4 Best Free PDF Alternatives

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In the world of PDF viewing and editing, there are few names as prominent as Adobe. For years, the company has played a central role in allowing users to easily create, edit, and manage PDFs from their smartphones, tablets, and computers.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Adobe’s Acrobat or Acrobat Pro tools are the best options for everyone. Indeed, at $12.99 per month for the standard Adobe Acrobat DC and $14.99 per month for the pro version, Adobe’s solution may not be for everyone.

Realizing that, a host of companies have come along to offer alternatives to Adobe’s Acrobat tool. And in many cases, they offer their solutions free of charge, making them ideal for users who don’t necessarily need all of the extras you’d find in Acrobat.

So, if you’re looking for a free PDF alternative or you’re simply tired of using Acrobat, read on for our look at four compelling options:

Apple Preview

Apple’s Preview is an ideal choice for anyone who uses a Mac and doesn’t need every feature you’d find in Adobe’s Acrobat. It comes with the option to quickly markup PDFs and add things like signatures. And if you want to build your own PDF, Preview can help you do that, as well.

Keep in mind that Preview only works with Macs, so if you’re on a Windows machine, you’ll need to find an alternative. But if you’re in need of a handy tool that can let you quickly view and manipulate PDFs, Preview is a fine option.


If you want a cloud-based PDF editor, SmallPDF is among the top options on the market. It features the ability to quickly merge PDFs and convert them to Word documents. Add that to the ability to edit and e-sign PDFs and SmallPDF comes with features that you’d otherwise expect from Acrobat. Best of all, SmallPDF comes with the option to quickly compress PDFs — a savior when you have a big file and don’t know how to make it smaller.

SmallPDF, which comes with a handy portal for easily managing all of your PDFs in one place, offers a free tier with access to 21 different PDF editing tools. If you want to edit more than two documents per day, you can sign up for a Pro plan at $9 per month.


PDFescape is a handy tool if you don’t need all the bells and whistles you’d get from SmallPDF. In fact, with a simple drag-and-drop pane on its homepage, PDFescape may be one of the easiest PDF tools to use.

After uploading a PDF to the service, you can quickly edit PDF files, create new PDF forms, and even fill out PDFs from your browser. And if you want to annotate PDFs or password protect your PDFs, PDFescape can handle that, as well.

PDFescape is completely free and available only in the browser. It works with all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.


Sejda is another handy PDF editor that lives in the cloud. The service, which is available for free, but comes with paid tiers, offers more than 30 tools, including the ability to edit your PDF, compress file sizes, delete pages, and more. And since you can use it to create forms and even fill and sign documents, you can also use Sejda for contracts and other documents you want to create.

In addition to managing PDFs with Sejda, the tool also allows you to convert a variety of file formats to and from PDFs. For instance, you can use it to covert PDFs to spreadsheets or images. If you want to convert HTML or JPEGs to PDFs, Sejda can help you get the job done.

One more thing

Once you’ve created or modified your PDF, remember that AirDeck can be the next destination for that file. After uploading a PDF to AirDeck, you can easily add a video or audio narration and share the file with anyone else. It’s a handy way to get more out of your PDFs.

Get Started with AirDeck!