Best al­ter­na­tives to Adobe Acro­bat DC Pro


Many sup­pli­ers of free PDF tools have ‘pro­fes­sional’ prod­ucts which you have to pay for. Foxit ( of­fers Phan­tomPDF Stan­dard ($89, around £60) and Busi­ness ($129, around £85), and Ad­vanced PDF Edi­tor ($99, around £65). The Stan­dard edi­tion (be­low) has all the fa­cil­i­ties of the free Reader, plus edit­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It is pos­si­ble to edit para­graphs and some­times whole pages of text, although it doesn’t flow like a word pro­ces­sor doc­u­ment, which can be ir­ri­tat­ing. PDFs can be saved as Word and Ex­cel doc­u­ments, and .rtf and .txt files, though.

Nitro PDF (go­ni­ has a free Nitro Reader and also Nitro Pro ($120, around £80), which en­ables you to edit text, im­ages, pages and doc­u­ments. You can also an­no­tate them with sticky notes, draw­ing tools, stamps, and so on. Pages can be in­serted and deleted, PDFs can be split, wa­ter­marks added, and head­ers and foot­ers in­serted. Nitro Pro isn’t ex­actly cheap, but if you want to edit the con­tents of PDFs, it’s eas­ier us­ing this than in Phan­tomPDF. Nitro Pro isn’t per­fect, but it comes close and you can eas­ily change the text, styles, fonts, colours, and so on.

Microsoft Of­fice does a rea­son­able job of both writ­ing and read­ing PDF files. It is par­tic­u­larly good at open­ing Of­fice files saved as PDFs and they can be edited and saved as Word files or PDFs again. Like the other pro tools, it isn’t per­fect, but you do get an ed­itable Word doc­u­ment. It isn’t free, of course, but you may al­ready have it and not re­alise that it can open PDFs so you can edit them.

One other tool we re­cently tested that does the job well is Nu­ance Power PDF 2, which isn’t free ei­ther. It’s a PDF edi­tor and con­ver­tor that matches Acro­bat Pro – pretty much fea­ture-for-fea­ture – while of­fer­ing use­ful ex­tras like a more flex­i­ble search and a more fa­mil­iar Of­fice in­ter­face. And at £79 inc VAT for the stan­dard ver­sion it is well priced. Worth check­ing out.

Foxit Phan­tomPDF

Nitro Pro S

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