Smallpdf review: A basic PDF editor for basic tasks
At a glance
Can convert, edit, and compress PDF files
Can password protect and encrypt PDF files
Supports electronic signatures
Limited markup options
Can only process two PDFs per day without paid subscription
Smallpdf is a solid online PDF editor for making basic changes to documents on the fly.
Price When Reviewed
Free | $9 per month (unlimited with extra features)
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Smallpdf is a free online PDF editor that offers a limited but useful set of editing and conversion tools. Though it can’t match the abilities of a paid PDF editor, it does provide a way to make basic changes to documents quickly.
PDF conversion is Smallpdf’s strength. You can convert Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to PDF and vice versa. The converter also supports image files including PNG, BMP, TIFF, and GIF formats. Best of all, you can upload and convert multiple documents at once.
Smallpdf also allows you to modify existing PDFs. You can extract pages from one PDF and save each page as a separate PDF, as well as combine multiple PDFs into a single document. You can also remove and rotate pages and insert page numbers. If you have a PDF that exceeds your email’s file-size limitation, Smallpdf can compress it without compromising its quality.
Working with sensitive documents? Smallpdf allows you to password protect and encrypt PDFs and unlock protected files you receive. You can create your signature, sign PDFs, and request signatures from others as well.
While these features are compelling for a free tool, Smallpdf’s editing capabilities are considerably more modest. You essentially have just five options: add text, add images, add shapes, highlight, and draw. Even these tasks are fairly restrictive. You can’t change the font type, for example, just the size and color, and there are only four shapes to choose from—rectangle, ellipse, line, and arrow. Annotation tools like sticky notes and comments are not supported at all.
Smallpdf’s web interface is straightforward to use. A simple toolbar across the top lets you navigate between the home page, tools menu, stored documents, and a search tool. Tools are laid out in clearly labeled rectangular tiles, and every task can be started by simply dragging a PDF file into your browser window. A tabbed workspace across the bottom of the home page displays recent documents, documents that are out for a signature, and those that you need to sign.
On balance, Smallpdf is a solid editor for making simple changes to PDF documents on the fly. However, it limits you to processing just two files per day. To unlock unlimited daily usage, you need to subscribe for either $9 a month or $108 a year. If you’re at the point that you’re willing to pay for a PDF editor, though, it’s worth considering some of the premium options in our buying guide, which offer fuller feature sets for heavy PDF users.
On balance, Smallpdf is a solid editor for making simple changes to PDF documents on the fly. However, it limits you to processing just two files per day. To unlock unlimited daily usage, you need to subscribe for either $9 a month or $108 a year. If you’re at the point that you’re willing to pay for a PDF editor, though, it’s worth considering some of the premium options in our best PDF editor roundup, which offer fuller feature sets for heavier PDF users.