5 Tools to for Working with PDF Files

Find, create, edit, and sign PDFs online with these tools

PDf file on a tablet that's sitting on a table with coffee, glasses, a smartphone and a keyboard.

 courtneyk / Getty Images

One of the most convenient aspects about the Web today is that tasks that formerly used to be somewhat tedious – such as filling out, creating, or editing PDF forms – can now be done within the Web browser, rather than purchasing proprietary software that can be expensive and hard to use.

In this article, we'll take a look at free sites you can use to edit PDF files, create PDF files, and sign PDF files (one of the most common uses of these file types) simply and easily by using a few simple sites. You'll definitely want to bookmark this material and keep it in mind for future PDF tasks you need to complete. 

How to Find PDF Files Online

PDF on a computer screen

 Lumina Images / Getty Images

If you are trying to find PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files on the Web, one of the best ways to accomplish this is with a search that specifies .pdf format. Using the queries below, search engines will return quite a bit of interesting material, everything from books to white papers to technical manuals.

Not all of this material is free to use, especially in regards to commercial use; be sure to check with the respective owners to make sure there are not any possible copyright infringements. 

Fill out PDF Forms Online with PDFfiller

PDF Filer screenshot


If you've ever been in the situation of having to fill out a PDF form (job applications, for example), you know that if it's not a fillable PDF, it's not as easy as just pointing your mouse and filling out the fields. FOr PDFs that don't have fields enabled, you have to print the form, fill in the blanks, scan it back into your computer, and then, finally, you can email it back. Quite a pain! However, you can get around all that with PDFfiller.

PDFfiller enables you to fill out PDF forms within your browser, without any special software. Just upload your form to the site from your hard drive or point PDFfiller to a specific URL, fill out the form, and then you can print it, email it, fax it, whatever... super convenient.

PDFfiller is not a free tool. Personal accounts start at $6 per month. But it can be a little misleading because you can upload and edit your PDF file on the PDFfiller website, but when you try to save it to a different file format, download the file, or send it using any method you're redirected to their account page to purchase a monthly plan. 

Use PDFCreator to Create PDF Files Online

PDF Creator screenshot


Use PDFCreator to easily create PDF files from any Windows application. Some of the many things you can do with this include:

  • Convert your Documents to PDF, JPG, PNG, TIF, and other file formats.
  • Merge multiple documents into one file.
  • Make frequently used settings available with one click.
  • Compress and resize images to reduce the file size.
  • Encrypt your PDFs with Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) and protect them with a password.
  • Prevent unauthorized access to your PDFs by changing the security settings.

If you only need to create PDF files once in a while the ability to create PDF files online is convenient because you don't need to pay for any special software. 

PDF for eBooks and Other Digital Publications

PDF Search engine screenshot


eBooks and digital publications have become a common way for people to get all sorts of information. From fiction to class lectures and corporate information, finding PDFs of the information you need is easy to do. For example, you can find books and all sorts of files with the Pdf Search Engine, an easy way to look for printed materials distributed on the Web.

Read ebooks and other digital publications more easily with Adobe's Digital Editions, a free download that supports PDF files. Most libraries that offer digital collections use PDF files, and this bit of software that's available for Android and iOS is just what you need to access those books.

Convert PDF files

ZAmzar screenshot


Zamzar is a file conversion utility that allows you to convert files into different formats, including PDFs. This is an incredibly useful tool that supports not only PDF files, but over 1200 different conversion types, from video to audio to books to images.

To use Zamzar, you don't need to download anything. All you have to do is select a file, pick a format to convert to, and Zamzar will send you the converted file within a few minutes. 

If none of these PDF tools has the capabilities you need, check these additional free PDF editors. Some can be used online while some are programs you'll need to install on your system.