Best freeware for PDFs
October 11, 2019 12:14 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone sorted through the Adobe Acrobat-mimicking freeware (or "cheap-ware?") to figure out which is best? Here is literally all I want to do: highlight words; add comments; and insert, delete, and rearrange pages. Even any one of these would be super helpful. Is it possible to get this for less than $8-15/month in some way? I'm willing to pay some small one-time cost. Thanks for any recommendations!
posted by salvia to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
It's not free, and I've only used the Linux version, but Master PDF Editor is legit and far better than Adobe products despite the silly name and slightly questionable looking website. I'm happy to have paid the one time $70 fee.
posted by eotvos at 12:41 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've used Foxit which I'm sure at least does highlighting - there's a freeware version
posted by crocomancer at 12:41 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Are you on a PC? Because if on a Mac, Apple’s Preview handles all of the above.
posted by spitbull at 1:01 AM on October 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

Here's a list. I used to use PDF Xchange quite a lot and remember it being pretty fully-featured.
posted by voiceofreason at 1:53 AM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I am on a PC. Thanks for the suggestions so far. I'll look into these.
posted by salvia at 2:10 AM on October 11, 2019

You might care to have a play with the online PDFescape and see if that can do what you want. It's all I use any more for the kind of minimal PDF editing I ever need to do, and it's nice not to have to worry about whether whatever box I happen to be using has got editing software installed or not.
posted by flabdablet at 4:06 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Whichever one you choose, pay careful attention to hidden or deceptively worded installer options. Free PDF programs have a nasty reputation of sneaking in toolbars and/or browser hijackers (esp on a PC).
posted by jeremias at 5:19 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I use drawboard on windows. It’s fine, and I’m pretty sure I never paid for the premium version.

I really love it for signing documents
posted by Valancy Rachel at 6:27 AM on October 11, 2019

Another vote for Foxit Reader. The UI mimics Micorosft Office apps, which makes it easy to pick up if you are a user of those.
posted by briank at 7:06 AM on October 11, 2019

FoxIt Reader for annotations. PDFill for page insert/delete/reorder.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:17 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have used smallpdf happily for a while.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:51 AM on October 11, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all of these recommendations!
posted by salvia at 4:50 PM on October 11, 2019

Another vote for PDF-Xchange. Am (still) in the evaluation stage but it does everything I want it to do, and then some (i.e. print 2-up and 4-up booklets).
posted by scooterdog at 6:01 PM on October 11, 2019

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