The Best 100% Free Nitro PDF Editor Alternative

The Nitro PDF editor and productivity suite is a pro-grade toolkit of PDF utilities with extensive features spanning nearly all essential PDF tasks. While the product itself is comparatively expensive, a lot of users are also disappointed by the fact that there's no Mac support under the Nitro banner itself. Mac support only comes from PDFpen and PDFPenPro, which was acquired in 2021 by Nitro for $6 million. But the product has a very different look and feel from Nitro products. Users can also take advantage of the Nitro PDF editor online but the features are highly limited if you're looking to use the online Nitro PDF editor free of charge.

UPDF: The Best Nitro PDF Editor Alternative for Mac and Windows

nitro pdf editor

Supporting both operating systems, UPDF is self-styled as the world's first free premium PDF editor for Windows and macOS. "Free" because there's absolutely no subscription or license purchase needed, and "premium" because it matches the bulk of features offered by premium PDF editors like Nitro PDF Pro and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Moreover, it's fast and can handle large workloads with ease.

What Are Some Key Features of UPDF?

  • PDF Editing - The primary goal of this free Nitro PDF editor alternative is to provide users with a seamless PDF editing experience no matter what content they want to add, remove, or modify. This includes images, hyperlinks, embedded objects, text, footers/headers, watermarks, pagination, backgrounds, etc. If there's something on a PDF, you can edit it with UPDF.
  • OCR - Optical character recognition or text recognition is the technology used to convert image-based content into editable or searchable content. UPDF OCR is an accurate way to convert scanned PDFs and image-based text into editable PDF files.
  • File Conversions To and From PDF - Create beautiful interactive PDF forms from scratch and convert PDF into numerous formats so they can be edited on their respective native apps such as MS Office for Excel, Word, etc., Photoshop for images, text editors for text, rich text, and HTML, eBook applications for ePub files, etc.
  • Annotations, Form Filling, and e-Signing - Electronically sign PDFs with digital signatures and handwritten signatures to legally authenticate or validate them. Extensive annotation tools allow you to highlight or comment on PDF content with total freedom. Forms can be filled in seconds with intuitive form-handling features like form field highlighting. Document workflows are much smoother with UPDF.
  • PDF Security - Password-lock PDFs or prevent unauthorized modifications, copying, or printing.
  • Organize PDFs - Split and merge entire PDF files, and manage pages easily with remove, replace, rotate, copy, crop, delete, and other tools.
  • PDF Printing - Dedicated Print Dialog with customizable printing options to print PDFs exactly the way you want them, with full control over dimensions, layouts, and other attributes.

Why UPDF Over Nitro PDF Pro?

  • Similar arsenal of essential and advanced PDF tools
  • 100% free vs $130 for PDFpenPro and $180 for Nitro PDF Pro
  • Consistent experience across Windows and Mac - not the same with Nitro and PDFpen
  • Intuitive interface with simple navigation - Nitro UI is a little more complex, as is the PDFpen for Mac interface
  • PDF tools that match any premium PDF editor almost feature-for-feature, but totally free

How to Edit PDF with the Top Nitro PDF Editor Alternative for Win/Mac

Step 1: Enable Editing Mode

Turn on edit mode by tapping the Edit tab in the main menu on the top

This will reveal the editing toolbar

Step 2: Edit Text

In edit mode, clicking on any text element or block will highlight it with a blue border, which you can use to resize or reposition that text portion

Additional tools in the editing toolbar give you control over text attributes such as the font type, size, color, etc.

Step 3: Add a Text Box [Optional]

You can add a text box by choosing an option: one for conventional fonts and one for fancy artistic fonts

After selecting the text type, click the document where you want the text to go

Type in or insert your text and you're done - save the PDF to preserve the changes

Step 4: Editing Images [Optional]

You can also manipulate images in a PDF by tapping the image icon in edit mode and selecting one of the image editing options in the toolbar - you can replace, rotate, delete, copy, crop, or resize the image, as required

After editing, save the PDF - simple!


How to Perform OCR in the Nitro PDF Editor

Nitro PDF Pro comes with an advanced and highly accurate PDF OCR module with critical settings for color flattening, auto-detecting the orientation of the text, fixing the threshold, etc. The OCR process is simple, but you'll need to follow the steps shown here:

Step 1: Enable OCR in Nitro PDF Pro

When a document is open, bring your mouse to the Documents section and click OCR - you'll find it in the Review tab

You will also get a prompt when a scanned document is opened - click Use OCR when you see the prompt

In the OCR dialog, choose whether the conversion should be to just editable text or text that's both editable and searchable (for archival purposes)

Step 2: Perform OCR in Nitro PDF Pro

Choose a page range in the Options section or click Advanced to see more OCR Settings

Click OK to perform OCR and convert the file into an editable or editable/searchable PDF.

In Closing

There are certainly many things you can do with the Nitro PDF editor to up your productivity at work or while studying, of course, but why spend such a hefty sum when you can get the same functionality free of charge elsewhere. UPDF is chockful of features that most premium editors offer, but the real appeal is the UI and UX of the product, which learns from the mistakes of other PDF editors and builds on top of that for a frictionless PDF experience that's also fun!