PDFs have become one of the most used formats for business and everyday files. This format protects the document’s integrity and is also easily readable on any device. As such, you won’t find professional environments where PDFs aren’t used. However, to read and edit a PDF, you need to have the correct programs, like Smallpdf. Read our article to find out what features Smallpdf offers, its top competitor, and alternative programs.

What Is PDF Editing Software?

As stated above, you need specific software to read and edit a PDF, called PDF editing software. Many different brands offer a suite of tools that enable you to adjust and customize different elements of these documents. It’s essential you have access to such tools, as PDFs are such an integral part of the work environment. Most professional documents are saved as PDFs. Suppose you don’t have access to the editing tools. In that case, you won’t be able to make the necessary changes to any document, from a contract adjustment to an update on company policy.

What makes a PDF editor good?

The range of tools available when using a PDF editor is vast. You know it’s an excellent editor if it offers you access to not only the standard tools but also premium ones. Standard features include merging or splitting files and compressing or converting the files to another format. Premium tools include an OCR text editing feature, e-signing capabilities, removing watermarks, straightening and flattening documents, and more.

Smallpdf Logo An Overview of Smallpdf

Smallpdf offers over 21 PDF editing tools and has a free version that gives you access to all of these tools. It’s an online platform you can use to edit PDF documents, and it also offers a mobile app. While anyone can access the free version online, there are also Pro, Team, and Enterprise versions, with the pricing ranging from $7 to $9 per month per user if billed annually. You can also contact them for a customized plan and price to fit your needs and requirements better, depending on your business.

Smallpdf Website

Main features of Smallpdf

Smallpdf has all of the standard PDF editing features and some extra ones.

  • Editing tools
  • Conversion tools
  • Scanning documents
  • Digital seal protection

Editing tools

All general editing tools are available, from compressing, splitting, and merging a PDF to rotating, numbering pages, deleting pages, or just reading a PDF.

Conversion tools

You’ll find the option to convert your PDF to another format, like Word, Excel, PPT, and JPG, making it an editable document or image. You can also convert one of these formats into a PDF, protecting your document and making it easy to share with others.

Scanning documents

Smallpdf offers the ability to use its scanning technology on the mobile app. This technology allows you to turn physical paper files into PDF files that you can easily save or share online or on your local hard drive.

Digital seal protection

This feature of Smallpdf protects the integrity of signatures on documents by securing and encrypting the document. You can password-protect any document and ensure that signatures remain legitimate and untampered. These tools are perfect for big and small businesses, especially for legal firms, landlords, and employers.

Pros and cons of Smallpdf

Despite the vast range of features, there are still pros and cons to consider.


  • Over 21 tools available in the free version
  • Convert paper files to PDF
  • Password protection and document encryption
  • Priority customer support


  • Can become expensive
  • The free version only processes two documents a day

PDF XChange Logo An Overview of PDF-XChange

PDF-XChange is an alternative PDF editing tool that more than 405 million people use. It allows you to edit, annotate, merge and create a PDF document. Instead of a monthly subscription, you buy an annual license. It costs $56 for one year, but you can also purchase a two-year or three-year license, costing you up to $72.

PDF-XChange Editor Website

Main features of PDF-XChange

Some of the excellent features this alternative to Smallpdf offers include the following.

  • OCR editing
  • Digital signatures and security
  • Annotating documents
  • Editing tools

OCR editing

This program uses the popular OCR technology that enables you to edit an existing PDF. Generally, it’s not possible to change the text of a PDF format, as it’s not editable. However, OCR technology allows you to convert an image of the text to an editable format, meaning you can adjust any document as needed.

Digital signatures and security

You can add digital signatures to any document, with secure protection available to ensure the document’s integrity. You can add a timestamp verification to show who secured the document and a certification protecting your document.

Annotating documents

Adjust and make comments when editing a document to make it easy for others who read it to see your input. You can use various methods, from highlighting text and adding a sticky note to adding a comment or striking out a section of text.

Editing tools

The standard editing tools are all available, from converting a document to merging and splitting it. The full range of different tools and features ensures you can adjust your PDF however you need. Bigger companies that work with PDFs and need to adjust the files will benefit from this program.

Pros and cons of PDF-XChange

Below, we look at the benefits and drawbacks of using this Smallpdf competitor.


  • Won multiple awards
  • Offers all the standard editing tools
  • OCR text editing is available
  • Allows for digitally securing documents


  • One of the more expensive options
  • The free version adds a watermark to your documents

iLovePDF Logo An Overview of iLovePDF

Another alternative to Smallpdf to consider is iLovePDF. This PDF editor offers a free version with web-based software, an application for your desktop, and a mobile app. It’s one of the more affordable solutions, with a monthly cost of $4 if you’re billed annually. You can also customize the Business plan and pricing to fit your company’s needs.

iLovePDF Website

Main features of iLovePDF

Besides the standard editing tools, there are also premium features available with this Smallpdf competitor.

  • Repair PDF
  • Scan to PDF
  • Watermark
  • Standard tools

Repair PDF

We all hate it when we see a file is corrupted, sometimes losing that file for good. However, with the repair feature, you can repair any damaged or corrupted file to its previous condition.

Scan to PDF

This is a newly added feature of iLovePDF, where you can use your mobile device’s camera through the iLovePDF app to scan paper documents and convert them into a PDF file.


You can create your company’s customer watermark by adjusting the typography, position, and transparency. You can then stamp this watermark anywhere on your documents.

Standard tools

You’ll find iLovePDF also offers all of the common tools that allow you to edit, read, create, merge, convert, etc., your PDF. You can even convert an HTML website page to a PDF document. It’s the perfect tool for freelance workers and small businesses needing a less expensive solution to editing their PDF documents.

Pros and cons of iLovePDF

Some of the pros and cons we found are listed below.


  • Scan to PDF function
  • Desktop application and mobile app
  • Repair PDF function
  • A more affordable solution


  • Limited document processing on the free version
  • App and desktop applications only available for paid versions

Smallpdf vs. PDF-XChange vs. iLovePDF – Which Is the Safer Option?

When comparing the alternative PDF editing options, we found PDF-XChange to be the top competitor. Despite the watermarks it adds to your documents, you have a free version with unlimited document processing. The paid version also provides many tools, including OCR text editing. While all three alternative programs are safe to use, PDF-XChange is a trusted program with certified security and has won multiple awards. However, it’s the more expensive alternative if you’re looking at paid versions.

PDFplatform Logo Best Alternative to Smallpdf

One of the best alternative options to Smallpdf is PDFplatform. It offers an entirely free version that you can use with unlimited document processing. You can access all essential features, like merging and splitting files, compressing documents, converting your PDF to Word, and editing documents. You also won’t find any watermarks on your documents and can easily edit them in your web browser.

PDFplatform Interface

Why is PDFplatform the best platform for editing PDFs?

Unlike most free programs, PDFplatform doesn’t add watermarks to your documents or limit your document processing. While it’s only available online using a web browser, it provides the perfect solution to small companies or freelancers that don’t process PDFs often. You can sign, edit and convert your documents within minutes without needing an account.

Final Thoughts

From all of the Smallpdf alternative options, we found the top competitor to be PDFplatform. While other programs like iLovePDF and PDF-XChange offer excellent capabilities and features, you’ll find the same features with PDFplatform for free. Start by looking at PDFplatform before you spend money on a PDF editor you might not use as frequently.