes with limited functionality. You won’t find advanced tools like OCR or batch processes, and each job depends on the stability and speed of your Internet connection. Besides, there are always concerns around data security when transmitting files over the Internet. To play it safe, it is recommended that you get a free desktop PDF editor like PDFelement Pro 7 or complete once-off tasks with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Soda PDF free versions. You can always use the online option when you’re away from your desk and all you have is someone else’s computer or even your own smartphone or tablet.