PDFgear is a free, cross-platform app that claims to provide all the tools you need to create PDFs in one convenient location. Its developers are based in Singapore. When you consider that some of the top free PDF editors require a subscription to access more advanced capabilities or don’t have any tools at all, this becomes a very appealing offer.
We tested the desktop, mobile, and online versions of this PDF editor as, like all the finest ones, it has multiple platforms to choose from.
They say that there is no need to sign up for an account, no watermark, and the service is free whether used online or offline.
There must be some catch because the ads claim it’s free. Seems like, no. PDFgear appears to live up to its claims: not only is it free to use, but it also does not require an online account or watermarking your work. We checked out a few features and found them to be satisfactory.
We reached out to the company over this, and their response gave us a hint that things might change: “PDFgear is free to use at the current stage, and there are no other versions that contain more functions.” Everything is free at the moment, which is something to celebrate.
The company also says that it has a plethora of options and features – Along with its many converting options, PDFgear also lets you annotate, fill out, and sign PDFs.
We put 2.1 through its paces. The interface is straightforward to use. To facilitate quick, one-step operations like rotating a PDF, taking a snapshot, and utilizing the OCR software, the majority of the welcome page is devoted to several shortcuts. A PDF merger and conversion tools are also available, as one might assume.
One can choose to see only the “hottest” tools, only those that “convert” to or from PDFs, only those that “split & merge,” or all of the above. Select the appropriate tool, navigate to the file you want to edit, type your instructions into the appropriate fields, and then save. Although it’s not exactly drag-and-drop easy, it is basic.
To divide a PDF, for example, you’ll need to specify which pages you want to divide and enter that information into a field. No preview of the file or page thumbnails means you can’t easily select the pages you need. Since the majority of conversion programs do not require extensive user input, this simplistic interface is ideal for them.
These, however, are merely the appetizers. A basic sidebar labeled “Open File” sits to the left of the screen. All of PDFgear’s features can be accessed after you load a PDF into the program. Here is where you can change the text of a PDF. Everything you need is at your fingertips: text highlighting, shapes, photos, notes, and new URL links.
At the very top of the website, you’ll see a few tabs. For example, you can access the options to sign and fill out forms from this page. In addition, you can protect your document by adding a password or by removing important areas. PDFgear provides almost comprehensive coverage.
Lots of features for while you’re on the move, however, some may be wary of the app’s access to their camera because of privacy concerns.
Unlike the PC version, PDFgear doesn’t have a shortcut option for Android and iOS. Another thing we couldn’t figure out was how to change text that was already in a PDF. Nevertheless, there is a plethora of annotation alternatives. Identical to the desktop version, this interface is responsive across landscape and portrait modes and allows you to draw, add shapes and notes, underline and highlight text in various colors, and more.
Using your phone’s camera to capture any text it detects is a neat feature when adding a Text Box. Once PDFgear detects the text, it will automatically OCR it and add it to your document as a resizable text box. Though the character recognition isn’t flawless, at least you can change the font, size, and color.
However, utilizing an iPhone raises privacy concerns (we weren’t able to verify this on an Android smartphone). Normally, your iPhone will ask for your permission before allowing a new app to access your camera, but in this case, it didn’t. Perhaps this is something Apple ought to investigate.
Aside from the built-in eSignature software, other functions include organizing pages, making new ones, and separating pages from a PDF. You can import documents directly from your iPhone, iCloud Drive, or Dropbox, making it a wonderful tool to annotate PDFs on the fly.
The Bottom Line
While PDFgear is at its most powerful and user-friendly on a desktop or laptop, having both the mobile and online versions is always helpful; the mobile app is especially useful while you’re on the go, and the online version might be a lifesaver if you’re stuck. Assuming it stays that way, the fact that this program is free and feature-rich is remarkable.
You should buy it if you are looking for a robust and flexible PDF editor that is compatible with any device you may be using at any given time.