The Best Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat


Do you find Adobe Acrobat PDF editor costly and difficult to use for personal or business purposes? Find here the best Adobe Acrobat alternatives you can try instead.

Though Adobe Acrobat is the leader in PDF creation, reading, and editing, it’s not the only software in the market. In the software industry, no one application is suitable for all sorts of business or personal needs.

You might be looking for the best PDF editor that’s easy to use without any significant learning curve. Sometimes, you do PDF editing occasionally, and you’re not okay with paying a hefty price to own Adobe Acrobat PRO features.

Most importantly, if your business is on a tight budget you must make do with the affordable or free alternatives to Adobe Acrobat. Not to mention, you can’t compromise the features and quality of work the PDF editing software must offer.

Now, finding such features in one PDF editor tool will require you to search the internet for days. Instead, read this article until the end to figure out which is the best Adobe Acrobat alternative you must get!

What Is Adobe Acrobat?

Adobe Acrobat is a software suite designed for creating, editing, and managing Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Developed by Adobe Systems, it enables you to convert various file types into universally readable PDFs, maintaining consistent formatting across devices.

The first version of Adobe Acrobat was released in June 1993, making it one of the earliest PDF software tools.

Adobe Acrobat offers an array of features, including text and image manipulation, document merging, annotation tools, and digital signature capabilities.

It has become a standard tool for professionals and businesses to share and collaborate on documents seamlessly. Although its complexity and pricing have led to the emergence of alternatives to this PDF editing tool.

Reasons to Get Adobe Acrobat Alternatives

Find below why you might need to look for an alternative to Adobe Acrobat reader and editor tool:

  • You’d like to see if any PDF editing tools offer similar functions you get from Adobe Acrobat at a significantly low cost.
  • You’re also looking to provide additional licenses or app access to other users in your team or business.
  • You consider Adobe Acrobat a bit complicated for reading, annotating, editing, and creating PDFs.
  • You need an Adobe Acrobat alternative that’s lightweight and works on most computers.
  • You’re looking for drag-and-drop PDF editing and annotating.
  • Personal and business data security is also of paramount importance to you.
  • The known issues of the Adobe Acrobat reader and editor are slowing down your productivity. You’d like to get an alternative to Adobe Acrobat that’s reliable and doesn’t break when you need to edit a PDF file urgently.

One of the most popular and buzzing PDF editors that you can try right away which includes all the above reasons is the Icecream PDF Editor.

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How We Picked the Adobe Alternatives

When downloading or buying an alternative PDF editor for personal or business use, consider the following features and functionalities:

  • The software comes with OCR technology to create editable characters on the document.
  • It must offer the option to import different files like Word, HTML, scanned images, etc., as a PDF and edit its content.
  • The software shouldn’t reduce the content quality significantly when editing, saving, or creating PDFs.
  • Read PDFs quickly and easily.
  • The tool should offer features like annotation, page management, form filling, etc.

Now that you’re all set to get the best Adobe Acrobat competitors, let’s explore below some of the great options you can choose from.

Ranking Adobe Acrobat Alternatives Features and Best For
Icecream PDF Editor
The most reliable, trusted, and cost-effective PDF editing and composing tool for households, professionals, freelancers, and businesses
Soda PDF Online
Basic PDF editing on the cloud and desktop
Nitro PDF Editor
Offers online collaboration besides PDF editing
PDF Candy
A robust PDF conversion tool; 46+ PDF editing functionalities
CutePDF Editor
A free and web-based PDF editor with a 10 MB file size limit
PDF24 Edit PDF
Basic PDF editing features like drawing items on PDF, adding images, etc.
Foxit PDF Editor
A premium PDF editing and eSigning tool suitable for enterprise-level businesses
LibreOffice Draw
A PDF editor with offline functionalities and advanced UI; the UI is complicated
Offers advanced PDF editing for free: Complicated UI
Open-source PDF editing and annotation tool

1. Icecream PDF Editor

Icecream PDF Editor is one of the best PDF apps and No.1 Adobe Acrobat Alternative you can get. It comes with most of the features that Adobe Acrobat provides but for free.

Also, if you upgrade to its PRO version, you get to use all of its features for unlimited PDF documents. Its upgraded version is a better value for any personal, professional, and business use cases when compared to Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Icecream PDF Editor.

Key Features

  • Free PDF reader and annotation tool
  • Edit all common PDF elements like contents, texts, shapes, and images
  • Delete objects easily, and add new content to the same place
  • Change position, style, and resize PDF objects
  • Fill in PDF forms
  • Manage PDF pages


  • Lightweight PDF editor that runs well on all kinds of Windows PCs
  • Drag and drop editing and annotation capabilities
  • Sleek and clutter-less user interface
  • Suitable for novice to advanced-level PDF users


  • The Mac edition isn’t out yet

Download: Windows

2. Soda PDF

Soda PDF offers a few essential PDF editing features for free. However, most of its other PDF tools and full features are behind a paywall. It works online so you don’t need to install an app on your PC. It has a different web app for a list of PDF tools from which you can choose other features for PDF manipulating tasks.

Soda PDF.

Key Features

  • Limited PDF editing tools like Add text, Edit text, Add image, etc.
  • Convert or merge PDFs
  • Email PDFs


  • Free version available
  • PDF E-sign


  • The Windows app requires an internet connection

Download: Windows

3. Nitro PDF Editor

Nitro PDF Editor is another premium PDF tool and a go-to choice for businesses and professionals when they require an Adobe Acrobat alternative for any reason. Nitro PDF is slightly cheaper than Adobe Acrobat DC but costly as compared to the other PDF editors listed above.

Nitro PDF Editor.

Key Features

  • OCR technology to make PDFs editable
  • File, links, and image embedding
  • Built-in PDF conversion module


  • Drag-and-drop annotation
  • Online collaboration


  • The free trial is behind a registration form
  • eSign is available in a separate paid plan
  • PDF editing & eSigning bundle require you to buy more than 20 licenses

4. PDF Candy

If you’re looking for an all-in-one PDF editor at an affordable cost but without compromising on the features, you can also try PDF Candy. It’s an online and offline PDF converter that can handle up to 20+ formats.

Besides the converter, it also comes with more than 46 PDF tools like Edit PDF, Merge PDF, PDF to Word, Split PDF, and many more. Thus, it’s one of the best free alternatives to Adobe Acrobat.

The best thing is if you need to quickly share an edited or converted PDF with someone, you can create shareable links or upload the file directly to Google Drive and Dropbox. For offline work, you can get the Windows app too.

PDF Candy.

Key Features

  • No sign-up PDF converting web app
  • Direct upload PDFs or other files from Google Drive and Dropbox
  • Edit PDF content metadata
  • Drag-and-drop PDF conversion and editing


  • Free to use online and desktop app
  • No watermarks on the outputs from a free edition of PDF Candy
  • Encrypted web app for data security
  • Delete File feature


  • There’s an hourly limit and file conversion queue in the free version

Download: Windows

5. CutePDF Editor

CutePDF Editor is a web-based PDF editing tool that requires a web browser and a constant internet connection for the best experience. You can get started using the tool without creating an account. CutePDF Editor uses necessary security features to protect your uploaded files but you must close your files to ensure data security.


Key Features

  • The web app comes in a dark mode
  • Drag-and-drop file loading


  • Available for free
  • SSL encryption


  • Page limit of 300 pages
  • File size limit of 10 MB

6. PDF24 Edit PDF

Do you need an Adobe Acrobat alternative to quickly edit PDF files without going through a complex software setup process? You can try PDF24 Edit PDF for free. For occasional usage, it’s a reliable tool.

However, its PDF editing capabilities are limited compared to PDF Bob Online PDF Editor. The latter is also free and popular among professionals and business owners as an effortless online PDF editor.


Key Features

  • Free drawing on a PDF
  • Add images, shapes, and texts


  • Available for free
  • No signup web app


  • Substandard resolution for edited content
  • You can’t edit texts

7. Foxit PDF Editor

Foxit PDF Editor is a premium and enterprise-grade PDF editor and eSigning software. Though it's an affordable alternative to Adobe Acrobat if you need eSigning capabilities, and it’s much costlier than Adobe Acrobat and all other PDF editors.

If your business depends on an excessively large number of PDF file processing along with eSigning, you can consider Foxit PDF.


Key Features

  • Create and edit PDFs from scratch
  • Fill up PDF forms
  • Real-time PDF editing for remote teams


  • Works offline and online
  • eSigning can be embedded in the same tool


  • It’s a bit heavy software and requires a high-performance PC
  • Cluttered user interface
  • Steep learning curve
  • Text editing is buggy

8. LibreOffice Draw

LibreOffice Draw comes as a free application with the LibreOffice Suite. It's primarily for graphics and wireframe document creation. It also enables you to create flowcharts and diagrams. However, you can also load PDF files on the app for editing purposes.


Key Features

  • Create large PDF files for wireframes or blueprints in 300cm x 300cm size
  • Add 3D objects to PDFs
  • Allows extensive editing and annotations


  • Available for free
  • Runs offline


  • Cluttered user interface
  • Steep learning curve


WPS PDF is a part of the WPS Office suite. It enables you to convert various file types to PDF and edit as well. It's a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader and Editor. However, you must install the whole WPS Suite just to use the WPS PDF.


Key Features


  • Available for free
  • Compress PDFs


  • Complex user interface
  • Steep learning curve

Download: Windows | Mac | Linux

10. PDFedit

PDFedit is an open-source editing and library tool. It’s available for Unix and Windows-based systems. It offers both a command line and a graphical user interface to modify PDFs.


Key Features

  • Basic text editing like deleting and inserting texts
  • Add and delete images
  • Annotate PDFs using comments and highlights


  • Open-source editor good for in-house development
  • Free to use
  • Lightweight Unix and Windows app


  • Windows app has many bugs
  • Windows app is still in its beta phase


Are there alternatives for OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in PDFs?
Yes, alternatives like ABBYY FineReader, PDF-XChange Editor, and Adobe Scan offer OCR capabilities to convert scanned text into editable content.
What alternatives are suitable for form filling?
Icecream PDF Editor offers a convenient feature to fill in PDF forms.
What alternatives offer a similar user interface to Adobe Acrobat?
Alternatives like Foxit PhantomPDF and Icecream PDF Editor are designed with interfaces that are similar to Adobe Acrobat, making the transition easier.
Do these alternatives support encryption for PDFs?
Yes, many Adobe Acrobat Reader alternatives, offer features for password protection and encryption to secure PDF documents.

Adobe Acrobat Alternatives - Choose the Right One

So far, you’ve gone through the ultimate list of the best Adobe Acrobat alternatives for PDF creation, reading, and editing purposes.

By comparing the features offered by all the above PDF editing tools and their cost, Icecream PDF Editor is the best option for personal and business use cases.

For online PDF editing and converting, the best tool you should try is PDF Candy.

Try these apps today and witness significant productivity in PDF production and editing workflows in your business or professional setup.

Tamal Das

Expert Tech Writer

Tamal is a tech writer at Icecream Apps. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies. Now, he’s a professional content writer of B2B and B2C software products and also a meticulous software reviewer whose reviews on applications and web apps have been published in reputed technology websites. He has already been published on such reputable sites like MakeUseOf, Geekflare, AddictiveTips. When he’s not writing, he researches the internet and technology journals to stay updated about the latest happenings in the SaaS industry.
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