Products & Productivity

Product Review: PDFelement

Two types of media have always been inexplicably difficult to work with on a PC: videos & PDFs. Sure, if you’ve got high-end editing software and a college education, you can do videos. And if you pay for full Adobe Acrobat to the tune of $180 per year, you can do a little more with PDFs. Still, expensive software is expensive, and often bulky or difficult to use. In the case of Adobe Acrobat, for me anyway, I get 1000 features I don’t need, but the 2 or 3 things I need to do with PDFs, I can’t do.

Four years ago, I discovered Filmora. I’ve used Wondershare Filmora for video editing ever since, and it’s one of my favorite software licenses I’ve ever purchased. Recently, I was excited to see that Wondershare now offers a PDF tool. I took it for a test drive this week, and finally, I feel like I’ve found the program I’ve been searching for over the last decade.

PDFelement is a lightweight program that doesn’t take up much memory when in use. Within 3 minutes, I had the program downloaded, running, and had made edits to the PDF I was struggling to manipulate. I immediately realized I could stop using Acrobat forever.

It integrated quickly with both OneDrive and Google Drive, an unexpected but handy feature. PDFelement was easy to use without reading help materials or guides. The program is so intuitive, I easily saw how to use the functions just by looking at the screen–imagine that!

My days are spent in two worlds: marketing and creative writing.

On the marketing side, I deal with accounting forms and scanned creative assets every day. PDFelement lets me comment and highlight text in seconds. With tax forms, I store filled copies on my hard drive, and that takes up a lot of space. PDFelement has an optimization featured that reduces file size and saves tons of space.

I quickly optimized a bulky tax form.

Now to the creative writing side, where PDFelement is truly a star. My writing ranges from blog posts to Google Ads to dramatic fiction, and PDFs float around in all of those atmospheres. During my test drive of PDFelement, I attempted a task that has always been a pain point: interacting with antique books.

Scanned pages from antique books can come out uneven and hard to read.

A few years ago, I discovered a book of monologues published in 1916 called City Types, written by Marian Bowlan. The work was now in the public domain, and I thought it might make an excellent source for a modern adaptation. However, with 276 brown and brittle pages, I couldn’t easily make notes or engage with the text. So my options were to make photocopies of the whole thing and shove the pages into a three-ring binder, or transcribe the full text. Neither of those came to pass.

The OCR feature in PDFelement makes text clear and easy to highlight or edit.

PDFelement came to my rescue this week. I used my phone to scan a few pages to PDF, opened the files in PDFelement, then used the OCR feature to identify characters and words. I was highlighting key passages from a monologue in less than 2 minutes!

I’m very excited to get to know PDFelement even more. There are features like password protection, redaction, and document signing that I’ve only begun to tinker with. If you create, edit, or collaborate on PDF documents in any way, I highly recommend trying PDFelement for yourself.