7 Best Free PDF Editors for Windows 10: List Updated for 2019

Posted by TekRevue Contributor on April 4, 2019

Are you looking for a free PDF editor Windows 10 users will love? We know how big of a challenge finding free software can be, especially if you want it to be fully functional. While it is certainly hard to find something of deep value, one basic criterion for this list we’ve prepared is this: does this best free PDF editor for Windows 10 offer enough features to make it of any value to the average user? From that perspective, you’ll be able to find quite a few that are to your liking. So, let’s get straight into it.

1. Hipdf

Online PDF Editor with Premium Desktop Option

  • No need to register for basic editing functions
  • PDF editing and image editing options available for free
  • Sign PDFs with stylized or custom-drawn signatures

Hipdf is a relatively new player in the PDF game, but this online service offers a great way to avoid installing cumbersome software on your Windows 10 computer. If you have a non-desktop device like a notebook or tablet running Windows 10, this might be ideally suited to your needs. To note, they do have a desktop version if that’s what you’re looking for.

Although there are paid versions of Hipdf, we’re focusing on the free version, which is ad-supported. Functionality is limited to PDF and image tools, but even using it without registering an account allows you to do quite a few actions, such as adding and editing text, adding images and shapes, and even signing PDFs.

To start using Hipdf, go to their home page and choose the Edit option. Then open a PDF from your Windows 10 computer or from a cloud location like Dropbox or Drive. You’ll see the editing options above the document. Once you’re done, just click on the Apply button and download your edited PDF.

Try Hipdf Online

2. PDFescape

Online PDF Editor with Trial and Premium Desktop Versions

  • Images and video can be added
  • Forms are supported
  • Only the online version is free; the free download is a trial version with limited functions

As a free PDF editor for Windows 10, PDFescape offers the usual basics in its online version. The desktop version that you can download for free is the trial version of the premium desktop app, but the online version can handle most PDF editing needs.

Although you can’t edit the text in a PDF document, there’s a whiteout tool to mask existing text. You can then write over it using the Text function. You can also add images, links and form fields, and the annotation tools are fairly comprehensive – insert caret annotation (^), add sticky note, add rectangular boxes, strikeout, highlight and underline.

One of the great features of this tool is the ability to create form fields in PDF. It’s not something that free PDF editors will generally offer. There are also some limited page management tools like rotating, reordering, cropping, appending and deleting.

Once you’re done, simply save and download your edited PDF.

Try PDFescape

3. PDFelement 6 Pro

Trial Version of Premium Pro PDF Editing Suite

  • No time limit on the free trial version
  • A windows-like environment for a gentle learning curve
  • No restrictions for editing tools in free version

PDFelement 6 Pro is a leading rival to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Nitro Pro PDF but, for this piece, we’ll restrict ourselves to the capabilities of the free trial version. You can download the trial version and start using it right away.

Editing with the free trial version has no restrictions, and you have full access to all the editing tools in the software, such as adding and changing text, adding images and altering image attributes, manipulating, extracting and merging pages or files, . The Windows-like design elements will put you at ease the very first time you use it, while giving you the flexibility and versatility of a full-fledged professional PDF editor.

Moreover, since it’s the Pro version trial, you’ll get some amazing features to try out, like automatic form recognition, OCR, batch processing, scanner to PDFs, file size optimization and much more.

One important point to note is that existing text can be edited, which is refreshingly unique for a PDF editor free download for Windows 10, especially a trial version. In addition, image addition and editing are fully functional. You can also access all the annotation tools you need from the Comment section. Once you’re done, just click Save As… and save your work as a new file.

Try PDFelement 6 Pro for Free

4. Smallpdf

Online tool for basic PDF editing

  • Simple editing tools suitable for most generic tasks
  • No standard annotation tools
  • Several other online tools available on the home page

Smallpdf is yet another pdf editor for windows 10 free for use and available online, and one that covers all your basic PDF editing needs. The home page contains various modules, of which Edit PDF is one. The layout is very clean, and you only have four options once you upload your PDF: Add Text, Add Image, Add Shape and Draw.

As with most other free online tools, you can’t edit existing text. However, draw a white box over it and you’ll be able to add new text on top of that. Fonts are limited, though, so you may not get an exact match. Font sizes are also fixed rather than dynamically resizable.


One drawback is that it lacks annotation tools like highlighting, underlining and commenting. Most editors for PDF also have review tools, but that’s not the case here. It sort of reiterates the fact that when it comes to a PDF editor (Windows 10), free means limited.

Once you’re done, hit the Apply button and you’ll be prompted to download the edited file.

Try Smallpdf

5. Sedja

Time-based Free PDF Editor

  • Edit existing text – unusual for a free, online service
  • Forms (filling and creation) supported
  • Find & Replace feature for text elements

Sedja is free and online, but offers a unique deal for users: documents can only be worked on for a maximum of five hours, after which they are automatically deleted from the servers. It’s a sustainable way to save server space and keep the service free, and it offers a desktop version for greater security.

Sedja is one of the few free online PDF editors that allows you to edit existing text instead of whiting it out and overwriting, although the whiteout option is also there. Form-filling and form creation are both supported, and there is a basic suite of annotation tools that gives you a lot of color options. There’s also a useful Find & Replace feature that’s great for changing words and phrases that are used more than once.

The editor is easy to use and highly intuitive with a really smooth interface. Just upload your doc or drag and drop it into the interface, get your edits done and hit Apply to save your file. The limit is 50MB or 200 pages, and one catch is that you can only do three tasks per hour. But it’s good enough for anything except bulk work or very large documents, for which a paid option might be better anyway.

Try Sedja

6. PDFelement 6 Standard

Trial version with full functionality for editing and no time limit

  • No limit on editing functions in free trial version
  • Free forever if you just need an editor with basic but many tools
  • Emulates Windows 10 design principles, so it’s easy to learn to use

Like its more capable Pro cousin, PDFelement 6 Standard offers a free trial version with virtually all the same features as its paid equivalent. Editing text is easy, and the tools are dynamically displayed as you choose different content blocks in your PDF document.

There are no restrictions as far as editing tools go, but the output file will have a watermark applied to it. You can have that removed when you purchase a license and re-load the same document in the application.

If you’re looking for a great PDF editor with almost zero restrictions in the free trial, this is it. Once you get comfortable with working with the layout of tools, you can always upgrade to the full Standard version and continue to enjoy features that include creation, editing, conversion, annotations and commenting, secure PDF signing, access to hundreds of PDF templates, page labeling and the ability to add watermarks, change the background and add headers and footer.

Try PDFelement 6 Standard

7. Nitro Pro

14-day free trial with no limitations

  • Great for trying out premium features without buying
  • Full functionality during the free trial period
  • One of the most popular PDF editors for Windows 10 around

The trial version of Nitro Pro is not limited in any way except for the duration – 2 weeks. During that time you will have full functionality on all fronts including editing. After the trial period, however, it will become what the company calls an “expired trial.”

During the trial period, you have a full suite of creating, editing, forms, annotation, conversion, eSigning and other tools. Editing on Nitro Pro is a breeze, and highly accurate when it comes to changing the layout (adding text, images, etc.) without messing up the entire document or page.

The only problem is that the “expired trial” is a basic PDF reader. You can still do basic edits and annotations, so it works if you’re okay with that kind of limited functionality. Nitro Pro is one of the top PDF editors for Windows (no Mac version yet), so maybe a taste of the free trial might entice you to go for a license after 14 days. But while it’s free, it rocks!

Try Nitro Pro

Final Notes

All seven PDF editors for Windows 10 showcased above are robust tools in their own right. The decision to use one over the other depends on your type and frequency of use, and the kind of volume you’re working with. In general, downloadable software is more secure because you don’t upload the files to a third-party server that may or may not be as secure as promised. In addition, there’s usually a size or page limit with such services. That’s why it is important that you first figure out how you’re going to be using the tool or service. Once you’ve got that, making a choice is relatively easy.

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