Best free PDF editors and tweakers

When it comes to PDF, Adobe Acrobat is the king. However in the course of time appeared a lot of free applications that will do a fine job in creating PDF documents in various qualities, even encrypt, crop or otherwise change them. Here is a selection of the best.

PrimoPDF will let you create PDF files. The program won’t place watermarks or any ads, it will just print your file as pdf. All Office applications are supported just like any other program that includes a print option.

doPDF creates PDF files by selecting the “Print” command from any application. doPDF installs itself as a virtual PDF printer driver so after a successful installation will appear in your Printers and Faxes list. doPDF does not recognize links and bookmarks (there will be no tags in the PDF document).

PDF2Text Pilot provides a fast method of extracting text from multiple PDF documents: just select your PDF files, click Convert, and you will get text files containing the resulting texts from the PDF extraction. With batch processing, you can extract texts from a batch of PDF files to a corresponding number of files (or exporting the text of each into another text file), or to a single file (exporting the text of all PDF files into a single text file).

Simple Imposition will print a PDF document in booklet form, or on 2 pages per sheet in order to save paper. It can also lay out two duplicate copies side by side, or exploit the 2×1/2n layout.

7-PDF Maker will let you create convert from various documents to PDF and PDF /A-1, with no need of third party software. It supports tagged pdf files, exporting of notes to PDF, exporting of bookmarks to PDF.

PDF Anti-Copy re-processes all text and graphics in a PDF document making it impossible for anyone to copy or export any portion of it. The changed files still can be viewed in PDF readers, but copying and converting the content will not work. I must say that when I opened a PDF document with this program to test it, I was disappointed because it is a little slow. For a document of 160 pages it needed more than 3 minutes! However, I was really impressed with the result. The document kept all its formatting viewed as a PDF, everything was in its place, text and images, nothing changed, but nothing could be copied anymore or exported!

PDF24 will install a virtual printer that will let you convert any printable document or image to pdf. You can also import documents from your scanner, combine multiple documents into one and delete selected pages from existing PDF files.

NAPS2 will let you scan easily your documents from WIA- and TWAIN-compatible scanners, organize the pages as you like, and save them as PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, and other file formats.

Zilla converter
will allow you to convert pdf files to plain text files in batch mode. It will not recognise (ocr) text in pdf.

Perfect PDF Reader will let you open fast your PDF documents, export pages from the PDF file as images (BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, Metafile), select and copy text from PDF files.

Image to PDF Converter will let you convert one or more images to a PDF document. Image to PDF Converter will not install any print driver on your computer. In “Letter” mode it failed to shrink the images as necessary in order for all the content to appear intact, resulting in a document with cropped text!

WinScan2PDF lets you scan your documents and save them in PDF format, using any type of scanner you may have.

Quick PDF Tools will let you convert images to PDF, edit PDF properties, add and remove passwords, merge PDFs together, edit the initial view for PDFs, remove all bookmarks from PDFs, and more, from the Windows Explorer’s (right click) context menu.

jPDF Tweak can combine, split, rotate, reorder, watermark, encrypt, sign, and otherwise tweak PDF files. You can use jPDF Tweak to make printable booklets from your PDFs, to add PDF bookmarks, effects (page transitions), to combine multiple PDF files, to watermark them, to rotate pages that do not fit, to attach files to your PDF, to encrypt and sign your PDFs, to change metadata (like author or keywords), and more.

PDFrizator will help you create PDF presentations, even with PDF page transition effects, page advance time, and background music. This can be done for already existing PDF’s, or from various file formats supported, all of which can be converted and visually combined in the same project.

Briss will let you crop a PDF document visually, by drawing rectangles over its pages. Briss is designed to crop PDF pages in batch, but makes a distinction between odd and even pages, as these are often aligned differently in documents (such as ebooks).

Veusz is a scientific plotting and graphing package, designed to produce publication-ready Postscript or PDF output. Veusz doesn’t support 3D plotting. It is probably too difficult to use for the average person with no scientific / math / computing experience.