Last updated today

🏆 Best PDF Converters for August 2021

A PDF converter is an affordable way to set up a personal e-filing system without having to buy expensive software or hardware. It will help you better handle all of your PDF files and document information with minimal effort! Plus, converting your edited work into digital files means saving money on paper by not printing anything out anymore!

What is a PDF converter

Creating a PDF is necessary for file sharing, especially if you want to preserve the layout and style of your content. With a PDF converter, you can convert your document into something viewable regardless of the operating system, PDF reader, or internet connection. 

A Portable Document Format or a PDF is a read-only file that contains features that give content integrity and sharing convenience. With the converter, you can save documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and images to a PDF file. 

Why do you need a PDF converter? 

As you do more transactions online, the need for secure file sharing is greater than ever. The PDF Converter is the right tool to use when you want to secure such critical files. Here are more reasons why a PDF converter proves to be a helpful software.

Ensure Content Integrity

PDF Converters can secure your documents and other files into an uneditable file. With it, you could ensure the integrity of the original document. Furthermore, you can impose passwords to make sure that only you and your intended receiver can open the file you shared.

Makes File Sharing Convenient

File sharing is just a few clicks away. A PDF file is easily shareable as an email attachment or a link in an online cloud. Also, the receiving party does not have to install extra software to view the document. A simple web browser will do.

Fast and Easy to Use

Converting files to PDF is very easy and user-friendly. Just choose the file to convert, drag and drop, then click on the Convert button. You will have your PDF-converted file in less than a minute. Go ahead and even work with multiple files simultaneously. It's that easy.

Does More than Conversion

Converting files is not the only thing you do with data, and software developers know that. Depending on the version of the PDF converter you are using, it can come with other functions—the software doubles as a PDF reader, a PDF editor, and a tool for signing digital files. You can even share files right from the application itself. 

Core features of a PDF converter

You can download or use tons of available converters online. However, you wouldn’t want to waste your time trying out each one. Here are vital traits the best PDF converter should have. 

OS or Browser Compatibility

You have to check if the converter is compatible with the operating system you have or the web browser you are using. You would not want to work with a converter that is unusable due to technical requirements.

File Security

A crucial function of PDF converters lies in security features. Especially if you are sending out critical business information or financial details, protecting your file is protecting your life. 

Password Protection

As the original owner, you can set a password to protect the converted file. Password protection prevents unwanted eyes from snooping into your data. As long as you trust the receiving party, you do not have to worry about third parties copying, forging, editing, printing, and extracting the file you share. 

Digital Signature

A digital signature establishes domain and ownership over a document. In a legal bid, you can stake your claim over the intellectual property. A good converter would have the feature to impose such a signature.

Functional Converter's Capacity

You may have to work with heavy files, which is why you need a converter with the capacity to boot. A file limit can be inconvenient as you would have to convert a document portion by portion. To avoid the hassle, get a converter that can handle the larger files you have that need converting. 

Another aspect of a converter’s capacity is its ability to work with different file types. The converter you get should have the ability to convert most, if not all, of your working file types. You may find the need to share text files, documents with embedded links, spreadsheets, presentations, and images. Get a converter that can convert such files.

Fast Processing

A PDF converter is a fast processor. You shouldn’t have to wait any more than a few minutes to convert a single file. Having to wait for miscellaneous processes like ad-viewing can prove to be a nuisance and a waste of time you cannot afford. 

Some converters have the “Convert Files Separately” function wherein you can convert multiple files individually at the same time. The result is a compressed file that contains the PDFs for extraction.

Types of PDF converter 

There are different types of PDF converters depending on where you use them. Choose the software based on your lifestyle, immediate needs, and preferences. 

Desktop PDF Converter

You can easily have fully functional software right in your desktop devices, such as a personal computer or laptop and get yourself a desktop PDF converter on a free trial version or free account within the time limit. 

However, in a free trial version, you can only do basic tasks, like converting text and image documents to PDF formats. If you require greater functions, like converting PDF files back to the original format, you would have to opt for paid premium versions of the software. 

Pro #1: Access it Anytime, Even When Offline

You do not need to go online if you just want to convert documents for safekeeping in your storage devices.

Pro #2: Save Your Files, Even When Interrupted

Power interruptions, while using an online PDF converter, can delete the entire process. Meanwhile, a converter installed on your desktop can pick up where the operation ended.

Pro #3: Offline Versions Are Safer

Using an online PDF converter can be risky, and sometimes there are potential dangers. Shady sites might ask for personal information from you before converting, or even view your confidential files.

Con #1: Unexpected Technical Errors

Accidental reformats, spillages and electrical frying can damage your hardware. In turn, you may lose the saved files you have on the desktop software. Unless, of course, you saved your files on cloud storage.

Con #2: Installation Takes Time

Downloading and installing a desktop version of a PDF converter takes quite some time, depending on your internet and hardware speed.

Con #3: Only Available Where It’s Installed

If you have another device, another app should be downloaded and installed.

Online PDF Converter

You may opt for an online PDF converter that is accessible through your internet browsers. If you want to save hard disk space or you need to convert files occasionally, then an online tool for that is a good idea. You may need to create an account to access the online software.

Pro #1: Cheaper Than Desktop Software

An online converter may have fewer features than fully-functional desktop software.

Pro #2: Accessible in More Devices

As long as your browser supports the online tool, you can access the PDF converter in both desktop and handheld devices.

Pro #3: Conversion Speed Relies on Your Internet Connection

A stable internet connection poses no problem. However, if you are in an area with bad reception, the operations of the converter will take more time.

Pro #4: No Installing Time

Let’s say you need a quick conversion of a file. You won’t have time to spare for installing full software on your desktop or mobile. You can simply go online and convert right away. 

Pro #5: User-Friendly

The webpage is typically straightforward and simple. You do not have to go through hoops just to figure out what you need to click. The site would include a button for uploading. After a few moments, you have your newly converted files.

Con #1: File Security Concerns

Uploading your documents for conversion can be risky as these files stay on the server for a while. Although the site deletes these documents after conversion, exposure to threats still exists.

Con #2: Advertisements

Especially with free online tools, you would have to do ad-viewing before you can make use of the converter.

Con #3: Registration or Subscription Required

Registering for an account on a website is part of the internet's online services. However, be careful when you register your active email even in PDF converter websites. They tend to flood your email with notifications and unending newsletters.

Con #4: Reliable Internet Connection Is a Must

The converter relies entirely on the internet. If you cannot go online, you should consider other options.

Mobile Application PDF Converter

Are you the type of person who does everything on the phone? Well, installing a PDF converter on your mobile device could be right in your alley. You can just go to your trusty application store and hit the download button.

You can choose a simple version of an app, or you can get more features upon paying the price. Whatever you opt for, you just know you have a convenient converter right at your fingertips. Sending small files is over in a jiffy. 

Pro #1: Available Anytime and Anywhere

As long as you have your phone with you, you can convert files right away.

Pro #2: Cheaper

Paying for a mobile PDF converter can be cheaper as its functions are limited to a phone’s capacity.

Pro #3: Usage is Straightforward

A fully functional desktop software might be too much for you. A mobile app keeps a simpler user interface that is tapping-friendly. 

 Con #1: Small Screen Can Be Uncomfortable

Especially for smaller devices, squinting through text is troublesome. Zooming in is an option. However, not only do you have to zoom in to see content, but also zoom out to see the full page layout. 

Con #2: Limited Features

You can only get functions that are compatible with your phone screen and operating system. Don’t expect extensive features.

Con #3: Slows Down Your Phone

If the app is a heavy software, it could potentially make your phone laggy and slow.

Con #4: Phone Memory Storage Consumption

If you’re dealing with a phone with low capacity, this could be an issue for you. 

Who needs a PDF converter?

Freelancers and Digital Nomads

As someone who takes on all sorts of projects, you need to send out loads of files from time to time. To make things convenient between you and your client, you would want to send out documents in PDF.

Given that you have to work with different applications that produce different document types, converting a file to a PDF gives your clients easy access. They wouldn’t need to install different applications just to open what you have sent them. 

Furthermore, a heavy file with several layers can be compressed into a single viewable file that takes less time to send out. You wouldn’t have to spend too much time waiting for your attachments to upload. 

Job Seekers and Applicants

What better way to share your resume and cover letter than with a PDF file? You can get creative with your application with sleek templates that help you stand out. By converting the document into a PDF, you don’t need to worry about messing up the layout. It would be such a waste if your professional-looking application form, resume, and cover letter would end up a mess upon opening by a potential employer.

Work Teams and Organizations

In maintaining collaboration, you need to send out files to your teams and colleagues. To do that, you need to send easily viewable files that are readable by everyone. Each person works in a different field and in a different department. Nonetheless, everyone has to collaborate towards a single goal. File conversion helps by making sure that the sharing of work files is quick and easy.

Government Agencies

Government agencies can get piles of documentation and report files. PDF converters can help reduce such stacks of paper. Paperless documents still contain the same info, albeit without the office mess. Text files, images, and other reports can all be in an easily viewable PDF file. 

People transacting with government agencies also need PDF converters. Requirements, identification papers, and letters can all be in PDF files that make excellent email attachments. You can even compile different documents and make a single PDF attachment for government processing. 

Students and the Academe

Educators and students alike can use PDF converters. For teachers and professors, lecture handouts, presentations, and other reading materials can be compiled into an easily shareable PDF file. Shareability is vital for classroom instruction, as every student should have access to learning texts.

Students would also use PDF converters on files that contain projects, homework, and school requirements. A professor can easily collate these PDF files from the students. 

Avid Readers

Do you love to read eBooks? The thing is that there are lots of eBook formats, and not all of them are accessible by your handheld and desktop devices. To make it convenient, you can convert EPUB and MOBI files to PDF. Afterward, you can just use a single reader for all of your eBooks.

Step-by-step guide on how to convert a file to PDF

Step1: Open the PDF Converter.

If you are using an online converter, you need to open your browser and input the website address of the converter. With desktop software, you have to click open the converter by double-clicking the shortcut. Lastly, you can access the mobile application by tapping on the icon on your handheld device. 

Step 2: Select the file.

For the online software, you have to upload the file for conversion. For offline applications, you need to select the document from your file manager. Do make sure that the converter supports the file type you have. 

Step 3: Select the type of PDF.

You can select the PDF output. Options include text PDF and image-only PDF. If you want a document you can select, you should opt for the former. The latter choice allows better content security as it would not allow readers to copy and paste the document. 

Step 4: Set the document path.

After clicking “Save” or “Save as,” you need to set where you want to save your document. It could be on your device’s internal storage or an external drive. 

Step 5: Open the converted document and test it.

After the conversion process, you now have your PDF document that is accessible to your PDF reader. Try to click open the file to make sure that everything is in place and readable. You would not want to deal with a file error later on. If you intend it to be clickable and highlightable, you should try it out before sharing your document. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Native PDF documents are PDF files you create from a different file format. A Word document converted to PDF using a free PDF converter is an example. The native PDF documents were not created initially in Portable Document Format. Instead, it is the result of a PDF converter’s operation.

These are PDF files that consist of scanned images. It contains a series of images that come together in a single PDF file. You can quickly make one with a PDF converter that has access to your photo gallery or image folder. 

After applying OCR on a scanned PDF document, you end up with a searchable PDF document. The recognized text will result in characters you can select, copy, analyze, highlight, and search. The added layer will make an indistinguishable change from the original document. 

You have the option to hire a PDF converter expert, or you can do the file conversion yourself. Consider a few things before you make the decision. You should get a converter if you need to save time. Also, an expert is a favorable option if you have to convert a lot of files, and you cannot afford to compromise the quality of your documents.

As for doing it yourself, you can do so if it is more practical to do so. Let’s say you only need to do the file conversion only once. Of course, it’s better to do the operation yourself. Also, if you know what you are doing, there is no need to consult an expert.

Yes, legitimate PDF converters are safe to download. You must make sure that you are downloading the application from a reputable application store. If you’re downloading from a site, you have to make sure that you are on a secure webpage. 

Yes, these converters are safe to use on files that contain personal and financial details. Of course, you have to make sure that the application is by credible developers. If you are using an online converter, you have to make sure that encryption is in place and that you are working with a secure connection. 

Yes, you can convert a PDF file back to its original format. This is possible if you have produced the native PDF document using your PDF converter.

However, not all converters have this feature. If you think this function is essential, you have to check the features of a converter. 

Yes, you can convert a PDF file to other formats. You can do so by using an extensive PDF converter. If it is a text PDF, you can choose a text format like DOC, DOCX, or TXT as the export format. If it is a scanned PDF, you can export it as a presentation file or a series of image files.

Then again, not all converters contain the export PDF function. If you know you need it, you have to make sure to check if the converter contains such an option. 

You can easily merge, compress, and unlock a PDF with a converter that has the functions for such tasks. However, if your converter is incapable, you can get separate applications that can do such things.

You cannot be too careful when it comes to downloading bogus applications, such as a harmful PDF converter. Such software can be detrimental to your computer’s health. A bogus app can be a potential browser hijacker—downloading rogue browser extensions, installing malicious third-party applications, and resetting your default search engine. 

You should always download apps from trusted developers, direct links, and official websites. Credibility can be determined from customer reviews. The link for downloading should not redirect you to several irrelevant links. Lastly, downloading from official websites reduces the possibility of downloading rip-offs. When in doubt, you should not proceed with downloading.

Upon installation, you would also notice if there is something off in the Custom and Advanced settings. You can just uncheck any boxes that permit the software to install other applications and to change browser settings. Of course, do this if you think the application works, but you don’t want to handle the miscellaneous applications. 

You should always download apps from trusted developers, direct links, and official websites. Credibility can be determined from customer reviews. The link for downloading should not redirect you to several irrelevant links. Lastly, downloading from official websites reduces the possibility of downloading rip-offs. When in doubt, you should not proceed with downloading.

Upon installation, you would also notice if there is something off in the Custom and Advanced settings. You can just uncheck any boxes that permit the software to install other applications and to change browser settings. Of course, do this if you think the application works, but you don’t want to handle the miscellaneous applications. 

Yes, you can edit a PDF file. You can do so with a good PDF converter. Otherwise, you have to be more resourceful in editing the document.

The converter can convert your PDF into an editable format, such as a DOCX file. After you make the necessary changes, you can turn it back into a PDF. If you need to do extensive content editing or formatting revisions, you would have to go for this method.

Alternatively, the converter can have a fill-and-sign function. This function lets you input data and text directly over the PDF file. If you need to fill up your personal details or to place a digital signature, you must ensure the converter has this function.

You need to check the software you have. Being unable to edit the PDF can be due to having a substandard application or the wrong software. Checking the list of features and functions available will avoid later frustrations and disappointment. If you require editing a PDF, make sure that the converter gives you the ability to do so.

You may have to get a premium converter instead of basic software. The premium version gets you a comprehensive array of tools and better functionalities. 

A PDF can contain several types of content. You can get different types of PDFs by converting them from different file formats.

Text - A PDF can contain text that you can select. With the right PDF reader, you can search within the document and highlight specific passages. You can convert DOC, DOCS, RTF, and TXT files into a readable PDF.

Images - The document may contain a single image or a series of images distributed in pages. You can derive image documents from JPG and JPEG file formats.

Tables - Your document may contain tables and sheets. Such PDF files could be from XLS documents or other text file documents.

Links - You may embed clickable links within a PDF file, and these links can lead to external websites or a link within the device storage.

Before you resort to contacting technical support, you can try your hand in getting your application to work. To resolve the issue you have, you can do several troubleshooting processes.

Check if the software has all the necessary updates. You may have to check the developer’s website to download the updates and prevent potential bugs.

Try uninstalling and reinstalling the converter. A problem may have come up due to installation errors. An easy fix is to redo the process of downloading and reinstallation.

Check your internet connection. If you are using an online converter, you should have a stable connection for it to work.

Make sure that the converter is compatible with your device and operating system. If your gadget does not meet the technical requirements, the application will not work.

You may be operating the converter wrong. Read the manual, if any, so that you can get the app to work.

It may be a faulty installer. If so, you may have to repeat your download and make sure you get it from the official app store or the developer website.

A bogus application is a possibility. Downloading from an unreputable site does not only get you a converter that doesn’t work, but your device can get exposed to different viruses, malware, and threats. Uninstalling is the first thing you should do.