What You Should Demand From Your PDF Editor: An In-Depth Review of PDFelement


Wondershare PDFelement has been the constant companion of millions of businesses worldwide for its ability to handle the simplest as well as the most complex PDF tasks. As a PDF editor, it rivals the capabilities of Adobe Acrobat DC. As a PDF converter, it is as powerful as ABBYY FineReader. As a forms management solution, it goes head to head with Nitro Pro PDF and Foxit Phantom PDF. From an affordability standpoint, it beats nearly every other product hands down.

So, what is it exactly that makes this relative newcomer to the PDF market such a compelling option that it is one of the fastest-growing PDF products today? This article hopes to answer that question by carefully reviewing its core features and attempting to get to the bottom of its success.

To that end, we will consider all important functionalities such as editing, PDF creation, file conversion, security, advanced OCR support for text recognition, form-handling, and file size optimization. In addition, we look at the new features introduced in the latest version for Windows – PDFelement 8.

What Does Wondershare PDFelelement Do?

In one word, EVERYTHING. If thereís a task to be executed on a PDF file, it can be done using PDFelement. And it offers cross-platform support, meaning whether youíre a Windows user or Mac user, an Android or iOS fan, thereís a version for that operating system. Nearly every function from Adobe Acrobat has a matching feature in PDFelement 8 for Windows, which has now been integrated with a unique product called Document Cloud. Apart from being a standalone cloud storage service, Document Cloud also contains a robust electronic signature feature you can use to send documents to third-party signers. With a new UI and several performance enhancements, PDFelement 8 is the new generation in end-to-end PDF solutions.

Feature Overview

  • Create PDF
  • Edit PDF
  • Convert to other formats
  • Annotate, review, and comment
  • PDF security – encryption, edit protection, watermarking, redaction, etc.
  • PDF file size optimization
  • Page and file management – split, merge, add, remove, reorder, rotate, crop, etc.
  • Forms – create, sign, convert, fill, extract form field data
  • OCR – Text recognition for 20+ languages, high accuracy
  • Batch Process – Run several operations in batches of files to save time

What are the System Requirements for Wondershare PDFelement?

Operating SystemWindows 10, XP, 8, Vista, and Mac (supports the latest macOS Big Sur) iOS and Android
Processor1Ghz or above
RAM512 MB or above
Required Hard Disk Space500 MB or above

As you can see, PDFelement is light on resources so you donít need a high-end PC or Mac to run it. Naturally, the faster your system, the faster the processes will run, but it is not a prerequisite. One piece of advice is to always make sure your OS is on the latest version since PDFelement and most other software applications are regularly updated to run on the most current stable version of your operating system.

A Closer Look at Wondershare PDFelement 8 for Windows

The latest Windows version of the software is called PDFelement 8 and is available in Standard and Pro versions. Some of the more advanced features like Batch Process, form data extraction, and OCR come with the Pro variant, but the Standard version covers all the essential PDF tasks. Hereís a quick look at how the software performs some of the more important PDF tasks, as well as key new features and aspects of the newly released version.

User Interface

Itís clear that Wondershare has put intense effort into simplifying the whole PDF process. On the home page, the icons have been modified to be much clearer and the entire page is very minimal, showing you only what you need to see. Clicking on any of the main features will take you to the page for that operation, where you can see nearly arranged toolbars in a classic ribbon style like a native Windows application. The icons there have been redesigned for more clarity as well, and some of the redundant options have been unified to create a cleaner appearance. The overall navigation is now much simpler and easy to learn  if youíre a new user.

Creating PDFs from Other File Types

PDFelement supports the conversion of several types of files to PDF. In fact, you can convert more than 300 different formats to PDF by simply dropping them into the software interface. The powerful conversion engine then gets to work converting each file into its equivalent PDF version, carefully preserving various content elements and attributes like font types, colors, layouts, alignment, and so on. The accuracy of conversion was extremely good in the test runs we conducted, and it was really fast as well. Itís definitely a step up from the earlier PDFelement 7.

Editing PDF Content

This is probably the most important job of a PDF editor so we thoroughly tested the edit function on editable PDF files as well as non-editable content such as scanned images and photos. We found the editing experience to be highly simplified and far more intuitive with PDFelement 8.

The new version allows you to directly edit a scanned PDF as it is converted via OCR very quickly and accurately. In fact, you can switch between reading mode and edit mode, which simplifies the process a lot.

Cloud Integration

Although Document Cloud can be used as a standalone browser-based service, PDFelement 8 for Windows has built-in controls to access it from within the softwareís interface. For instance, when you use the File ? Open function, one of the options will be Wondershare Cloud; similarly, saving a document will give you an option to upload it directly to the cloud. You get the free version of Document Cloud along with your PDFelement 8 subscription, or you can opt for the bundle, which includes Document Cloud as well as PDFelement for Mac, iOS, and Android.

Electronic Signature

This is essentially a feature thaís built into Document Cloud but it can be accessed through PDFelement 8 for Windows. To access it, simply go to the Sign tab and click Electronic Signature. It will launch Document Cloud in your browser and take you to the signing section. There, you can send a document to multiple signers, set the signing order, include yourself as a signer, track the signing status of documents, set a security code for confidential documents, and much more. It makes the process of contract signing very simple, safe, and quick.

Reading and Annotating

Although it is a powerful PDF editor, PDFelement is also a versatile PDF reader and annotation tool. Easily flip through PDF eBooks and long documents with reading-specific functions, and quickly markup documents with a range of annotation and commenting tools. The notes can be customized using different colors, which allows multiple users to collaborate on a document, especially if itís stored in Document Cloud.

Converting PDF to Other Formats

The conversion engine is equally accurate when converting PDF into other formats. This helps the user edit files in their native applications, such as Excel for tables and PowerPoint for slide content. The formats are carefully preserved so you wonít see any misalignment or layout changes in the converted file.

Merge (Combine) PDFs

The Combine PDF function is a useful feature when you need to consolidate and collate several files into a single compilation. Whether thatís the chapters of a book or sections of a single piece, PDFelement makes it easy. Just use the Combine PDF option on the home page, add your files, order them in the right sequence and hit ĎCombineí to merge the files. Thereís also an option to create a first page that will list all the merged files, and it acts like an index or a Table of Contents for easy reference.

Speed and Performance

Speed is a major problem with many PDF editors but Wondershare has solved that problem with the new PDFelement. It is tested 300% faster to launch and open documents, and thatís no exaggeration. Our launch time was under 2 second and a fairly large document was opened in under 1 second. Thatís pretty impressive for a lightweight PDF utility with a relatively small resource footprint.

Batch Process

Most PDF editors can only handle bulk processing for PDF conversion, but PDFelement offers a range of options. Aside from converting to (Create) and from (Convert) PDF, you can also extract data (also from form fields), perform OCR, apply Bates Numbering, encrypt files, reduce file sizes, and add or remove watermarks to multiple files. The function is also easy to use. Just open the Batch Process tool, drag and drop your files, select an output folder, and hit Apply. In a matter of minutes, your files will be processed. We were pleasantly surprised by the speed of the operation, which is much faster than weíve seen with several other PDF editors. If itís just a few small files, it will be done in seconds!

File Size Optimization

This feature needs a special mention because it can compress your files by up to 87%. This is an extremely useful feature, especially when you have a lot of high-resolution images in your PDF and you need to send a copy to someone by email or upload to an FTP location using a slow connection. You can also flatten a PDF to remove unwanted layers and retain only what you would see in a printout.


Despite the addition of several new features, a full overhaul of the UI and a full range of features brought in from older versions, the price of PDFelement 8 subscriptions remain the same. Moreover, until the end of the year, Wondershare is keeping its introductory discount that was launched on Black Friday. The following are the special prices that you can take advantage of until December 31, 2020.

PDFelement Standard is available @ 59/year for the subscription or $69 for a perpetual license.

PDFelement Pro is available @ $79/year under subscription or $129 for a perpetual license.

The best offer is the amazing Bundle Deal, which you can subscribe to for $149.99/year during the special offer period. This includes one-year subscriptions to PDFelement Pro for Windows, PDFelement Pro for Mac, PDFelement Pro for iOS, and Document Cloud and offers great value for businesses that need a cross-platform application.

Review Verdict

Thereís no doubt that PDFelement 8 is far ahead of the previous version. This makes it an even more compelling competitor to its main rival, Adobe Acrobat DC. The integration with Document Cloud in the Windows version is a major leap forward that puts PDFelement at the top of its game. The best part about this software is that you can own it for just a little more than the annual subscription price, which is a game-changer in itself. Overall, we give PDFelement 8 for Windows a score of 9 out of 10, the lost point going toward lack of Document Cloud integration in the Mac, Android, and iOS versions.