When I started writing my own books, I realized I also needed to format them. At first, I worked with a graphics artist who handled that for me and sent me a PDF file, ready for upload to CreateSpace.
A few weeks after uploading the manuscript, realized I needed to make a few changes. Readers had noticed a few typos and notified me. I had made a couple of extra changes myself. And later on, I decided to change the numbering of my books.
It soon became clear I couldn’t bother my poor designer every time I needed to edit something. So, I started looking into ways to edit my PDF manuscript myself. To my surprise, there didn’t seem to to be an easy, affordable way of doing so. Adobe’s own software, Acrobat DC, is priced at almost $20/month; a deal that was unaffordable. I don’t like subscription-based software in general, and it’s not like I needed to make changes at such a rate as to make a monthly subscription worthwhile.
I ended up buying a PDF editor called Nitro PDF. It cost me over $150. But when I changed computers a few years later, the version of Nitro PDF I’d bought would no longer work on the new one. To get a new version was as expensive as buying a new license. Even worse, the old version was no longer supported. In the end, I kept my old computer for the sole purpose of editing PDF documents; hardly an ideal situation.
That’s why I was so excited to discover PDFelement by Wondershare; an affordable–yet extremely powerful–way of editing PDF documents. Priced at only $59 for the standard version, it lets you do pretty much everything an author wants: open a PDF document, edit text, insert/remove images, crop your document, insert headers and footers, insert a background, and even insert a watermark. It also lets you organize pages (i.e. move them around), combine documents, insert and extract pages, split a document into multiple ones, etc.
If you’re looking for a collaborative tool, it also lets you annotate and bookmark your documents.
And if you wish to share, it lets you export to MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and even ePub! That way, you can better preview your manuscript.
Finally, it supports forms, something that may be useful for your communication with publishers or people helping you with your book. It also lets you protect your document, sign it digitally, and password-encrypt it.
The only downside I could find with the software is the long time it takes to get started, at least on my computer. Depending on how many PDF documents you edit, it may make sense to keep it running in the background to save some time.
PDFelement Standard vs. Pro
The main difference with the standard version is the addition of OCR. This lets you scan your handwritten manuscript into JPG images, then PDFelement automatically converts these into text. You can save the result into an MS Word document or in any of the formats mentioned above. For writers who like using notebooks (I have a stack of them), this JPG-to-Word conversion can be a godsend.
Below is a list of the differences between the two versions. As you can see, even the standard version is a pretty powerful tool for authors. With the addition of OCR, it becomes a far better product than anything I’ve used so far.
As I’ve been looking for an affordable, yet powerful, PDF editor for ages now, I just had to share the news as soon as I found out. Both versions are available for Windows and Mac and offer a free 30-day trial period, so you can try them out for yourself. I hope you find it as useful as I have!
Note: As always, this is my honest opinion and I’m only sharing because I genuinely liked the product. Wondershare gave me a free evaluation copy and provided me with trackable — but NOT affiliate — links.