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PDF editor vs reader

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When it comes to viewing and editing your PDF files, you have options. Choices between online or desktop and editor or reader. The latter trips many people up. What’s the difference, and how do you know which suits your project?

Let’s dive right in.

PDF Reader

A PDF reader lets you view, display, and read PDF files. It allows you to open PDF documents, scroll through pages, zoom in and out, search for specific text, and print the files. PDF readers often have features like bookmarking, highlighting, and adding comments, allowing users to fill out interactive form fields. However, the editing capabilities are limited or non-existent.

PDF readers are typically free to use, and popular options include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader, and SumatraPDF.

PDF Editor

On the other hand, a PDF editor allows you to modify the content of PDF files. With a PDF editor, you can create, edit, and manipulate the text, images, and other elements within a PDF document. Standard editing features offered by PDF editors include:

  • Editing text: Modifying, adding, or deleting text within the PDF.
  • Adding or removing images: Inserting new photos or removing existing ones.
  • Rearranging pages: Changing the order of pages within the document.
  • Annotating and marking up: Adding comments, highlights, or drawing shapes on the document.
  • Merging or splitting PDFs: Combining multiple PDF files into one or splitting a large PDF into smaller files.

PDF editors are more feature-rich and often come with a price tag. Some popular PDF editors include Adobe Acrobat Pro, Nitro PDF, and Foxit PhantomPDF.

Which is right for you?

All Creative Family Historian PDFs are created for use with the latest version of Acrobat Reader. While the files may work with other PDF readers, results cannot be guaranteed.

If choosing an app based on other requirements, consider what you must do with the file. Review the feature listing for that app to determine if it can do what you need. Always trial the app before purchasing or committing to a subscription where possible.