Free software for editing PDFs is hard to come by, but there are some excellent tools around if you know where to look. PDF documents are designed to look and behave exactly the same way on any device. That makes it a brilliant format for sharing, but editing them is another matter. Most office software and photo editors let you export documents in PDF format, but editing requires a dedicated tool. That's because PDF was initially a proprietary format owned by Adobe, and it still owns some of the technologies associated with it. Other companies can license those technologies, but only for a fee that's usually passed on to you \u2013 the user. There aren\u2019t many free PDF editors, and even fewer that won\u2019t leave your documents with unsightly watermarks. That's why we've rounded up the very best free PDF editing software that's free to use and won't add any unwanted extras to your work. There aren't many great free PDF editors, but ApowerPDF is the exception. It's remarkably powerful, and is a real challenge to some premium PDF software 1. ApowerPDF Edit your PDFs and even create new ones from scratch Great selection of editing tools PDF conversion options Can create PDFs from scratch There are two options on the ApowerPDF homepage: \u2018Launch Online\u2019 and \u2018Download Desktop\u2019. Despite appearances, these aren\u2019t the same tools. The desktop software is only a trial of a premium product, and will watermark your edited PDFs. The tool we\u2019re using here is the online editor, which has no such limitations. Click \u2018Launch Online\u2019 and you\u2019ll be prompted to download and run a small launcher app, after which the online editor will launch. You can edit text (including formatting), add text and images, encrypt documents with a password, convert your PDF to an image file and add comments. You can even create your own PDFs from scratch \u2013 a feature you\u2019ll usually only find in premium PDF editing software.\u00a0 Unlike the desktop application, there\u2019s no tool for removing watermarks from PDFs, but that\u2019s a minor quibble. ApowerPDF is a remarkable PDF editor; just make sure you\u2019re using the online edition. PDF-XChange Editor makes it easy to edit text in a PDF without the hassle of converting it into a Word document first 2. PDF-XChange Editor Another superb tool for editing text in PDFs, with built-in OCR Optical character recognition Text editing Splits and extracts pages If you need to edit the text in a PDF, PDF-XChange Editor is ideal. It lets you retype, delete, and reformat text, and adapts well if the document uses a font that isn\u2019t installed on your PC. You can also attach comments, split PDFs, and extract pages. One of PDF-Xchange Editor\u2019s best features is the ability to use OCR to recognize text in scanned documents \u2013 ideal if you only have a printout rather than the original file (a handout from a lecture, for example). Some of the features visible in the menus and toolbars are only available in the premium version of the software, PDF-XChange Editor Plus, but you can easily hover your mouse pointer over an icon to find out if it\u2019s included. If you go ahead and use a premium tool anyway (adding polygonal shapes or new text boxes, for example), your document will be watermarked. Look out for a warning message underneath the main toolbar before saving your work, just in case. Sedja is a free online PDF editor that offers cloud storage for your documents 3. Sedja An online-only free PDF editor with a great choice of tools Nothing to download Good selection of editing tools Cloud storage Sessions expire after three hours Free online PDF editor Sedja offers an excellent range of tools, with just one caveat: if you're still working after three hours and haven't saved your document, it will be deleted automatically. It's quite a generous time limit, but worth bearing in mind if your PDF needs a lot of work. You can add text, images and links, sign documents, add annotations, and insert ellipses and rectangles. There\u2019s also a \u2018whiteout\u2019 option, though this simply draws a white rectangle \u2013 it doesn\u2019t remove any data. There\u2019s no OCR either, so you won\u2019t be able to edit text in scanned PDFs. When you\u2019ve finished editing, click \u2018Apply changes\u2019 and you\u2019ll be able to download the document, send it to Dropbox or Google Drive, delete it, or access a shareable link. The link will expire after seven days. The desktop version of PDFescape is premium software with a price tag to match, but the online tool is free to use and works very well 4. PDFescape A free online PDF editor that lets you add new text and images Supports forms Lets you add media Free element is online-only There are two versions of PDFescape: a free web app and a premium desktop program. Here we're using the online editor; if you download the desktop software, you'll only receive a trial of the premium edition. PDFescape's online editor lets you create new text boxes on the page, but unfortunately there's no way to edit existing text. You can create simple geometric shapes and\u2013 as with Sedja, above \u2013\u00a0add white rectangles to obscure parts of the document when it's printed. PDFescape lets you select a picture from your PC, then drag a rectangle to insert it. You can insert text fields too, enabling you to create simple forms \u2013\u00a0a rare and welcome feature for a free PDF editor. Its name means 'split and merge', but this free PDF editor can do much more than that 5. PDFsam Basic A simple but well designed PDF editor for quick tasks Supports splitting and merging Lets you rotate pages Some features are time-limited The latter half of PDFsam\u2019s name is short for \u2018split and merge\u2019, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the Basic edition. You\u2019ll be offered a free trial of the premium version (including full editing, object insertion, secure signing, and OCR), but once that expires you\u2019ll be left with a simple but well designed tool for chopping large documents into manageable chunks, performing a PDF cut-and-shut, or extracting selected pages. You can also use PDFsam Basic to rotate pages, which is very handy if you\u2019ve accidentally scanned a document upside down. There are no tools for tweaking the actual content of the document, but all of PDFsam Basic\u2019s page-management options are very clearly laid out, and it\u2019s very clear which of the options shown in the main menu are only available in the premium edition.