PDFelement offers every PDF-editing tool you’ll ever need – and more. And when you consider that the cheapest subscription to Acrobat Pro is £181 inc VAT per year, it’s an absolute bargain. A Pro option ($129) adds OCR, but the Standard variant we tested is likely to be enough for most users. 

PDFelement handled even the largest PDFs with ease. Basic functions such as inserting, splitting, replacing and extracting pages are controlled via a neat flatplan interface, and reordering pages is a simple drag-and-drop process.

The editing tools are amongst the best we’ve used: fonts are recognised straight away and you can tweak a text box’s content, colour, position and size by simply clicking on it. The watermark tool brings up a handy preview dialog, where you can specify its opacity and whether you’d like it above or behind the text. 

Meanwhile, the Comment tab is a proofreader’s dream: you can highlight, underline and strikethrough text – as well as add boxes, callouts and sticky notes. If you’re part of a multi-person workflow or often work with sensitive information, there’s a range of stamps such as “Approved”, “Void” and “Confidential” to drag onto the page.

The Form tab lets you add forms with tick boxes, lists, images and data signatures, which is useful if you require customer or colleague feedback on a document. What would otherwise take ten minutes to create in Word takes a fraction of the time in PDFelement.

Then there’s privacy. The redact tool under the Protect tab allows you to black out text, with planned deletions appearing with a red border before you confirm them. You can also encrypt, password-protect and digitally sign a PDF, or permanently remove information.

You’re well covered in the compatibility department: conversion to TXT, RTF, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files are PDF editor staples, but you can also transform your document into often overlooked formats such as EPUB and HTML. What’s more, the software provides time-saving buttons to share PDFs directly to Dropbox, Google Drive or, if you need specific eyes on your document, email. 

In short, PDFelement is stuffed with convenient features, while doing the basics exceptionally well. And, in a world of subscriptions, the ability to buy it outright for a reasonable price only sweetens an already lip-smacking deal.

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