PDFelement

3.1/5 (9 reviews)
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PDFelement review - 2020

Nowadays all documentation goes digital. There are lots of document formats and, as a result, many editing programs for it. In 1993, the PDF format was introduced, which remains the most popular one to this day. A few years later it became free to use globally. For many years, Adobe Acrobat was the leader in PDF editor software, but in recent years many worthy alternatives have emerged. One of those is PDFelement by Wondershare.

Vendor Wondershare, visit site
Newest version PDFelement v.7.3.4 out January 2020
Operating systems Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS
Installer file size 0.9 MB
Menu languages 8
Extra features OCR, converter, digital signatures
Pricing – Free version $0 / limited functionality
Pricing – Pro version $79.00 / 1 year subscription, 1 PC


Installation

Publisher website offers the online installer of 0.9 MB in size, which surely saves space compared to full installer (54.7 MB). Installation is very simple, as customization options there are only 2: language selection (8 total) and directory change.

Installed program occupies about 107 MB, which is not much considering the functionality available in it. Yet the module for OCR (optical character recognition) has to be purchased  separately and needs about 400 MB of disk space. PDFelement is a cross-platform product, available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS platforms.

Tip. If printer services are disabled, error in installation may occur. The advice is to turn it on and disable after the installation, if there’s no need in it.

Interface

Depending on the platform, PDFelement interface may differ, so let’s review a few versions. In  Windows version the top panel is divided into tabs. PDFelement can work with several  documents at once, so there is also a small panel at the bottom for switching between files. Editing section is on a right-side panel. The program hides panels that are not relevant for a  selected feature or it has not been in use for some time. 

PDFelement review

MacOS version has no top menu bar, like in Windows app. All functions are placed in two side panels, with additional inserts. This approach allowed to get more space, without complicating menu hierarchy, although it requires some time to get accustomed to it.

PDFelement for Mac

Android version has less functionality than desktop versions, but allows basic editing: editing text and its properties, highlighting text (color, underline), creating annotations and stamps. Also, thanks to touch screen on smartphones, you can add a physical signature directly to the document as a stamp.

PDFelement Android

Features

  1. PDF reader

Every PDF editor is primarily designed to read PDF files, so the main question is how convenient it is. PDFelement has such basic options as: scaling, paging, and display mode. Also, users can enable the Full-screen mode which removes all unnecessary items from view (including system panels) and darkens the background in order to make it more convenient to read a PDF document or book. In total, there are 5 modes for adjusting the page size to fit the screen.

Tip. PDFelement supports hot keys in full-screen reading mode: Ctrl +, Ctrl - for scaling, arrows ↑-↓ for scrolling, ← and → for paging.

  1. PDF converter

PDF standard has many advantages over other document formats, however many other formats are also in wide use. PDFelement has a built-in converter and utilities to enable users’ work with all kinds of documents.

Type Format Export Import
MS Office Word DOC, DOCX
MS Office Excel XLS, XLSX
MS Office PowerPoint PPT, PPTX
Images JPG, PNG, GID, TIFF, BMP
Other RTX, TXT, HTML, EPUB, PDF/A-2b

In particular, PDFelement can import / export the contents of MS Office documents. But as our tests showed, some specific markup elements can be incorrectly interpreted, especially in Word documents. Options for export can be found in the Convert tab or Save As tab.

The import tool is located in the Home tab and allows you to import from a file or directly from the scanner. In general, this conversion capability aids to reduce the number of office  programs.

  1. PDF editor

PDFelement has a lot of editing features. Text editing is possible in two modes:

  1. Paragraph - edits all text on page, like one whole part of a document. The advantage is that text is automatically placed within the field.
  2. Line - each line can have different properties, which allows to conveniently configure text wrapping.

Overall, there are multiple text editing options, e.g. font, size, hyperlinks, line spacing, etc. And unlike other document editors, PDFelement add a watermark, but not as a picture, it has its own settings, so is much more flexible.

Wondershare pdf editor review

For document formatting there are the following tools: crop a field, page background, header/footer placing and editing, page extraction, page splitting, test insertion. 

Tip. PDFelement supports the Bates Numbering option, it is available in the Edit tab.

  1. PDF forms

PDFelement offers one of the advanced PDF editing functions - forms. Form creation tool offers 6 types of elements: text field, button, checkbox, radio button, combo box. To activate the form mode, click Form Edit in the Form tab. Double-click any item on the page, and it opens a settings window with 5 to 8 options for each action:

Tab Options
General Name, tooltip, visibility, status
Appearance Borders, colors, text
Options Depends on element type
Position Alignment, size
Actions Trigger scenarios
Format Input text format
Validation Input data limits (for numbers)
Calculate Auto-calculation of input data

Wondershare PDF editor also allows to work with data in forms: importing / export (form to PDF and CSV), recognize forms created in other editors.

PDF element review

  1. PDF protection

PDF format in itself contains many tools to protect the contents, all of them are available in PDFelement too. These are password protection for documents (as a whole or certain actions), digital signature that confirms the authorship and prohibits changes, content copying prohibition, metadata encryption. To raise the bar, PDFelement supports 3 types of encryption: 128-bits AES, 256-bits AES, 128-bits RC4.

PDFelement free

Tip. In the Protect panel next to the password setting button, there is Set Password function that allows one to create a library of the 3 most frequently used passwords (to opening PDF documents) that will be used automatically.

  1. Comments and annotations

Commenting and highlighting important parts without changing the content. PDFelement contains all possible options: highlight color over entire height, strikethrough, straight underline, wavy underline, caret. Highlighting can be done via geometric shapes: square, line, arrow and custom (free angles). The Stamp is a curious tool, allowing to add a stamp-like image on a document, with 26 presets in the library.

PDFelement pros and cons

Tip. The editor tool allows another user to propose changes to text, which can be accepted or canceled by an author, unlike comments. You can find it in the Protect tab.

  1. OCR (text recognition)

Add-on for PDFelement which must be downloaded separately (manually or when the program offers it). Optical Characters Recognition is a long-known and still popular technology for recognizing text from images. In PDFelement, OCR can recognize 24 languages ​​(including Chinese and Cyrillic), though each should be enabled in settings before the use. 

In our tests, this module proved a high level of text recognition, since it successfully interpreted data from text, tables and pictures. Of course, we should always remember that recognition success rate depends mainly on the source file quality. This is especially the issue with scanned documents.

PDFelement review

Tip. PDFelement can capture screen contents and take screenshots using the Capture tool.

  1. Utilities

Several minor (yet useful) features:

  1. Spell checking - automatic check, with ability to add/remove words from the dictionary. Works best for English language.
  2. Sharing - send PDF by email, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, DocSend.
  3. Search - search for a word or phrase.
  4. Bookmarks - create bookmarks in document.
  5. Attachments - manage files attached to documents.

Testing

For tests, we used a prepared a sample text document, saved from MS Word in PDF and DOCX formats. This file contained regular and formatted text inserts, pictures, tables and other elements. We tested 2 key features as for a PDF editor (import and export files), as well as 2 additional features - file size optimization and content recognition from image.

Test 1. Compatibility with Adobe Acrobat DC. Since Adobe Acrobat DC is still one of the most popular PDF software, we had to see how it displays docs from PDFelement. Full 100% compatibility was proved, as files did not contain any unwanted changes and were correctly displayed.

Test 2. Compatibility with MS Office. When it is impossible to export a document to PDF via MS Office converter, PDFelement may try to create a PDF from the original file. During tests we used DOC and DOCX documents from three different versions of Word (2003, 2007, 2010) and PowerPoint. PDFelement correctly recognized almost all the contents, except for hyperlinks.

Test 3. Export to other formats. PDFelement offers many formats to export a PDF into. In this test, we exported a PDF document to other formats and checked how accurately the contents were preserved.

Element DOC DOCX RTF PPTX
Structure Pass Fail Pass N/A
Headers and footers Fail Fail Fail N/A
Comment Fail Fail Fail N/A
Text highlighting Pass Fail Pass Pass
Text formatting Fail Pass Pass Pass
Spaces Pass Fail Pass Pass
Images Pass Fail Pass Pass
Tables Pass Fail Pass Pass
Hyperlinks Pass Pass Pass Pass
Meta data Fail Fail Fail Fail

Test 4. OCR. We tested it on a document scan made in violation of all generally accepted rules for high-quality document scanning - a copy of a copy of a copy (multiple scannings), angled placement, b/w printing. See the scan file and a recognized page by PDFelement:

So, the program successfully recognized more than 90% of the text and corrected picture positioning. Taking the poor quality of the source into account, this test to be passed with “Excellent" mark.

Test 5. Optimization. We also tested a feature that compresses a PDF document to reduce its size. In total, it has 5 levels of optimization, with preliminary assessment. This function left  mixed impression. On one hand, it really compressed a file according to calculations. On the other hand, a high level of compression makes embedded images completely unreadable.

Compression level Reduced size in MB Reduced size in %
Level 5 0.29 60
Level 4 0. 35 53
Level 3 0.5 31
Level 2 0.5 31
Level 1 0.5 31

Pricing

In addition to Free version, PDFelement is available in 3 versions: Standard, Pro and Business. The main drawback of Standard version is inability to use OCR and process  documents in bulk. Yet, there is a 50% discount for educational purposes. Also, for all plans, 2 options are available: 1-year subscription and one-time (lifetime) license.

Standard Pro Enterprise
Subscription $59.00 $79 $109.00 / user
Lifetime $69.00 $119 $139.00 / user
Advantages Basic functionality,
50% student discount
Basic functionality +
scan, OCR, batch processing,
extract data
Pro functionality +
enterprise deployment,
licensing management,
dedicated technical support

Alternatives

Here are some PDFelement alternatives in PDF editing software world:

  1. PDF-Architect - numerous features, limited free version, basic license $52.
  2. Sejda PDF Editor - an online PDF editor available by subscription, no scanning, no file conversion, although mobility is of benefit.
  3. Able2Extract - a popular PDF document editor with multifunctional file converter.

Conclusion

PDFelement is not just another PDF editor, it could replace many programs necessary for electronic document management. It is compatible with other PDF editors. It is available for PC, MacBook, or smartphone. It has all you need: editing, reading, protecting, converting and other PDF-related operations.

  • Free version
  • Optical Characters Recognition (OCR)
  • Video tutorials

  • Does not support tables
  • Errors when converting a few certain formats

FAQ

How to use PDFelement?
PDFelement can be used as a reader, editor and converter for PDF files.

How to remove PDFelement 6 Pro?
In Windows just go to Control Panel > Programs and features, find PDFelement in the list and click Uninstall.

What is the best PDF editor?
It depends on user preferences. The most famous is Adobe Acrobat, but there are cheaper analogues, for example Phantom PDF.

What is the best free PDF editor?
Wondershare PDFelement provides all the functionality, but puts a watermark on every page.

What is Wondershare software?
These are programs from Wondershare tech company, such as PDFelement, Filmora, Dr.Fone, RecoverIt.

How do I open a document with PDFelement?
Double-click on a PDF, or use the desktop shortcut.

How do I make PDFelement default?
Right-click on a PDF document, Open with - Choose default program. In the window that opens, select PDFelement and enable the option Always use the selected program to open this kind of file and click OK.

How do I use PDFelement on Android?
PDFelement is available in the Play Market, download it to your phone and open/edit/convert PDF files.

What is PDFelement watermark?
This is the inscription which will be placed over the text on all pages, when using the free version. In the paid version, you can disable or customize it.

Is there PDFelement for Mac?
Yes. Navigate to Wondershare website to find one.

Can I edit PDF on iPhone?
PDFelement is available in the AppStore as well, yes.

How to sign a document with PDFelement?
Go to Protect > Sign Document.

Is there a manual for PDFelement Pro?
Yes, it can be found in the Help > User Guide tab or downloaded from the official website.

How to rotate a page in PDFelement?
Go to Page tab. Near the page number find 2 buttons with arrows which can rotate pages in PDFelement.

PDFelement vs Adobe Acrobat
Acrobat is more versatile, PDFelement is cheaper.

Starts from $59.00 per year All plans
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PDFelement reviews 9

Write a Review

Great expectations and disappointment.

It was necessary to quickly and easily distinguish text from the picture (scanned images of documents and books). I was hoping that with google help I will quickly find program for this task. PDFelement was at the top of the results. I liked its  interface is so intuitive and easy that anyone can use it. I opened the image of the document and clicked the “Perform OCR” button. The program suggested saving the document on the disk. I saved. Then It said that there are no OCR libraries and it wants to download them. I agreed. I waited about 15 minutes, but it was unable to complete downloading the libraries. It had done at that moment only 4 MB (1%!!!). I was angry, so 

decided to look for another program.

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface.

CONS:

  • It could not download the OCR libraries.
OVERALL
2.75
Quality
3
Ease of Use
4
Functionality
2
Ability
2
OVERALL
2.75
Quality
3.0
Ease of Use
4.0
Functionality
2.0
Ability
2.0
Max Konan, 2019-11-04 12:28:40

They have not the license with multiple computers.

It seems a very nice program and I think I am ready to give money for it, but there is a reason that does not allow me to do it. I tell about their pricing structure. I use several devices for work: the computer, the MacBook and the notebook and I do not want to buy three licenses. But there is no tariff plan for multiple devices. When they change their tariff policy I will buy their product.

Pros:

  • Looks like a great.

CONS:

  • The pricing structure.
OVERALL
4
Quality
4
Ease of Use
5
Functionality
4
Ability
3
OVERALL
4
Quality
4.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
4.0
Ability
3.0
Joshua Wein, 2019-09-21 06:24:54

It is a nightmare.

I thought it might be good for basic office functions which I have to do. So, I downloaded it and started trying. It was a nightmare. Its abilities are extracting and rearranging pages. I use Pro version because I do a lot of work where I have to convert PDF to Excel. But it converts very bad. there were only three lines of the entire full data page. Also it displays blurred images.

Pros:

  • None.

CONS:

  • It blurs images
  • Poor conversion to Excel;Bad editing tools;
OVERALL
1
Quality
1
Ease of Use
1
Functionality
1
Ability
1
OVERALL
1
Quality
1.0
Ease of Use
1.0
Functionality
1.0
Ability
1.0
Nina L, 2019-09-18 12:04:45

They are a well known scam.

I can not give even one star for this product. I think that they have to pay to users for their reviews. Or write reviews themselves. Because they are a scam. Also there is no real support. And if you want a refund, you do not, as there are no refunds.

Pros:

  • None.

CONS:

  • No refunds
  • No real support.
OVERALL
1
Quality
1
Ease of Use
1
Functionality
1
Ability
1
OVERALL
1
Quality
1.0
Ease of Use
1.0
Functionality
1.0
Ability
1.0
KAYLAARTIST, 2019-07-31 14:10:39

It allows to copy content from protected documents.

I do not know they miss this error or the program has to work this way there no error, but I really do not like that thing. Well, I`ll explain. I noticed one thing: the program allows you to copy content from protected files. I work with a document, then do it protected and can copy the content! But in this case, the document is not protected and anybody can copy my data...

Pros:

  • Easy.

CONS:

  • No complete document protecting (for protected docs)
OVERALL
3.75
Quality
3
Ease of Use
5
Functionality
3
Ability
4
OVERALL
3.75
Quality
3.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
3.0
Ability
4.0
Dan Heinz, 2019-05-17 05:18:35

It does the job pretty well.

My friends told me about PDFelement. I often have to edit pdf-files, but I do not like that Adobe offers. So, I bought it. It was easily because their website has different options to accept payments. It works flawlessly and does the job pretty well.

Pros:

  • Easy to pay
  • It works flawlessly.

CONS:

  • No.
OVERALL
5
Quality
5
Ease of Use
5
Functionality
5
Ability
5
OVERALL
5
Quality
5.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
5.0
Ability
5.0
Dr. Steven H Samuel, 2019-05-16 18:24:38

Crashes when saving a document.

This disappointed me! There is a continuous error, that making it impossible to use. When I work with a document and want to save it on the hard disk, the program crashes! No matter, the document consists of a single page or multipage: crashing and sending an error report. As a result, I lose the document (or changes if I wanna edit an existing file).

Pros:

  • Cons clear pros

CONS:

  • Constantly error when saving any document.
OVERALL
1
Quality
1
Ease of Use
1
Functionality
1
Ability
1
OVERALL
1
Quality
1.0
Ease of Use
1.0
Functionality
1.0
Ability
1.0
Petya Rudarska, 2019-02-02 21:03:19

it improved performance of my workflows.

I have started using the program two weeks ago. All this time it works great and I am satisfied. I work often with pdf files and I am impressed how it improved performance of my workflows. I recommend it to all because it`s worth a try.

Pros:

  • I like its effect on the results of my work.

CONS:

  • No.
OVERALL
5
Quality
5
Ease of Use
5
Functionality
5
Ability
5
OVERALL
5
Quality
5.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
5.0
Ability
5.0
Ernest LeFebvre, 2018-12-02 11:52:29

it is like Adobe Pro.

This is a really good program, even, in my opinion, it is like Adobe Pro. I have bought PDFelement and have no regrets. It fully satisfies my needs. There were some issues with the program but they update PDFelement on a regular basis and in future the issues will be fixed.

Pros:

  • Regular uodating
  • Good functionality.

CONS:

  • It had some issues.
OVERALL
4.75
Quality
4
Ease of Use
5
Functionality
5
Ability
5
OVERALL
4.75
Quality
4.0
Ease of Use
5.0
Functionality
5.0
Ability
5.0
Alexander Scott, 2018-11-11 22:59:26

Comments 0

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