In the world of PDF, Foxit PDF Editor is well-known as a mature PDF tool that offers a cross-platform experience for medium-heavy document workflows. PDFelement is a newer product on the market but rapidly gaining share in a highly fragmented PDF solutions market. It offers a slicker and easier-to-use interface, better-organized menu and toolbar layouts, and powerful underlying conversion engines for OCR, file conversion, encryption, batch processing, PDF creation, and other intensive tasks.
PDFelement offers similar device ecosystem support, with purpose-built versions for macOS, Windows, iOS/iPad, and Android devices. This is complemented by cloud integration with Wondershare Document Cloud for convenient and secure file sharing, signature sending, collaborative annotations, etc. Foxit also offers a cloud-based solution in tandem with its own Foxit Cloud.
The one major difference between these two stellar products is support for Mac users. Although Foxit does have a Mac version, it's a Standard version rather than the Pro version. That means fewer advanced tools compared to the Windows Pro version. Foxit has introduced some advanced functionality into its Mac Foxit PDF Editor version, but a significant gap remains - one that is suitably filled by PDFelement for Mac.
In this article
Part 1. Learn About Foxit PDF Editor
First, let's look at Foxit PDF Editor for Mac to see what it offers users in terms of value. As you might already know, PDF editing is relatively simple. Those familiar with Windows layouts will recognize the distinctive 'built for Windows' styling even in the Mac product. Many of the elements have been modified to suit inveterate macOS fans, but the disconnect is somewhat obvious.
That being said, Foxit for Mac is almost as easy to use as PDFelement for Mac. We say 'almost' because there are still legacy design elements reminiscent of a Windows utility, but keep in mind that Foxit only had a PDF reader for Mac for a long time - about three years, which is a long time in terms of technological development cycles.
It took that long to build/compile a version for Mac that would also edit files and do at least 80% of what Foxit PDF Pro for Windows can do. That came with the PhantomPDF for Mac in 2018. The rest is history, as they say.
Today, Foxit is an aggressive software upgrader. As with PDFelement, the updates are fast and furious, with at least one major improvement per build. But unlike PDFelement, Foxit is only now introducing M1 chip support, digital signatures, export support for older Excel, Word, and XML formats, accessibility check-and-fix functionality, etc.
PDFelement has had most of these from the very early iterations, and the platform is now concentrating on improving advanced tools such as language translation, OCR, secure signature workflows, and cross-platform collaboration. In truth, the Mac version of Foxit is still finding its footing in the Mac PDF space, while PDFelement has zoomed ahead, particularly with PDFelement Pro for Mac.
Core Features of Foxit PDF Editor for Mac
- Scan to PDF and create PDF from various sources
- PDF templates
- Conversion to PDF/A (cannot create)
- Full PDF editing (except reflow editing, which is only supported partially in Pro+ for Mac
- eSigning, forms, and security
- Commenting, sharing, tracking, and other collaborative tools
macOS, Windows, iOS/iPadOS, Android, and Cloud (Foxit Cloud)
Cross-platform OS support
Relatively cheaper than Adobe and other expensive solutions
Frequent product updates with improvements, fixes, and, occasionally, new feature sets and sub-sets
No PDF/A creation or font embedding
Missing the one-click-web-to-PDF feature
No redaction and such advanced tools
Plans & Pricing
$159 one-time purchase or about $69 for an annual license
Users can get a quote for special license bundles
The standard for Mac and Standard/Pro for Windows starts at $149 per year
Part 2. PDFelement for Mac - Best Foxit PDF Editor for Mac Alternative
Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor comes in very quickly from behind as the dark horse in the race for PDF dominance. Although Adobe still holds the lion's share of the market, companies like Wondershare and even Foxit are slowly chipping away at the leadership and eating the lunch of poorer products. While Foxit tilts primarily toward Windows (obviously, with that many users), PDFelement is well-balanced across both desktop options.
Nearly all the features you'll see in the Windows version are rapidly deployed in the macOS version and, where possible, to iOS/iPadOS/Android versions as well. The frequency of updates is, as we mentioned, fast and furious, and each iteration is taken through a carefully crafted beta program before being released to public users. That makes it relatively bug-free on the first attempt!
Possibly the biggest draw of PDFelement is the fact that it is quickly approaching the feature density of Adobe, Nitro, and other large players in the space. Newer tools, such as the translation tool in PDFelement, as well as the powerful upgraded OCR, are a testament to how quickly features are added, but the platform still manages to maintain the simplicity of its menu navigation. This is a hard task, but PDFelement does it really well.
As a final note about PDFelement, suffice it to say that it is easily the most affordable alternative to Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat DC Pro (PDFelement Pro for Mac), which means Foxit isn't tough competition when it comes down to the minutiae of features and capabilities sported by PDFelement on an iterative, ongoing basis.
- Accurate OCR in Multiple Languages - PDFelement's text recognition software is second to none, offering high accuracy with high speed, even with large batches processed in bulk
- PDF Editing, Simplified - Any content element in a PDF file can be modified, deleted, or replaced - no overwrites - pure editing
- Extensive conversion options - literally hundreds of combinations when it comes to PDF creation and about a dozen 'from PDF' conversion options
- Comprehensive Forms Management - No more scrambling for forms features as PDFelement houses it all under one roof in the Form tab of the software
- PDF Organizing Perfected - Organize files and pages in flexible ways to remove or add content, shuffle page orders, rotate images and pages, bookmark pages, compile PDF portfolios, etc.
- Security and Privacy Tools - Redaction, encryption, watermarking, secure verifiable signature, etc.
- Extended Capabilities - Cloud integration with Wondershare Document Cloud for global file sharing and accessibility; batch processing of advanced tasks, Bates Numbering, and more
Windows 10/11, macOS up to current version, Android, iOS, iPad, and the Cloud
Affordable premium PDF solution
Easy to use even if you're a PDF novice
Powerful features for advanced users
Fast processing with accurate results
Cross-platform capability complemented by cloud storage and e-signature bulk-sending features
The free product applies a brand watermark to output files
Linux users are out of luck!
Cloud access requires a strong and stable connection
Plans & Pricing
As low as $6.50 a month for Mac with options to upgrade to cheaper long-term options and one-time licensing
Special discounts for the education segment are available
Bundle offers to the target device type are reasonably priced
Part 3. Compare Foxit PDF Editor for Mac with PDFelement for Mac
PDFelement for Mac
Foxit PDF Editor for Mac
|Fill & Sign PDFs||√||√|
|Convert PDFs||√||√ - Limited options|
|Password Protect PDF||√||√|
|Plans & Pricing||Starts at < $7 per month billed annually ($79)||Slightly cheaper at < $6 per month billed annually ($69)|
PDF tasks require a level of 'premium' that can only be given by tools such as Adobe. WRONG! Foxit and PDFelement have proved that younger products can give Adobe a run for its money. However, from a features point of view, especially for Mac users, PDFelement for Mac offers the greatest value for the least price. In that respect, PDFelement for Mac is the perfect alternative to Foxit PDF Editor for Mac as well. With more features, greater speed, finer accuracy, and a vastly superior UI, PDFelement takes the pole contender position to continue taking market share.