Open-source alternatives to Adobe Acrobat for PDFs

If you’re reading this article, there is a good chance that you associate PDF editing with the name, Adobe. For most of the last three decades, the software giant has almost monopolized the PDF tools space.

To be fair, its premium PDF software, Adobe Acrobat, worked well for people looking to edit PDF files for professional and personal use. But the tool’s monopoly is often a problem for people seeking a free alternative to Acrobat.

As a result, developers began ideating an open source PDF editor for students and users without deep pockets. Today, this article will look at the best free alternatives to Adobe Acrobat and uncover what makes them tick.

What is an open-source PDF editor?

To see how quickly the average open source PDF converter found its way to people’s devices, you must first understand what open-source software means.

Open-source technologies have designs and functionalities open to the public for overall improvements. These software programs are unlike Adobe’s products in that only the company’s software teams can update and maintain Adobe tools’ source codes.

It’s no surprise that many open-source PDF editors have a lot more unique features than you’d expect from a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat.

An open-source PDF creator makes their source codes available to others. They take this step to attract more talents to their project, encourage collaboration, and give the product a chance to grow.

Why choose open-source editors?

Since open-source PDF editors are not commercial products, you can expect them to stay true to their original purposes. You won’t have to worry about corporate politics seeping into the features and operations of the PDF software.

What’s more? Most open source PDF creater and editors are feature-packed because many enthusiastic developers and designers stuff them with innovative tools. These editors also work smoothly on different devices because of the rigorous testing they’ve gone through.

Finally, many open-source editors are free or rely on voluntary donations, so if you are looking to edit PDF open source is the way to go.

9 open-source alternatives to Adobe Acrobat

With these tools’ innovative features, better user experience, and clutter-free interfaces, you may get confused about which ones to introduce to your team.

So to ease your search, look at the best nine open-source Adobe Acrobat alternatives.

Lumin PDF

As the fastest-growing PDF editor in the market today, Lumin PDF prioritizes features that users need over gimmicky ones. When using Lumin PDF, you will appreciate the speed of execution of its operations.

Expect this editor to handle PDF merging, splitting, and compressing faster than most other tools. So if you are using an older device, you don’t have to worry about the software slowing down during operations.

Finally, Lumin PDF offers you a 7-day trial period before paying for a premium plan if you want to.


Sejda is an open-source PDF editor gradually gaining ground among young professionals. With a 4.5-star rating on Google Workspace Marketplace and over half a million downloads, it’s on course to become a household PDF tool.

Sejda handles file conversion as smoothly as Adobe Acrobat; you can convert PDFs to Microsoft Office formats or HTML to PDF.

You can also compress PDFs and add images and texts to PDFs in a few steps. And if user reviews are worth their salt, you can rely on Sejda for consistently pleasing operations.

PDF Escape

If you are looking for an escape from the restrictive pricing of Adobe Acrobat, PDF Escape is the tool for you. This software is free as long as you use the online version.

PDF Escape allows you to open, read, and annotate PDF files. The tool also includes a PDF form feature for when you need to work on fillable PDF forms.

And for an open-source editor like PDF Escape to make appearances on reputable sites like CNET, PCWorld, and Mashable, it must be doing something right. 

PDF Candy

This PDF editor has forty-seven different operations, which is more than enough for most users.


From converting PDFs to Word documents and vice versa, editing metadata, and adding watermarks to PDFs, this software is capable on all fronts.

PDF Candy also lets you sign documents digitally and delete pages from PDFs all in a day’s work.


Wondershare is a regular entry on most lists of the best PDF editors available today. This software is more than a PDF editor because it has other tools for graphic design, video editing, and mobile device management.


Wondershare’s PDF suite consists of PDF Element, Document Cloud, and PDF Reader.

If you need an open source PDF create and editing tool, PDF Element has got you covered. Meanwhile, its PDF Reader takes care of more basic needs like opening PDF files. Lastly, the Document Cloud helps you manage your documents on cloud storage.

Nitro Pro

Editing PDFs on Nitro Pro is satisfyingly smooth. Using this software will make you appreciate the effort of its developers to ensure you get expected results every time you use the tool.

Nitro Pro isn’t free, but it has convincing selling points. This software aids remote work by streamlining task management; it ensures you don’t need to print documents to sign, tweak, or collaborate.

It’s impossible not to recommend Nitro Pro to you with features like infinite electronic signing, direct PDF generation from emails, and Google Drive integration.

Soda PDF

Soda PDF sticks the landing when managing PDF documents. It lets you tweak sentences, realign paragraphs, merge PDFs, and sign e-signatures.

And its OCR feature captures details in scanned documents better than the competition.

PDF Fusion

Corel PDF Fusion is one of the more expensive tools on this list. You can buy this software for $99 and use it for life instead of subscribing to plans as you’d do with Adobe Acrobat.

But after you get past the cost of this software, you will realize its value.

PDF Fusion has a feature that lets you combine multiple files into a PDF. It also lets you repurpose content, which is faster than copying and pasting.

PDF Expert

The final entry on this list only takes the last spot because it is a bit restrictive.

While PDF Expert works perfectly for MacBook, iPad, and iPhone users, it isn’t available to the Android and Windows communities. But if you use a compatible device, you will enjoy this software.

PDF Expert is fast, has a simple interface, and handles note-taking, text editing, and PDF data protection like a pro. If you don’t mind the $79.99 per year price tag, then go for it.


If you don’t want to use Adobe Acrobat for your PDF editing needs, feel free to try alternatives. Open-source editors are just as powerful and often cheaper than Adobe Acrobat.

Sure, choosing the most suitable one for your business can be tricky, especially if you don’t know anybody who uses them. But that is why an article like this exists.

The PDF editors recommended in this article are dependable, feature-friendly, and will meet your expectations no matter your workload and team size.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.