Top 5 Free PDF Converters of 2023
Converting a PDF file to any other file is the bane of existence to many, and for a good reason. Is it complicated to convert a PDF file to a DOC file, or JPG, Excel, and vice versa? In this article, I'll help you find the best PDF converter for your needs - user-friendly, efficient, secure, and most of all free.
How I picked PDF converters
In this compilation of the best free PDF converters, I am only featuring tools that are straightforward to use. The criteria for choosing them include:
- No registration required;
- No credit card information required;
- No watermarks on the free plan;
- Straight-up can be used without any further setup.
Just to note, I tested all of these PDF applications myself while writing this article. I tried several more before coming up with a shortlist. That being said, here are the top 5 tools to convert PDF in 2023.
1. Icecream PDF Converter
The Icecream PDF Converter is a free PDF converter that works on Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 7, and XP. It works offline without any limit.
There may be times when you only need to convert a specific page or page range. This program does that job nicely. You can simply state which pages you'd want to convert from or to. No need to split or remove pages from PDF before conversion. It saves a lot of time especially when your PDF or other format document has hundreds of pages!
Summary of features:
- PDF Converter works offline.
- Pro license includes 2 keys for Windows PC.
- Batch processing of files to and from PDF and other file formats.
- Works offline and security and privacy are guaranteed.
- Implemented OCR feature and customizable settings.
- Can convert images to PDF, spreadsheets to PDF, document files like DOC, DOCX, ODT, RTF to PDF, and eBook file formats to PDF.
- Adjust PDF orientation like margin and size, and rotate pages.
- Works on Windows XP, 7, 8.1, 10, and 11.
The converter's batch upload is yet another nifty feature. If you want to convert several different file types to a PDF document, all you need to do is load all the files and click a button.
If you have HTML, DOC, Excel, JPG, XML, and other files, it will take care of everything in one go. No need to just batch convert for one file type at a time.
The program allows you to adjust the settings, such as choosing the image quality, picking the OCR language, and more. You can also convert PDF files that are password-protected. How neat is that?
Since this free PDF converter works offline, you can process large files seamlessly as you don't need to upload them to any servers. As an aside, this works perfectly well for those who take privacy and security seriously - nothing leaves your computer.
The free version is more than what's needed for casual users, but a lifetime license of $19.95 will remove all the limits that heavy users may ever need to use. These are page and batch file processing limits, and merging different formats into one PDF.
2. Soda PDF
Soda PDF is an online PDF converter and is another popular option for the casual user who needs to convert to or from different file types.
The online platform is easy to use and can convert PDF files to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, image file types, as well as HTML. You can also convert from PDF to HTML, DOCX, and TIFF.
Summary of features:
- Free online tool for basic conversion of PDF files.
- Can convert from PDF to HTML, DOCX, TIFF, and other image and document file types into PDF.
- OCR is a paid feature but a useful one in case you will need it.
- Has a desktop application that works on Chromebook, Windows, and Mac.
- Can choose files directly from Dropbox and Google Drive.
The free version is limited to 3 PDF conversions, as far as I was able to check, which works if you're just using it casually or to test.
If you would like to upgrade for professional, commercial, or heavier use, their pricing is quite straightforward at $12 per month. However, the OCR and other advanced features only unlock after the $15 tier.
There is also a desktop application that you can use while offline, and it works basically like the online version.
3. PDF Candy
PDF Candy boasts that it supports 20+ formats that you can convert to PDF. Some of the file formats you can convert to and from are DOCX, HTML, MOBI, EPUB, TIFF, PNG, BMP, RTF, PPT, ODT, XML, and many more.
You can also protect your PDF with a password in case you are dealing with sensitive information. The service can also help reduce your PDF file size without any loss in quality.
One thing that stands out perhaps is the OCR tool.
For the unacquainted, OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This makes it easier if you have scanned images that you need to convert into a clean document like DOC or PDF,. You certainly don't want to type it all out (because with scanned images or photos, you can't highlight and copy the text, right?).
With OCR, you can simply upload your file to the website and it will convert everything into a readable and editable text format. After which, you can convert your file into PDF. Easy!
Summary of features:
- Free online PDF converter that is easy to use.
- Can directly upload from Dropbox, Google Drive, or local.
- Pro plan supports bulk upload and PDF conversion.
- Can convert PDF to Word file, JPG, or other image type and 20 more formats.
- Has the OCR tool which is really cool!
- Has a bunch of other useful features to manage PDF files such as merging or editing PDFs, adding watermarks, and more.
The platform is free but does apply a limit of 2 tasks per hour. However, if you are a user who requires more power for bulk editing/conversions, consider getting a monthly subscription. It starts from $4/month and will enable you to create conversion tasks of up to 500 MB in file size.
SmallPDF is a popular online PDF converter with many additional tools to work on this file format. You can convert from PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or JPG, or turn to PDF from those formats. It's as straightforward as that.
Summary of features:
- Free tool to convert PDFs online.
- Has an entire suite of features for free users online.
- Their extended set of tools includes a mobile PDF scanner that works for both iOS and Android.
- Can unlock and protect PDFs.
- Supports converting PDF to JPG, DOC, PPT, and more.
- Loads files directly from the website cloud (PRO version), Google Drive, and Dropbox.
- Desktop application works on Windows (Mac is no longer supported as of October 1, 2021).
The website boasts about 21 tools included in their free plan, which includes file size compression, split or merge PDF files, and more.
Meanwhile, the PRO version is priced at $9/month and includes unlimited document downloads, a better compression algorithm, and the conversion of scanned PDFs to Word.
There is also a mobile application that you can use to scan actual documents, straight to the cloud for easy access. It can also convert directly to PDF, Word, and other file formats.
PDF2GO is the last free PDF converter in this list but it doesn't fall short of the features available.
Aside from its frictionless online PDF conversion tool that you can literally just use from the get-go. It offers a lot of advantages like supporting up to 100MB file size per task, 250+ supported formats, and more.
Summary of features:
- Free online PDF converter with a lot of other features.
- Supports up to 100MB file size per task.
- Supports conversion to popular document file types like DOC, DOCX, and RTF; eBook in EPUB, AZQ, and MOBI format; presentations in ODP, PPT, PPTX; spreadsheets in CSV, ODS, XLS, XLSX;
- Has the ability to turn PDF into a JPG and other image formats like GIF, PNG, SVG, TIFF, and more.
- File deletion after 24 hours for all plans including free (for privacy and security).
- Upload files directly from URL, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
Although limited, batch conversion to PDF on most file types is supported. It can convert 20 JPG files to PDF, while others are limited to 2 on the free plan.
The professional plan is billed annually at $6.50/month, which is perfect for students or professionals who need professional-grade tools for managing PDF files. The PRO plans to support up to 4GB files, which is crazy since I have yet to see an actual PDF file that big!
Features to Look for in a Free PDF Converter
When choosing a tool for converting your PDF files into another format, the answer might be simple. Virtually any free tool will do the job, especially if the document you are converting is just an ordinary one.
However, you still need to be picky when you are converting a more sensitive file, depending on the quantity and size as well.
|Integrations||To make your life easier, pick a PDF converter that has built-in support with other services like Google Drive and Dropbox. Imagine having dozens of PDFs to convert to DOC and all the steps you need to take to process them one by one. Skip this entire process and pick the ones that will take it directly from the source!|
|Bulk Conversion||If you're a one-time user, you won't need this feature. But for those who have literally hundreds of files to convert to PDF or vice versa, having a bulk conversion feature is a must. Otherwise, you'll end up slaving away for several hours. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools that provide bulk conversion services, although most of them are not for free. But then again, if you are using this for work or your business, you might as well pay a premium (not really expensive!) to get the job done correctly and efficiently.|
|File Editing||Additional features help you save time and avoid getting another app. In case you need to rearrange or delete pages, split PDFs, or add new content, a multitool service or app will make the job easier. Although this is already a PDF editor's domain, having these features in one place will save you from the hassle of finding another tool to use.|
Free PDF converters: Conclusion
Finding the best PDF converter doesn't have to be a hassle,. And it certainly doesn't have to break the bank. The tools I've laid out here are all user-friendly, secure, and effective, each offering its unique set of perks.
So, consider your needs, evaluate the features, and pick the one that suits you best. Be it casual conversion tasks or more high-stakes jobs, these free PDF converters have you covered with their basic and advanced plans.
With these tools in your arsenal, managing and converting your PDFs will be a breeze!