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Some Free (and Freemium) PDF Editing Software for Nonprofits

Graphic DesignMultimedia & DesignDocument Management

Digital document product, graphic design, and audio/video editing are increasingly becoming software staples and requirements for any nonprofit organization. Fortunately, there are plenty of software options to choose from that are free and easy to use for your nonprofit. We’ve done the research for you and rounded up great suggestions for image and document-related programs.

This four-part blog post series will cover these four types of applications: PDF editing software, publishing and typesetting software, vector editing software, and finally, photo editing software.

We’ll share two options for each product: one advanced application for the designer pros, and one easy-to-use option for the novices and “aspiring” designers.

We’ll list every application and share the pros and cons with you so that you can ultimately decide what type of application could be best suited for your organization’s needs. Some have free and premium options (known as the “freemium” pricing model), while others are completely free. This means that you can try all of these programs at no cost to your organization.

We’ll start this first post with the applications to create and edit files in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Why would your nonprofit need a PDF editor software?

Your nonprofit will need an application to not only view files in Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet, but to create and edit files as well. A good software application should have the full functionality to create, edit, convert, digitally sign, encrypt, export and publish PDF files.

If you’re looking for a free option to view, create, manipulate, print, and manage files in PDF, here are two options that are both available in desktop and online versions. Both of these options enable users to create/edit PDFs and to fill out PDF forms.

The key difference is that the first alternative is web-based and requires Internet connection. The second alternative is a desktop version that may be better suited for users without access to a stable, reliable Internet connection.


Apowersoft’s Online PDF Editor  

Apowersoft’s Online PDF Editor (also called ApowerPDF) is a comprehensive PDF editor that offers all the editing features that any advanced editor would need to edit and create PDF files. The product name “ApowerPDF” applies to both a web-based app as well as a desktop-based PDF editor — we strongly suggest you use the web-based version. The desktop version is a trial version of expensive premium software, but the online version is free and allows you to edit and create PDF files with many of the principal functions required to create and edit PDF files.

Launching Apowerpdf online

Image showing: how to launch the Apowersoft online PDF Editor in the (web-based) version 

Is Apowersoft’s Online PDF Editor free? Yes, but only the web-based version is! The desktop version is a trial version of premium software with limited functionality.

Is there a version of this software that doesn’t require an Internet connection? Yes, there is a desktop version but as a free trial, it offers limited functionality (and the full premium version is quite expensive). The better option is the web-based version, but it requires an Internet connection.

Is Apowersoft’s Online PDF Editor compatible with Windows and MacOS? Yes! It works on both operating systems.

APowerPDF Interface

Image showing: The ApowerPDF interface

Pros

  • Full functionality in the online version: The web-based version has all the features you would expect of a premium PDF editing software including: customizing your PDF files by merging, splitting, deleting, and rearranging pages.
  • Simplified text formatting: It is one of the easiest online PDF editors to use due to its simple and clean user interface. You can insert text and images into your PDF files the same way you would with a Word document. Plus you can highlight, add notes, or underline any section of your document.
  • Work with multiple files: the tabbed design makes it possible to work with multiple files at the same time.
  • OCR technology to scan documents: Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology allows you to scan paper documents and turn their content into searchable, editable text in a PDF document.
  • PDF Conversion options: PDF files can be converted to GIF, JPEG and/or Word file formats.
  • Document encrypting: allows you to set a password to your PDF documents for better security.

Cons

  • Watermarks: The online version lacks a tool to remove watermarks from documents. Only the desktop version (in its paid version) allows you to remove watermarks.

APowerPDF Text

Image showing: how to edit text and images in the ApowerPDF

Where can you learn how to use ApowerPDF?

ApowerPDF has a user guide online to show you how to use its full features and functions, as well as YouTube videos to walk you through basic tasks like editing PDF images or reducing PDF file sizes.

Is ApowerPDF the right application for you?

Both basic and advanced users of PDF editing software should find Apowersoft’s Online PDF Editor easy to use in its simple interface. It allows you to create a PDF from scratch, a feature usually found in premium products only. However, you do need stable Internet access to use the web-based version, so if connectivity is an issue at your nonprofit, this option may not work for you.


PDF-XChange Editor

PDF-XChange is an easy to use and fast PDF editor that comes in both a free version and premium version. The free version contains all of the main features you need to not only view and edit PDFs, but also create them from scratch. Most importantly (for nonprofits with connectivity issues), this software is available as a desktop application, so it doesn’t require an Internet connection to use.

Is PDF-XChange Editor free? Yes, but only in the ‘Freemium’ or basic version. You have the option of upgrading to a paid version to access the additional and/or more advanced features.

Is there a version of this software that doesn’t require an Internet connection? Yes! It is a desktop publishing application that can be used without an Internet connection.

Is PDF-XChange Editor compatible with Windows and MacOS? Yes! It works on both operating systems.

PDF-XChange Editor Edit Image

Image showing: how to edit text in PDF-XChange Editor

Pros

  • In-text editing and annotation tools: you can edit, delete, and reformat text (including fonts that you may not have installed on your PC). Plus you can split PDFs, extract pages, and attach comments to track your changes.
  • Most features available in ‘Freemium’ version: A majority (more than 60%) of the features are available in the free version, giving you most of the tools you’ll need. The remaining features are only available in the premium version but they are clearly identified.
  • OCR technology to scan documents: Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology allows you to scan paper documents and turn their content into searchable, editable text in a PDF document.
  • PDF Conversion options: you can convert scans, image files, Word, .txt or .rtf files into PDF.
  • Document encrypting: allows you to set a password to your PDF documents for better security.

Cons

  • Watermarking if premium tools are used: Some tools are only available to use in the premium version, but they appear in the toolbar and are marked with a shopping cart icon. If you do you use a premium feature, then your document will be watermarked. Just keep an eye out for a warning message underneath the main toolbar before saving your work to see if any watermark was added.

PDF-XChange Editor Comments

Image showing: how to insert notes into the PDF-XChange Editor

Where can you learn how to use PDF-XChange Editor?

PDF-XChange Editor has a list of online tutorials (including videos) to walk you through how to use the menu tools and how to complete basic editing and formatting tasks.

Is PDF-XChange Editor the right application for you?

Both basic and advanced users of PDF editing software should find PDF-XChange easy to use in its simple interface. It allows you to create a PDF from scratch, a feature often only found in premium editors. The freemium or basic version has all the basic tools you will likely need for your organization whether you have reliable Internet access or not. 


We’ve now covered great suggestions for web-based and desktop options for PDF editing software. In our next post, we’ll share our suggestions for great publishing and typesetting software.

Commentaires

Interesting

That was a good breakdown. Thanks

Glad to help with the breakdown!

We're glad it's a good breakdown! The rest of the series will also cover publishing and typesetting software, vector editing software, and photo editing software. They will all be presented in the same format. So check those out as well!
 
Best,
Yasmine (Communications Coordinator)