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A PDF Chrome extension can be a very handy tool in many situations. Imagine you just received a PDF file and you need to sign and send it back - but the problem is, you don't have a full-fledged PDF editor! What do you do? In such instances, you can get an Acrobat Chrome extension or just about any Chrome extension to handle PDF signing, and then use it to process your document directly on your browser, without having to download or install any standalone application. This article showcases no less than 11 hot PDF Chrome extensions to fix PDF tasks without opening a desktop tool.
In this article
Part 1. PDF Reader - Open and View Your PDF within Seconds
Tool 1: PDF Viewer
This unique PDF Chrome extension uses HTML5 to render your PDF on the browser using PDF.js, which is fully supported by Mozilla Labs. Since it is largely an open-source tool, it is also free to use. However, it does have its limitations since it is merely a PDF viewer rather than an editor, annotator, or e-signing tool. It also requires special permission to view files that are locally stored, which require an internal URL to access. In addition, there's a known issue with this PDF Chrome extension that doesn't allow users to view files that have been generated using a POST request, which is essentially a form. Nevertheless, if you need to quickly view a PDF and you have nothing else to work with, this can fill the gap.
Tool 2: Open in PDF Viewer
This browser-based PDF tool piggy-backs on several popular tools. In other words, it can be an Acrobat Chrome extension, but you will need the full version of Acrobat and then connect this Chrome extension to it once you activate it. This is a major downside because, after all, if you have Acrobat already, why use a PDF Chrome extension? The reason is simple - for convenience. In truth, this is not a PDF utility at all; rather, it is a bridge that allows you to open PDF links in the tool of your choice using a special patch, which makes it the equivalent of an Acrobat Chrome extension. In a sense, that is. Still, it's pretty useful if you know how to install it and connect it to your default PDF viewer.
Part 2. PDF Editor - Edit PDF Files Easier than Desktop Tool
Tool 3: PDF Editor for Chrome
In this category of PDF Chrome extensions, we show tools that can actually edit PDF files, which is quite handy when you need to fill out or form or make simple correction to the existing content of a PDF file. Normally, this would require a fully functional PDF editor but, in this case, you can directly fill forms using this neat Chrome extension called pdfFiller. The name itself suggests what you can do with this convenient tool. In addition to filling forms, you can also edit PDFs, apply electronic signatures, print, share, and even organize PDF files. It's quite versatile, as you can see, but it's not completely free. However, you do get a 30-day free trial before you have to commit to a purchase.
Tool 4: Smallpdf
Many of you may have heard of Smallpdf, which offers online and desktop solutions for PDF management, file conversion, editing, and other functionalities. This is a Chrome extension version with pretty much the same functionality, but with limited scope since it works directly through your browser's resources rather than as an online service. It essentially offers the ability to edit, combine, compress, split, and convert PDFs into other file types. You can also sign PDFs and even send them for others to sign. In addition, the Smallpdf PDF Chrome extension offers an important service - PDF security to lock and unlock files so the information inside can be kept safe from unauthorized viewing.
Part 3. PDF Annotator - Highlight, Comment, Draw and Erase PDF as You Like
Tool 5: Adobe Acrobat
Although Adobe Acrobat for Chrome, the extension, purports to be a PDF editor, you can't modify any existing text in a PDF file. This PDF Chrome extension is primarily meant for annotations, form-filling, electronic signing, and file conversions. In many ways, it's similar to the free Acrobat Reader DC or the expired free-trial version of Acrobat DC. However, some additional tools include PDF merging, PDF creation, PDF organizing, file size compression, and a few more. If you're already an Acrobat user, the UI is quite easy to understand, navigate, and use. Remember that this is a browser-run application so don't try to process very large files the way you would in Acrobat DC or Pro DC.
Tool 6: Weava Highlighter - PDF & Web
As the name suggests, this is an annotation tool that allows you to highlight text portions of PDF files. Not only that, but it also lets you do this on web pages. Moreover, once you've highlighted the text, you can organize it into folders and sub-folders. The free version is quite limited, so if you need more functionality, you can upgrade to a Premium account and get unlimited folders and sub-folders, unlimited cloud storage for your highlights, the ability to clap and save images into your personal workspace, and so on. Still, even the free version allows you to do things such as creating citations, which is a great feature for students preparing an assignment or writing a paper where citations are super-important.
Part 4. PDF Converter - Convert PDF to Word and Other Formats
Tool 7: SmartPDF
This PDF Chrome extension goes beyond the abilities of the Acrobat Chrome extension and most other similar utilities, but its primary function is as a file conversion tool to transform documents to and from the PDF format. It works for files of up to 20MB and is absolutely free to use. Simply open a document, then click the browser extension button, choose an output format, and VOILA! Your file is ready within seconds. It's convenient and fast, and the accuracy is pretty decent for a free PDF Chrome extension file conversion tool. The formats that are currently supported are document types such as Word, PPT, Excel, and also JPG images. It doesn't convert to or from other image types but since JPG is fairly universal, you can convert PDFs to make them viewable in any image viewing or editing tool.
Tool 8: PDF.online
Formerly known as Xodo (the iOS app still carries that name and is the most popular member of this family of PDFTron utilities. This one is a Google Chrome PDF extension and is an off-shoot of the namesake online PDF service. The features are quite extensive and almost match everything that you can do on the online version, but since this is simply an extension, it works in a different way and is not capable of handling heavy documents. Besides this, it offers a range of useful functionality such as PDF conversion (to and from PDF), PDF editing, file merging (combine PDFs), cropping, compression, redaction, form-filling, split PDF, sign PDF, and organizing PDF. As a versatile tool, it's a handy way to handle workflows in real-time when you're online and come across something you'd like to process.
Part 5. PDF Organizer -Split and Merge PDF Pages with Clicks
Tool 9: Split PDF
The name gives away the whole story! Split PDF is a Chrome PDF extension specially designed to break up PDF files into separate pages. Once you upload a file to the extension window, it will split up the file into as many different files as there are pages in the original document. It's a great way to split files that have been merged before for easier sharing. It won't alter the pay layout or any other attribute. All it does is a simple splitting action that creates one file from each of the pages of the source PDF file. Obviously, it only works with PDF but it's a great Chrome extension to have, nevertheless.
Tool 10: Merge PDF
This free and fast PDF Chrome extension does the opposite of the previous tool we showed you. You can upload two or more PDF files after clicking the extension icon in the toolbar, after which it will merge these files to give you a single output PDF. One thing you need to be aware of is the sequence of the uploaded files because they'll get merged in that exact order. If you want to change it, you'll need another tool. And that brings us to the most important online PDF service that can complement all the tools described above.
Part 6. Bonus! Process All PDF Tasks Free Online with Ease
Tool 11: HiPDF
This amazing PDF Chrome extension is similar in functionality to its parent utility, HiPDF.com, which is a browser-based PDF management utility with a range of functions. Everything you need can be found here, whether you want to edit a PDF, secure it, convert it to another format, fill it, add annotations, or perform other advanced actions. It's a powerful tool that can handle heavy workflows, and the free limit is quite generous. Moreover, if you need to upgrade and remove all limitations, the paid plan is very affordable. The editing tool is very handy and you can modify PDF files the way you want without having to download any additional software.
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What's the Best PDF Chrome Extension?
Depending on your specific daily workflow tasks, you can choose any one of these tools, which is why we've segregated them into various sections. It should help you quickly identify and start using the best one for a particular job. But if you're looking for something that does it all, then HiPDF is probably what you've been looking for. It covers the full range of PDF management tools, it's easy to access, powerful, accurate, and affordable. In other words, it is your one-stop shop Chrome extension for PDF files and other document and image formats.”