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Power up your PDFs with these five free tools

Mark O'Neill | July 11, 2013
There's no point to drowning in PDF features you don't want (and really, really don't want to pay for) when you can stock your toolbox with exactly what you require. These five freebies push the boundaries of what you can do with a PDF file.

Bear in mind, though, that if a PDF has existing restrictions protected by a password, that password will hold. jPDF Tweak does not allow you to remove or break the password.

PDFill
PDFill is similar to jPDF Tweak, but with a nicer user interface. As well as the usual features, PDFill includes other goodies, such as file conversion and adding headers and footers. The only downside is that it costs $20 to work watermark-free.

In a default installation, a PDF button appears inside Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to start PDFill directly. You can also insert the same button into the Internet Explorer browser, and into the Quick Launch and SendTo functions of Windows.These integration options are voluntary and easy to de-select at installation.

PDFill consists of Editor, Writer, and Tools. Editor, whose interface resembles Microsoft Word 2003, is the paid $20 version of PDFill. If you decide not to pay, Editor remains fully functional, but it pops up a nag screen upon saving and stamps a watermark on files. PDFill Editor provides a variety of pro-level functions such as creating form fields; writing, drawing, or highlighting pages in a PDF; and exporting and importing form data; as well as the usual PDF file management tools, such as converting, cropping, and rotating.

PDFill Writer creates PDF files by attaching itself to your PC printer function. When you want to create a PDF, open your printer dialog box and choose the PDFill Writer as your printer.

PDFill Tools provides even more editing tools, some of which overlap with the paid Editor. This includes merging, splitting, watermarks, rotating, cropping and much more.

PDFill packs a punch when it comes to PDF editing functions, and the free version is fine for anyone who doesn't mind nag screens and watermarks. That said, the $20 full version is a really good deal, considering the features that you get.

Debenu PDF Tools
For sheer handiness, it's hard to beat Debenu PDF Tools. It integrates into your Explorer right-click menu, so it's easy to go to town with the PDF editing.

Right-clicking and scrolling down the Debenu menu reveals features such as converting a PDF to an image (and vice versa), combining multiple images into one PDF file instantly, converting a PDF to text, adding and removing passwords, removing all bookmarks or extracting them to a text file, adding or editing metadata, and much more. Any functions that won't work on the selected file are grayed out.

With the PDF Preview function, you can quickly open the file to get a sneak peek, which is nice if you don't have a PDF reader installed.

The Debenu PDF Tools menu has a good selection of features even in the free edition, but many more are available in the $59 Pro edition. Pro includes many more editing features such as adding, editing, extracting, splitting, and removing text and images; removing annotations; and applying digital signatures.

 

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