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PDF-XChange Editor review

Meet your new default PDF reader

Our Verdict

An amazingly powerful free PDF reader that lets you split and convert documents, edit text, add annotations and images, and encrypt them.


  • Text editing
  • Document conversion, including optical character recognition
  • Comments and annotations


  • Documents are watermarked if you use a premium tool (though you're warned before this happens)

PDF-XChange Editor is a free PDF editor that's the successor to the excellent PDF-Change Viewer. Its design has been totally overhauled, making it much clearer and easier to use.

Aside from that, PDF-XChange Viewer boasts all of the same strengths as its predecessor, with editing tools for highlighting, selecting and striking out text. The selection of stamps and commenting functions lets you easily track changes in documents – features sometimes excluded from free PDF readers.

You can also extract or delete entire pages from a long PDF file and embed new content like text, images, blank pages or entire PDF documents.

PDF-XChange Editor is also excellent for converting documents between PDF and Word formats, and even includes an OCR (optical character recognition) for converting scanned documents into editable text.

User experience

PDF-XChange Editor’s installer contains plugins for Firefox and Internet Explorer. You might find these handy – they add the editor’s features to PDFs viewed in your web browser – but you can deselect them by choosing the Custom Setup option if you prefer.

Once you’ve started it, the program is very easy to use, whether you prefer a Microsoft Office style ribbon interface (a good choice for touchscreens), or the more traditional system of toolbars and menus.

The only drawback of PDF-XChange Editor’s is the large number of editing tools marked with a shopping cart icon, indicating that they’re only available in the premium version. However, the free software is so generous, this is easy to forgive. Your document will be watermarked if you use a premium tool without buying a license, but PDF-XChange Editor will warn you before this happens.

Very few free editors will let you add new content to documents, and this alone is a good reason to make it your new default app for PDFs.

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Cat Ellis

Cat is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line!