A better Adobe Acrobat alternative for editing digital library articles


Digital library articles such as journal submissions and other academic papers are typically archived as PDF documents. In addition, publishers maintain large repositories of content that is typically stored in digital archives. In order to edit these articles, papers, and other content, a user will require a robust PDF editor with functions like editing, page organizing, Bates Numbers, annotations, file-merging, file-splitting, watermarking, redaction, security, batch processing, text recognition, file conversion, and so on. While Adobe Acrobat and other super-premium PDF editors do offer most of these features, they’re often prohibitively expensive, making them impractical for the purpose of editing digital library articles by smaller entities with limited budgets.

Fortunately, there’s an affordable Adobe Acrobat alternative tool for editing digital library articles and other archived documents: PDFelement. Editing any PDF document becomes as simple as downloading it from its host location, opening it with the software application, and leveraging the aforementioned features in PDFelement to edit the copy and all other components of your documents. Let’s review some of the relevant features you can use to modify your digital library articles.

PDF Editing

Editing digital articles requires a comprehensive suite of tools for adding, removing, and modifying content elements such as text, images, annotations, embedded media, hyperlinks, watermarks, pagination, footer text, headers, etc. PDFelement offers a clean layout for this purpose and is one of the reasons why it is a better alternative to Adobe Acrobat, which has a cluttered and often confusing interface, according to user reviews. In contrast, PDFelement offers a separate Edit tab with all the tools a user will need to edit PDFs while maintaining attributes like font types, alignment, etc.

Another advantage of using this tool is that there are separate modes for editing text by line and by paragraph. While the former allows you to change or replace individual sentences, the latter gives you the freedom to play around with entire blocks of text. In addition, the image editing mode lets you resize, replace, and rotate pictures without impacting the alignment or layout of the surrounding content.

Viewing and Navigation

From the standpoint of being a PDF viewer, it’s hard to find a PDF utility as affordable as PDFelement. While many free PDF viewers are available today, they don’t quite offer the kind of versatility you’ll get – even with the free trial version of PDFelement. Some of the viewing options include multiple page view modes (including thumbnail view), opening to a specific page, being able to navigate quickly to any page, the ability to open multiple documents for a side-by-side view for the sake of comparison.

One of the unique features here is the ability to take selective screenshots (screengrab/snapshot) of user-defined areas and save them to your desktop or the clipboard for pasting elsewhere. This allows you to quickly grab a portion of a document and send it by email or upload it to a shared folder for others to view, making it an ideal tool to share ideas without having to send the entire document.


The Comment tab in PDFelement contains an extensive range of markup tools to allow for smoother communication between document collaborators. The choices span text highlighting, callout boxes, sticky notes, stamps, shapes, arrows, lines, freehand drawing, etc., and all of these elements can be modified in a granular manner to suit specific preferences. For example, if you have multiple annotations crowding a short paragraph, you can reduce line thickness for shapes so the markups don’t overlap each other.

The biggest feature highlight here is that users often need to add attachments to a PDF. PDFelement allows files, videos, and other media to be added as comments, which can then be placed anywhere within the document. As long as the reader has an application to open the attachment, it can be accessed on any device. This allows the content to have rich media included with the core material that the document focuses on.

PDF Conversion

In certain cases, PDF documents with rich elements like tables, graphs, and other visual content may need to be edited in native applications like spreadsheet editors and image tools. With PDFelement, users can quickly convert PDFs into an array of other formats like Word, PowerPoint, and even HTML5 so they can be processed in other applications before being uploaded back to the digital library as PDFs.

Two of the biggest benefits of using PDFelement’s powerful conversion engine are its accuracy and speed. This allows users to retain the integrity of content within their documents when converting from PDF to other file types, as well as shorten the amount of time required to convert large documents. Additionally, once the files are edited in other applications, they can be quickly converted back to PDF with the same level of accuracy. This ensures that alignment, fonts, and other attributes of the document are carefully preserved as they’re converted to and from PDF.

The ability to convert documents to the ISO PDF/A format, making them more suitable for long-term archiving, which is usually the case with large digital libraries. This feature supports attributes such as annotation and font embedding (as opposed to linking), viewing embedded fonts, and so on.

PDF Protection

One of the most important aspects of digital libraries is accessibility. However, web-based repositories are obviously prone to security breaches and access by unauthorized users. PDFelement offers simple but strong password-based security options to restrict access to documents. Adding a password encrypts the file and prevents it from being viewed by third parties.

Another risk that users often face with online articles is plagiarism, a common problem that authors are only too familiar with. To prevent others from copying and printing copyrighted content, document owners can add watermarks and apply passwords to restrict such actions. In addition, confidential content within widely distributed documents can be permanently redacted.

Page and File Management

Often, digital library articles need to be updated with fresh content, merged to create more comprehensive cornerstone articles, or split to create a series of articles. This allows search engine crawlers to rank the content as being more relevant to users and make them more visible in search engine results pages, or SERPs. Doing this is at the heart of search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to rank articles higher on search results and gain more visibility for your body of work.

Within the articles, pages may need to be added or removed, and PDFelement can help organize documents in a flexible manner using a thumbnail view; this allows you to drag and drop pages wherever you want them to go. The result is better-flowing content that’s more natural for the reader, another factor in determining the search engine ranking for individual articles.

File Size Reduction

Optimizing file size is a crucial component of web content because the site’s speed depends on the size of each page which, in turn, is determined by the size of the files that were originally uploaded. PDFelement has an optimization feature that lets you reduce the file size by as much as 90% or more. This is done by removing metadata, unwanted content, and reducing image resolution. The resulting files are smaller and can be uploaded back to the web portal to make it load faster for users, especially those with slower Internet connections.

Another useful feature is PDF flattening (sometimes referred to as ‘flatting’.) The process of flattening a PDF involves doing away with all non-visible layers and only retain embedded content in a single layer with the purpose of making the document harder to edit or modify. This feature is especially useful when you have multiple layers of data and other types of content in your document. It also helps remove any element that can’t be viewed in a printed copy of the PDF.

OCR – Optical Character Recognition

Some of your documents may have been created from physical sources using a scanner, which means the content is not ‘machine-readable’ and can’t be properly indexed or edited. The OCR function in PDFelement allows you to convert them into editable or searchable PDF files at the click of a button. In addition, the OCR feature supports over 25 different languages so, once they’re converted into an editable format, they can then be translated if required. This also allows them to be indexed by language-specific search engine crawlers and made available to a larger audience across the globe.

A valuable user tip here would be to have your PDF digital library articles translated into several target languages and then uploaded to give readers multiple language options when they want to read or download content.

How to perform OCR with simple steps?

Batch Processes

Large article repositories often require several documents to be processed in the same manner; for example, you may want to add watermarks to hundreds of files or need to extract data into a single output file. With the Batch Process feature, users can rapidly process hundreds of documents. These bulk jobs include file conversion, encryption, watermarking, data extraction, and more.

One of the major plus points with bulk processes, obviously, is that users can get through massive workflows without having to individually work on each file. Since PDFelement is capable of getting through files at a rapid rate while maintaining the integrity of the content, it logically follows that this feature will make you far more productive than otherwise

Forms Management

PDFelement boasts one of the most comprehensive and granular suite of tools to manage your online forms, surveys, and other documents containing third-party input. The basic feature is the ability to fill out forms even if the original document is static rather than interactive. The conversion from non-interactive to interactive content allows files to be downloaded, filled up, and uploaded back to the library quickly and accurately.

In addition, there is also a feature for automatic form field recognition, and this is automatically triggered when the software detects a form with fillable fields. There are also multiple ways to add digital signatures and validate the document as well as the author, giving you legal claim over the content.

Cloud Integration and Sharing

PDFelement will let you directly download from and upload to cloud services like Evernote and Drive. If your digital library articles are stored in the cloud, you will be able to access them quickly and without having to first download them to your desktop. Today’s workloads are often backed up to cloud storage locations for the purpose of disaster recovery, which makes for seamless integration with this software.

Most of PDFelement’s sharing tools are designed with flexibility and collaborative qualities in mind, which is why sharing documents with peers and colleagues is a strong focal point in the software’s design. From within the application, users can share documents via email or upload them to a shared folder in the cloud, making it a strong contender as a collaborative tool for multiple stakeholders.

Cross-platform Support

PDFelement is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, all of which are major operating systems covering the bulk of computers and connected mobile devices in use around the world. As such, it makes it convenient to manage your digital libraries from virtually any device, giving you freedom and mobility to download, edit, and upload documents from home, from work, or on the go.


As the current COVID-19 situation forced most companies into a work-from-home model for their employees, it is vital that you deploy such cross-platform tools to manage your daily

workloads. As an Adobe Acrobat alternative for editing digital library articles, PDFelement offers a powerful palette of features for a fraction of the price, making it an easy choice for companies and small businesses with limited budgets – not to mention the world of academia in its entirety – that are rushing to convert their infrastructure to accommodate the need for social distancing and remote work in the months and years ahead.

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