Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC are, no doubt, two of the most popular PDF editors around. Nevertheless, mature users of Acrobat are often frustrated with the lack of UI improvements and the many errors experienced when using these applications. People have come to expect better speed, better functionality, and a better look. That’s why PDF editors like PDFelement Pro are now coming to the forefront as the best Adobe Acrobat alternatives that are equally capable in terms of features and functions, but available at a much lower price point. PDFelement Pro is currently available with a $60 discount to its listed price of $159 for a perpetual license, making it one of the most affordable premium PDF editors on the market at under $100.
This review covers the powerful editing functions of PDFelement Pro, along with an overview of its vast selection of features.
PDFelement Pro Review: The Best Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Alternative?
The primary job of a PDF editor is to…well, edit PDFs, which is a logical starting point for this product review. Any element in a PDF file can be edited in PDFelement Pro. This includes text, images, scanned text, password-protected content, objects, pages, forms, and more. Let’s look at how each editing process works. Editing a PDF in PDFelement is just like editing a .docx document in Microsoft Word: it is intuitive, comprehensive, and user-friendly. In fact, many users say that editing PDFs is much better with PDFelement Pro because it protects the alignment and other attributes of the content around your edits. That’s one of the first things you notice about editing in PDFelement when you edit content. The blocks around where you make edits automatically re-align to fit the page perfectly.
To edit text, all you need to do is enter the Edit mode by clicking the Edit tab at the top. You then select the Text Editing option and proceed to modify the text in any way you want. A convenient tool panel pops in when you select a specific type of content and you can change various properties like font size, font style, color, and so on. Click File → Save, and you’re all done. PDFelement Pro is clearly designed with the user’s convenience in mind, and you get a sense of that as soon as you start using the software.
Editing images is equally easy. Features like rotation, cropping, resizing, flipping, inserting, extracting, and replacing are all accessible the same way as text editing. Just go into Edit mode and either click or right-click on an image to see the tool options. You can also extract all the images from a PDF file into a single file or multiple image files, which is part of the conversion and batch processing features discussed later on in this review.
You can also edit any object in a PDF file, such as a table, a graph, or any similar content. Again, just enter Edit mode and select the object to get the custom tool panel on the right side of your screen. Using these tools, you can move, crop, rotate or resize the object to your specific requirement.
Entire pages can be edited just as easily with PDFelement Pro at your side. There’s a special Page tab at the top where you can access tools like page extraction, replacement, file-splitting, file-merging, page duplication, rotation, insertion, and deletion. There’s also an option to set page labels and specify page boxes.
PDFelement Pro offers one of the most intuitive and comprehensive PDF form management platforms. The Form → Form Edit option gives you a range of form tools like modifying, adding, and removing form fields, editing field properties, doing form field recognition, and more.
Scanned PDF Editing
The text recognition or OCR (optical character recognition) feature in the Pro version of PDFelement for Windows and Mac supports over 20 different languages. All you need to do is download and install the plugin for OCR and you can either convert scanned PDFs to editable documents or searchable ones. Once a scanned PDF is made editable, you can follow the edit processes described above.
Editing a Password-protected PDF
If your PDF is locked, all you need to do is use the Open or User password to open the file. PDFelement Pro will automatically show you a password prompt for you to enter the access code. Once unlocked, the file can be edited normally. However, once you save the file, remember to lock it again with the password so the content doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
Annotations, Reviewing and Commenting
The markup tools are pretty impressive because they allow you to communicate with collaborators in a clear and concise manner. You can customize your annotations with specific colors, fonts, and other attributes, and even hide or show them depending on who you’re sharing the document with. For example, you can hide annotations when sending a mockup to the client and have them displayed when sharing with the graphic designer. It’s that simple!
PDF Creation and Conversion
You can create PDFs from a blank page or use one of the numerous templates available for this purpose. PDFs can also be created by converting other file formats; in this respect, PDFelement Pro really delivers because you can convert over 300 file types into PDF without affecting the core attributes of the content in those files. In addition, if the contents of a PDF file need to be edited in a different application, you can convert it from PDF into that format. For example, PDFs with tables and graphs can be exported as Excel spreadsheets for editing on MS Excel. You can do the same with images, HTML files, EPUB documents, and many other formats.
PDFelement Pro lets you secure your workflows with passwords, watermarks, redaction, copyright footer information, digital signatures, and other tools. Enterprise-grade encryption is used for locking PDFs, but you have to make sure that your password is long, unique, and not easily guessable so that no unauthorized viewer can access the file without it.
It doesn’t matter what format your forms are in because PDFelement Pro can easily convert them into fully interactive and fillable forms. You also get access to form creation and other features such as form field recognition, form field highlighting (when filling forms), form properties modification, and so on. If you need to extract form data, you can do that easily with the bulk data extraction tool. The data, which will be exported as a CSV file, can then be analyzed on a spreadsheet utility or business intelligence application.
Most of the common PDF tasks can be done with batches of files instead of one at a time, thereby saving you effort, time, and money. Batch Processes include file encryption, conversion, watermarking, Bates Numbering, data extraction, etc.
Overall Review Feedback
After using PDFelement Pro extensively and testing out all the features in comparison with similar features offered by Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, we found several distinct advantages of using this versatile PDF editor:
- The UI is far more user-friendly and intuitive
- The contextual tools leave the interface uncluttered and easy to navigate
- Features are clearly laid out so there’s no confusion about where to go for what tool
- The design color is ideal for a business environment
- The price is extremely attractive, especially with the ‘$60 off’ discount that is currently on offer
- Both basic and advanced processes are covered in a comprehensive manner
- There are numerous online resources like tutorial videos and help guides to take you through each and every process in a step-wise manner
- The batch processes are noticeably faster than most other PDF editors
- Conversions are highly accurate, including text recognition and conversion between different file types and PDF
As such, we believe PDFelement Pro has the perfect combination of pricing, performance, and practical value to be a tremendous addition to your software portfolio. This is true whether you’re a one-woman entrepreneurial operation or a large multinational company operating in different countries. It just makes sense as a great alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.