PDF-XChange Editor review: Edit, annotate, and secure PDF documents

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Staff Writer

Joined: Nov 2016

At a glance

Expert’s Rating
ProsIntuitive interfaceExtensive editing toolsFully functional free versions availableConsFree versions watermark documents when you use certain toolsOur VerdictPDF-XChange Editor is has a boatload of features, for creating, editing, annotating, and securing PDF documents. The fully functional free versions offer plenty for many users, but you’ll have to pay to remove watermarks.

Best Prices Today: PDF-XChange Editor

Tracker Software’s PDF-XChange Editor evolved out of PDF-XChange Viewer, a popular freemium PDF viewer for Microsoft Windows. The editor has a devoted following of users, many of whom crown it as the best alternative to Adobe Acrobat. While that’s debatable, it is a worthwhile option with professional editing capabilities.

The editor comes in two paid tiers. PDF-XChange Editor, which allows you to edit text and graphics, annotate and secure documents, and create and convert PDF files, costs $56 for a single license. PDF-XChange Pro — which is actually a bundle of three different tracker software products: PDF-XChange Standard, PDF-Tools, and PDF-XChange Editor Plus — adds advanced features including the ability to create interactive forms, virtual printing, and advanced image editing tools. It costs $121 for a single license. There are fully functional free versions of both offerings that merely add a watermark to all documents.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best PDF editors to learn about competing products.

PDF-XChange Editor design and features

The editor uses a ribbon interface with tabs denoting the main functions across the top. Selecting a tab opens a bar of tools for that particular function. A left sidebar that displays when a PDF is opened includes tools for viewing thumbnails, attachments, comments, and other elements of the current document. Open PDFs are displayed in the main window; and each document is displayed in its own tab.

PDF-XChange Editor lets you sanitze PDF documents of hidden data.

Michael Ansaldo/Foundry

To edit the text content of a PDF, you select the Edit Text button from the Home tab. This activates individual text boxes around each paragraph. You simply click on a box to make that text editable and make your changes. Object editing works similarly, placing a box around the image so you can resize or reposition it.

The editor includes an extensive range of annotation options, including callouts, sticky notes, drawing tools, highlighters, and stamps. You can also add 3D annotations and audio and video comments.

Documents containing sensitive information can be managed with a variety of tools found on the Protect tab. You can control access to the file with passwords and encryption and enable editing permissions. You can also redact text and sanitize the document of hidden elements such as metadata and links.

Documents containing sensitive information can be managed with a variety of tools found on the Protect tab.

The editor includes many annotation tools including sticky notes, callouts, and highlighters.

Michael Ansaldo/Foundry

Is PDF-XChange Editor worth it?

With a dozen tabs on the toolbar, PDF-XChange Editor can feel a little overwhelming at first. However I was able to find everything I needed with a little intuitive exploring. If you’re not as familiar with PDF editors, the Tracker Software website offers straightforward tutorials with step-by-step instructions for virtually every critical task. For everything else, there’s a robust support forum you can access through the software’s help menu.

It might not be as comprehensive as Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, but PDF-XChange Editor fulfills the most common editing needs at a very affordable price.

Best Prices Today: PDF-XChange Editor


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