We present free alternatives to the expensive Adobe Acrobat and leaner alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. These free PDF programs are sufficient for many purposes. Plus: PDF services from the cloud.
Free PDF tools
© iStockphoto.com/Jacob Wackerhausen / Yuri_Arcurs
You can create PDF files (PDF stands for Portable Document Format) with the export function and / or the print function with Microsoft Office, Libre Office, Open Office or Scribus. However, specialized programs, which are almost always free of charge, are more suitable for editing or merging PDF files. You can save yourself the expensive Adobe Acrobat with our free tools. We present ingenious PDF programs, almost all of which are free.
1. Alternative to Adobe Acrobat: Bullzip PDF Printer
Bullzip PDF Printer is set up as an additional printer driver under Windows during installation. You can then create PDF files from any Windows application. For many areas of application, you can replace the paid Adobe Acrobat by calling up the printer dialog and specifying Bullzip PDF Printer as the target printer. In this case, your file will not be put on paper, but saved as a PDF file – possibly also password-protected and encrypted.
You can also edit PDFs using Microsoft Word 2013 and Word 2016.
Bullzip PDF Printer may be used by both private and professional users; use in companies is expressly permitted. According to the manufacturer, the free version of Bullzip PDF Printer has only one restriction: It only supports up to ten users, which should be sufficient in many cases.
In order to be able to use the free Bullzip PDF Printer, the free Ghostscript must be installed on your PC.
Download Bullzip PDF Printer
2. Another alternative to Acrobat: PDFCreator
Another free alternative is PDFCreator. The freeware is also installed as a printer driver and, if desired, even as a central network printer for several users. Every program with a print function can access the PDFCreator and start creating a PDF instead of a real printout.
Here we select PDFCreator as printer in the printer menu of MIcrosoft Word 2013.
The PDFCreator not only masters the creation of PDF files, but also PS, EPS, PCL, PNG, JPEG, BMP, PCX, TIFF, PSD. This is how you can quickly turn a text document into a photo format. You can also use it to automate the processes. PDFCreator also supports the long-term archiving format PDF / A.
The print menu of PDFCreator on the left and on the right the save window for the created PDF.
3. PDF SAM (PDF Split and Merge)
With the free PDF SAM (PDF Split and Merge) you can split your PDFs or merge several PDFs and / or rearrange the pages as you wish.
Download: PDF SAM
PDFill Tools is a free collection of tools for editing and creating PDF files.
veraPDF checks the suitability of a document for PDF / A. Explanation: A document that is saved as a PDF looks identical on all common operating systems and device types (PC, tablet, smartphone). The PDF / A format is particularly suitable for long-term archiving. PDF / X-1a, PDF / X-3 and PDF / X-4, on the other hand, are suitable for prepress.
6. PDF Xchange Editor
PDF XchangeEditor is suitable for touching up PDFs (there is also a paid version). This can be used, for example, to correct spelling mistakes in a PDF. Scanned documents can also be searched with it.
7. PDF-XChange Lite
With PDF-XChange Lite, even in the Lite version, you can easily create PDF files that you can pass on without having to worry about changes to the formatting. In the demo version of the converter, the PDF files are provided with a watermark.
Download: PDF Xchange Lite
Xodo can remove or rotate pages from PDFs or merge PDFs.
jSignPdf signs PDF files
10. PDF Accessibility Checker
With the PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) the accessibility of a PDF / UA can be checked.
On the next page we introduce more PDF tools.