Looking for a free PDF editor

Italiabella
Italiabella used Ask the Experts™
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Hello everyone, I need to recommend a free PDF editor to a friend. I remember that when I was working in the office many years ago someone had CUTE PDF. I also saw around PRIMO PDF. Do they allow to edit a PDF document? I am talking about basic editing nothing to complicated or fancy. If somebody can confirm this it will be great. Also, if one of the two software that I mentioned truly allow the user to do basic editing can someone send me a secure link where I can download them please. So I will avoid to download junk and infections. Thank you very much.
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Have a look at PDFCreator from SourceForge. It comes with PDF Architect which I believe is a PDF editor. It is open source and free. Just be careful when you are installing it that you don't accidentally agree to install any crapware.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Foxit provides a good free PDF editor and is worth looking at. Most free tools are for personal use, so check that.

Author

Commented:
Ok yes I am afraid to infect my PC downloading viruses. Do you have a safe link for the software you are mentioning please. Have you ever heard about cute PDF or primo PDF
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Get Cute PDF from http://www.cutepdf.com/
Developer
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018
Commented:
Hi Italiabella,

This depends very much on your definition of "edit". Does your friend want to change the text in the PDF? Or place annotations on the PDF, like highlighters and sticky notes? Or mark it up with arrows, circles, and squares? So it really depends on what your friend is looking to do with the PDFs.

That said, here are three excellent (FREE!) PDF reader/viewers with some degree of editing (depending on your definition):

(1) Foxit Reader:
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads/

(2) PDF-XChange Editor:
http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-editor

They also have a PRO (non-free) version, so when you install it, select the Free Version:

Free or Pro
(3) Nitro Reader:
http://www.nitroreader.com/

Even the most recent versions of Adobe Reader (XI and DC) have annotations and markups:
https://get.adobe.com/reader/

All of the links above are to the manufacturers' websites. So there's no adware/junkware, except for stuff that is offered, but easily declined, such as Adobe's offer to install McAfee — just uncheck it.

Also, here's an EE thread that I participated in just a few weeks ago with the same question:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Document_Imaging/Adobe_Acrobat/Q_28679370.html

You may find some other helpful suggestions in there, such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice. Regards, Joe

Author

Commented:
Thank you John and Joe, he only needs to edit the text within the PDF
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
> he only needs to edit the text within the PDF

Well, I know that sounds easy, but it's actually very difficult — much more difficult than placing annotations or markups on a PDF. These free products mentioned in this thread cannot edit text within a PDF: Adobe Reader, CutePDF, Foxit Reader, Nitro Reader, PDFCreator, PDF-XChange Editor, PrimoPDF. You may want to look at the free OpenOffice, but I haven't tried that myself, so I don't know how good it is.

Some non-free products can do it, such as Adobe Acrobat, CAD-KAS PDF Editor Objects, Foxit PhantomPDF, Nitro Pro, Nuance Power PDF, PDF Architect, and others, but even they have limited editing capability. My advice to your friend is not to edit PDFs. Get the original file from which the PDF was created, such as the Excel spreadsheet or Word document. Editing PDFs is tricky business and not a good idea, unless there's no other way to achieve the objective. If it's really important for your friend and cannot be avoided, then purchase one of the non-free products. Regards, Joe

Author

Commented:
I think he has no choice and Adobe Reader DC for $ 14 a month allow him to edit text. tried on my PC cute PDF and I can't find the way to edit any text .
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
> Adobe Reader DC for $ 14 a month allow him to edit text

Not Adobe Reader DC — that's free, but cannot edit text. You mean Adobe Acrobat DC, which is $14.99/mo.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
I use Adobe Acrobat V2015 (DC) and it works great. $15 per month is a reasonable subscription price.   Thanks.

Author

Commented:
Yes, thank you for being much more accurate. By the way I have just formatted my computer a month ago and I also lost the capabilities of editing PDF. there must be a reliable free PDF editor out there that allows me to edit basic documents ?
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
> lost the capabilities of editing PDF

What product(s) did you use to edit PDFs before?

> there must be a reliable free PDF editor out there that allows me to edit basic documents

I don't think so. Some of the free ones convert to a word processing file first (which they do with less than perfect results), then you can edit in the word processor, then convert back to a PDF. But for direct editing of the textual content in a PDF, only the non-free products can do it, afaik. I do it rarely — only when I don't have, and can't track down, the original source document. It's a last resort measure.

Author

Commented:
ok at least now thought me a trick on how to covert -edit - convert back.
I used the paid version of adobe acrobat, the license was provided by my company when I was working in the office. Now that I formatted my pc I lost the key. Ok, now I clearly understand that I will need to buy something if I want to edit directly a PDF. Thank you for the clear explanation Joe.
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
You're welcome, Italiabella. As always, happy to help you. Regards, Joe

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