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Top 3 Best PDF Editors For Students In 2020 (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android)

Students in 2020 are faced with massive digital workloads that involve creating, editing, and managing PDF documents for homework, projects, special assignments, academic papers, teacher’s notes, essays, and several other tasks.

Today’s students need a robust PDF editor to manage these workloads on multiple devices, not just on a desktop or on a mobile device.

Such services must be able to work seamlessly with cloud storage services like OneDrive and Dropbox, they must be able to handle batch processes, fill and manage PDF forms, convert PDFs to and from other formats, and much more.

With such steep requirements, it’s hard to find a PDF editor that does all of that and still comes in at a price point that students can afford.

That’s why we’ve brought you this list of the very best PDF editors for students in 2020 that are not only comprehensive but also reasonably priced in comparison to the market leader, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

1. PDFelement 7 Pro with student discount

Although the name suggests that this is a premium, high-end product, it’s actually one of the most affordable Adobe Acrobat alternatives.

Avail of a student discount and you’ve got a fantastic deal right there. More details in a bit.

What can PDFelement 7 Pro do?

PDFelement is a standout brand in a sea of elephants, to mangle a well-known phrase or three!

Not only is it vastly different from Adobe Acrobat in terms of pricing, but also when it comes to the basic user experience.

As its growing repertoire of awards will show, it is one of the most user-friendly PDF platforms available today.

And the latest iteration, PDFelement 7 Pro, offers the full functionality you can expect from an enterprise-grade PDF editor but, as G2 says: “...at a fraction of the price.”

Coming to the nuts and bolts, we’ve listed the key features of PDFelement 7 Pro:

  • Edit any PDF document directly, with full freedom to change text, images, tables, and all other PDF components at the click of your trackpad
  • Download the iOS and Android apps for working on the go or away from your dorm or apartment; store your files on your personal cloud account for convenient access from anywhere
  • Enjoy a full suite of annotation and markup tools for reviewing, commenting on, and signing PDF documents with a legally binding digital signature
  • Convert to and from PDF while preserving the original document’s layout and other content attributes
  • Apply Bates Numbering to a batch of documents so your material is properly indexed and searchable; an absolute essential for aspiring law students
  • Perform accurate OCR on image-based text documents; for example, hand-filled forms and notes from a field study or survey
  • Protect sensitive papers with strong password encryption to prevent unauthorized access or modifications to your PDF documents
  • Easily digitize your entire workload by creating PDFs directly from your scanner; perform OCR to make them editable and indexed for search

How much will it cost me?

PDFelement 7 Standard for Windows and Mac costs $6.99 a month or $79 for a perpetual license. Since students get a 50% discount off the product price, a lifetime license can be yours for under $40.

For PDFelement 7 Pro, which has all the advanced features like OCR and batch processes, it’ll cost you $9.99 a month or $129 discounted to about $65.

That’s a one-time payment for the perpetual license, and that’s not bad when you compare the $400 and up you’ll be paying for a lifetime license for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

2. Sejda Online PDF Editor - Free

Sejda is a freemium web PDF editor with a desktop version for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

There aren’t any mobile apps, but the web version is fairly functional even without a paid plan.

Even OCR is free for up to 3 tasks an hour and a limit of 50MB or 10 pages, which is not a bad deal considering you’re not paying for it.

What does the Sejda PDF Web Version include?

Here are some of the functions you get in the web version of this PDF software:

  • Editing PDFs, extracting pages, merging and splitting documents, securing and unlocking PDFs, form-filling and signing, conversion and OCR.
  • Bates Numbering, cropping, page deletion, file compression, and page organisation.
  • 500MB file size limit on paid plans; 50MB for the free plan on the web platform
  • OCR limit increased to 100 pages; 10-page limit in the free version
  • All tools are accessible online as well as in the desktop version

How much will it cost me?

The app is essentially free to use but with some limitations, as outlined above. If you want to upgrade, there’s a popular plan at $5.25 a month but it’s billed annually.

That’s the only version that gets you desktop access. Two other plans are the $5 weekly web pass and the $7.50 monthly web plan. On these two plans, you’ll get access to a fully functional web version of Sejda.

3. Soda PDF

Although there aren’t any mobile apps or even a Mac version, Soda PDF is a compelling choice for its blend of web and desktop versions.

Available in Home and Premium versions, they offer a comprehensive palette of tools for PDF editing, creating, converting, annotating, and page insertion.

The Premium version comes with additional features like form creation, password encryption, permission restrictions, and redaction with the help of the search function.

What does Soda PDF offer in the way of features?

The core features of the Home and Premium versions include:

  • Access to both the Windows desktop version and the online portal
  • PDF reader
  • Create, Edit, and Convert PDF
  • Review and annotate documents
  • Pro Features
  • Custom digital signatures
  • File permissions and password protection
  • Custom form creation
  • Redaction
  • Paid Add-ons for OCR and e-Signing

How much will I have to pay?

Soda PDF is available at a cost of $10 or $15 monthly for the Home and Premium versions, respectively. This includes Soda PDF Anywhere access.

The yearly cost is a little cheaper when you calculate it per month and works out to about $4 a month for the Home version and $7 a month for Premium.

The e-Signing add-on is $20 one-time for a 10-pack or $60 yearly, and the OCR cost is $24 yearly for the Standard and $40 yearly for the Advanced add-on.

That can work up to quite a bit every month if you want the works, but it’s still a lot cheaper than many other premium options