PDF stands for the Portable Document Format which is a kind of file or document format, developed in the year 1993 by Adobe. Dating 2021, it is an absolute go to for any document in digital medium. Hence a best free pdf editor is a necessary for anybody. This format includes texts and images such that they are independent of any application software, operating systems, or hardware. This is one of the main reasons why PDF is preferred as one of the best ways to share documents as it encapsulates the entire document with the text, images, vector graphics, etc on a fixed layout. Also, read about: 4 Easy Ways To Save A Page As PDF In Mozilla Firefox In this article, we will cover everything about PDF file format, its features, and also check out some of the best free PDF editors that the users can use to edit, alter or change the format of the document from PDF to other formats like Word. Features of PDF file format Except for a few elements on the document that are coded in binary content, most of the content on a PDF document is of 7 bit ASCII characters. The PDF file is of two kinds of formats called the Non-linear format and the Linear format. The former is referred to as a non-optimized format as it takes a longer time to load and assemble when compared to the latter which is usually known as the optimized format as it is constructed systematically, hence, reducing the loading time. Some of the other features of PDF that one must know are mentioned here: Cross-platform file format PDF is the most reliable format that can be shared with anyone without worrying about the alignment, graphics, etc as it would deliver it the same way even if the receiving end does not have the same hardware or software to view it. The PDF file can be accessed using Adobe Reader and other viewers on various operating systems such as Windows, Android, and iOS (iPhone, iPad, Mac OS, etc). Hence, it is a useful cross-platform file format. Also, check out: 3 Best Ways To Create An Editable PDF File Highly secured file format Confidential information require secured means of sharing as well as its protection while delivered, especially on digital platforms. PDF has features like password-protection of up to 40-bit to 128-bit encryption and e-signatures. The password protection must be used to prevent unnecessary access to the document, however, now there are several tools to by-pass it. Also, read about: 5 Effective Ways To Remove PDF Password E-signature or electronic signature can be added by the user to the PDF document at the bottom for official or legal purposes by either writing the name or adding an image of the sign to the file. Preservation of the original file format The original file format is preserved as the PDF is the replica of the source file. All the information contained in the source file including fonts, videos, audios, illustrations, etc is kept the same. Another advantage is that the PDF file can be searched based on certain texts or words used in the document by metadata search. Some of them can be searched even after being scanned based on assistive technology. Free PDF editing software Now that we have understood the PDF file format and its features, let us check out some of the best free PDF editors that are user-friendly and helpful to edit or alter PDFs. Smallpdf The Smallpdf is a PDF edit tool with a simple and user-friendly interface through which images and texts can be added to the PDF files for free for a limited period. E-signatures can also be added using this tool. Further commenting and highlighting of texts that are previously stored in PDFs is possible to ease the editing process, especially when done amongst a group of editors. Oher tools useful for editing include a convertor used to change the format of the file into Word or Powerpoint files and single several PDFs can be combined to form a single document by using the modification tools. It functions as a cloud-based system, hence the software can be accessed anytime and anywhere, on devices that support its functioning. PDFelement The PDFelement is an efficient tool suitable as a PDF editor for Windows 10 and other versions of Windows including Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. It is also compatible with Mac OS from the 10.12 version. It is similar to Adobe Acrobat in terms of features and is well known for its standards as the best editing software for PDF files. It can be used for free over a limited period of time in which the user can enjoy the editing tools provided to alter PDF files whereas the paid version is a worthy alternative to other software as it has reasonable pricing. It is user-friendly, hence, can be easily used by beginners. It has great features to support the protection and security of the file and the OCR technology helps to extract or edit the PDF files from scanning. PDFescape The PDFescape is the best PDF editor to be used for editing small documents and it is available as an online tool that can be used by the users for free whereas it also has a paid desktop application version. Several online platforms allow free editing and conversion of PDF files and PDFescape’s online solution is similar to them. It has unique features like options to add or write freehand notes, add an active URL to the document that is clickable and the pages can be rotated, added, etc using the online version itself. One of the main flaws in this editing tool is that there is a maximum limit of document size that the user can upload. Only documents less than or up to 10MB can be uploaded, however, if you are using a normal book-sized page then it might not be an issue as a typical A4 sheet takes only up to 100kb of data Some other free PDF editing software are: PDFSam BasicFoxit Phantom PDFAbleWord PDF Editor In this article, we have focused on understanding the PDF file format and its unique features along with some of the best free PDF editors that users can use to edit, change formats, add content, etc to the PDF file. Hope this was useful to create and edit PDF files easily.