What is the best alternative to Adobe Acrobat?

With the goal of creating digital documents, Adobe Acrobat first hit the marketplace way back in 1993. Today’s iteration has the ability to create, edit, convert, digitally sign, encrypt, export and publish PDF files. It’s safe to say that this goal was met (and then some)!

Playing an important role in the day to day running of business in fields such as Real Estate, Government, Legal Services, Financial Services and many more, the ability to manipulate PDF documents is a necessity. The issue for some, or many, can often be the financial outlay that comes with this, and many other, Adobe products. While certain businesses have the budget and justification for this outlay, others, often looking to make simple edits, need alternatives to satisfy their position.

In order to help make sense of what other options are out there for you, the following post will discuss the best alternatives to Adobe Acrobat (after clarifying a few housekeeping points first).

What is a PDF?

As outlined above, Adobe Acrobat’s main function can, simply, be seen to be the manipulation of PDF files. You may ask yourself, however, what is a PDF? A Portable Document Format, or PDF as it is more commonly (and easily) known as, is a file format developed by Adobe to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.

Why do I even need an alternative to Adobe Acrobat?

You may be asking yourself, if Adobe invented the PDF and Adobe Acrobat was the first software to allow the editing of such files, how are there even alternatives to this? Is the PDF itself not something that is a proprietary possession of Adobe? This was true until July 1st, 2008 when the PDF proprietary format was released as open standard.

This release allowed for developers to not only use the PDF file itself, but also create their own programs for the manipulation of said documents. This added competition to the marketplace has led to a constant development of PDF editing software; to the point where there now needs to be a conscious decision as to which version to buy. This is where we hope to help.

Our recommendations

Best Free Alternative to Adobe Acrobat

PDFescape Online PDF Editor

If you are looking for a quick fix to an urgent matter then the always free PDFescape Editor allows you to perform any of the following actions from within your browser.

  • Edit PDF Files

  • Annotate PDF Documents

  • Fill Out PDF

  • Create Basic PDF Forms

  • Password Protect PDF Files

  • Share Documents Online 

  • View PDF Files

While this tool can certainly help some users, please keep the old adage of “you get what you pay for” in mind. When sometime is free, there is usually a limit as to what it can do.  

Best Value Alternative to Adobe Acrobat

Corel PDF Fusion

Corel PDF Fusion (Download)

PDF Fusion for Windows from Corel is an all-in-one PDF creator that lets you view, assemble, edit and create PDF files. While the feature list may not be as expansive as some of its competitors, the current price point (between £20-25) is certainly appealing to both individuals and small businesses who are looking for a reliable, budget friendly alternative to Adobe Acrobat.

Best All-Round Alternative to Adobe Acrobat

Kofax Power PDF Advanced

Kofax Power PDF Advanced 3 Download

Formerly Nuance Power PDF Advanced, but now Kofax branded since their acquisition of the Nuance Document Imaging (NDI), there has been continued development and sustained improvement to this powerful software over the years. With key features such as intuitive fillable form creation, effortless file conversion, advanced security (redaction) abilities and much more, this PDF editing tool has all your business needs covered. What’s even better is that the software is available as a one time purchase (as opposed to Adobe’s subscription based Creative Cloud) at a great price point (under £130 if you buy from us at UKTechStore.com - interested? Click here). Please also keep in mind, for individual users not so concerned about specific features such as redaction, the Kofax Power PDF Standard is also a great, affordable alternative to Adobe Acrobat.


As with every purchasing decision, a lot of your final decision will be made on personal preference and environmental influence. With this being said, we still hope that the information above has opened your eyes not only to how and why the PDF file came to be, but also to a few alternatives you have if the traditional Adobe Acrobat is just not for you.

We certainly hope you take our advice and go for one of our recommended products. If not then we still what to help you make the best decision for your own needs; so we leave you with this checklist of key features that should be present in any top PDF editing software:

  • Convert PDF from other file formats (.doc, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.)

  • PDF for scanned print media

  • Create your own PDF document

  • Convert PDF to various other formats

  • Search text and edit using OCR technology

  • Optimize texts for reading with tags (e.g. for voice playback)

  • Edit PDF like text document (e.g. Add, edit, and delete text, modify images, set links) 

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