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If you’re looking for a PDF editor for your Mac or Windows PC and don’t want to get locked into a subscription, we’ve looked at the best one time purchase PDF editors of 2023 that work on both platforms.

Many of the best PDF editors nowadays are subscription based.

Like it or loathe it, subscription based pricing is an increasingly common model used by software developers but there are still some excellent PDF editors out there that offer a perpetual license for a one time purchase with no limitations.

Here we’ve looked at the best one time purchase PDF editors for Mac and Windows including those that work on macOS Ventura, Windows 10 and Windows 11.

They’re also compatible with both Intel and Apple Silicon M1/M2 Macs.

Are There Any Disadvantages of One Time Purchase PDF Editors?

The main disadvantage of one time purchase PDF editors is that they eventually become outdated and unsupported by the developer.

One of the catches with most one time purchase PDF editing software is that they’re only supported with a limited number of updates after you’ve purchased them.

Some will receive security updates and support updates when new versions of macOS or Windows are released but eventually they will be unsupported by the developer.

Subscription PDF editors on the other hand are continually updated both with performance fixes and often new features too so you always have the latest version of the product with no end of life to worry about.

If a developer offers both a one time purchase and subscription version of its PDF editor, then you’ll also often find that the subscription version is better and with more features in an attempt to encourage users to go down the subscription route.

With this in mind here are the best one time PDF editors for both Mac and Windows PCs in order of ranking.

1. Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020

Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 is the last version of Adobe’s Acrobat Pro PDF editor that’s still available as a one-time purchase.

The product has been replaced by Adobe Acrobat Pro DC which is only available on subscription or part of Adobe Creative Cloud plans but Adobe still allows users to download and use Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 with a perpetual license.

This means that you get a perpetual license of Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 for $538 which you can use indefinitely compared to $19.99 per month for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

adobe acrobat pro one time purchase

Windows users can also purchase Adobe Acrobat Standard 2020 as a one time purchase for $358.00 but the Standard version is not available to Mac users.

acrobat standard one time purchase

Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 allows you to do pretty much anything you can do with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC minus the updates and Adobe Document Cloud integration of the latter.

This means that Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 does not include any quarterly Acrobat feature updates and does not allow you to access premium Adobe Document Cloud services such as Acrobat Sign via web browser or mobile device.

For more on the differences between the two products, check out our look at Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 vs Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

You can buy Adobe Acrobat Pro as a one time purchase here.

You can also read our full Adobe Acrobat Review for a more detailed look at it.

Pricing: $358.80 Adobe Acrobat 2020 Standard (Windows only) / $538.80 Adobe Acrobat 2020 Pro (Windows and Mac)


  • Allows you to do pretty much anything to a PDF
  • Available as a one time purchase
  • Adobe invented the PDF format
  • Powerful Microsoft Office conversions preserve formatting
  • Works on M1/M2 Macs
  • Works on the latest version of macOS Ventura


  • One time purchase version not integrated with Adobe Document Cloud
  • Adobe Acrobat 2020 Standard Windows only

2. PDF Expert

pdf expert mac

PDF Expert is it’s made exclusively for Apple devices so it looks and works great on Mac, iPad and iPhones.

PDF Expert also offers a lifetime license for $139.99 so you can use it for an unlimited time as long as it remains compatible with the latest versions of macOS.

Pdf Expert Lifetime license

The one time purchase of PDF Expert offers all the same features as the subscription version, minus mobile access and updates. The lack of update support means that eventually it will stop working with new releases of macOS but you should get many years of use out of it.

PDF Expert has a very clean interface that looks like it was made for macOS and iOS.

PDF Expert can edit PDFs, images and links as well as convert PDF documents to Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

PDF Expert also supports OCR scanning and signing of documents plus text to speech.

You can try PDF Expert for free to test it for yourself.

You can also read our full PDF Expert review for more.

Pricing: $139.99 lifetime license or $79.99 per year


  • Made specifically for Apple devices
  • Lifetime license plan available
  • Clean macOS style interface
  • Works seamlessly with iPads and iPhones


  • Lifetime license version doesn’t support mobile integration
  • Not cross platform, macOS and iOS only

3. Foxit PDF Editor

Foxit PDF Editor offers a one time purchase of its PDF editor that works on both Mac and Windows PCs.

However, it’s not exactly clear when you go to the Foxit PDF Editor website that a one time perpetual license is available unless you click on “View one-time payment plans” at the bottom of the subscription pricing page.

foxit pdf editor one time pricing box

You’ll then see the pricing plans for Foxit PDF Editor Pro ($220.49) and PDF Editor ($188.99) on a one time payment basis.

This makes it one of the most expensive one time purchase PDF editing software outside of Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020.

Note also that PDF Editor Pro is Windows only as there is no Mac version.

foxit pdf editor perpetual license plans

Foxit PDF Editor can form fill and sign PDFs across desktop, mobile and web.

If you need to create PDF forms for filling in, Foxit uses the more advanced Acroforms and XFA (XML Form Architecture) for form filling.

You can easily collaborate on PDFs with Foxit PDF Reader as well as add images, videos, and file attachments.

You can also protect and sign PDFs in Foxit PDF Reader in your own handwriting or use eSignature to verify the status of digital signatures.

Foxit PDF Reader is suitable for individuals but also offers a powerful enterprise solution to integrate with cloud storage services and popular enterprise CMS software.

Foxit PDF also has some of the strongest security protocols in any PDF editor on the market by using Trust Manager/Safe Mode, ASLR & DEP, Disable JavaScript and Security Warning Dialogs.

You can check out our full Foxit PDF Editor review for more on what it can do.

You can try a free trial of Foxit PDF Editor to test it for yourself.

Pricing: Foxit PDF Editor $188.99 or Pro $220.49


  • Powerful security and redaction tools
  • Enterprise version integrated with CMS software
  • Easy to use
  • Slick interface


  • Pro version is Windows only
  • Price

4. Nitro PDF Pro

best pdf editor mac - nitro pro pdf mac

Nitro PDF Pro is a powerful PDF editor which offers two versions for Mac and Windows with a perpetual license alongside its subscription versions.

Nitro PDF Pro has a familiar Microsoft Office style ribbon style interface and can edit, combine and convert documents to PDF including from Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Nitro PDF Pro also has an excellent integrated OCR scanner which can turn any document into a searchable PDF file in minutes.

You can also eSign documents in Nitro PDF Pro although this costs extra and requires a subscription compared to the main product which you can purchase for a one off fee.

For Mac users, Nitro PDF is available in two versions from the Mac App Store.

Nitro PDF Pro For Mac offers all PDF editing features for a one off payment of $139.99.

Confusingly however, Nitro PDF Pro For Mac and Windows is $179.99 if you purchase directly from the Nitro website.

There’s also Nitro PDF Essentials which is available exclusively for Mac for a slightly lower one off payment of $119.99 but which doesn’t include form building, OCR or PDF conversion tools.  Again, this costs slightly more on the Nitro website at $129.99.

Neither of these two products include e-signing however.

For e-signing you need a Nitro PDF cloud plan which are subscription only but include e-signing and can be used in any browser.

You can read our full review of Nitro PDF Pro here.

You can see a full comparison of all the Nitro PDF products here.

You can also try a 14 day free trial of Nitro PDF Pro for Mac.

Pricing: Nitro PDF Pro $139.99 one off payment / Nitro PDF Essentials $119.99 one off payment or Nitro PDF and eSign subscriptions starting at $14.99/month


  • Microsoft Office style interface
  • Converts PDFs to other formats
  • Easy to use
  • One time purchase available


  • eSigning costs extra and requires subscription
  • Confusing pricing structure across products

5. Kofax Power PDF

kofax pdf editor one time purchase

Kofax Power PDF is available as a one off purchase for both Mac and Windows starting at $129 for a perpetual license.

Kofax Power PDF is an easy to use low cost PDF editor with an interface similar to Microsoft Office products.

Kofax Power PDF doesn’t allow you to manipulate and edit PDFs as much as Adobe Acrobat Pro does but it’s enough for annotating pages, reordering and deleting pages and convert PDFs to other formats.

The interface of Kofax Power PDF has been optimized for the latest version of macOS Ventura and Windows 11 and looks great on both platforms.

Kofax Power PDF also uses some pretty robust security measures such as encrypted passwords and permissions as well as the ability to redact sensitive data.

Kofax Power PDF also supports e-signing of documents although for legally binding signature tracking you need to add SignDoc which is sold separately.

Kofax PDF also has a free mobile editing app which allows you to do basic editing of PDFs on the go and sign documents.

You can try Kofax Power PDF for free to test it first.

Pricing: $129 perpetual license


  • Works on both Windows and Mac
  • Easy to use
  • Simple, clean interface


  • Lacks advanced PDF editing tools
  • Mac version lacks some of Windows features

6. PDFelement

pdf element mac one time purchase

PDFelement is a cross platform PDF editor that offers a perpetual license for just $129.99.

The one time purchase version of PDFelement is exactly the same as the subscription version including integration with the mobile version.

It even gives you 20GB of free Cloud storage which is the same as the subscription version.

Unlike some PDF editors, the perpetual license version is clearly visible on the purchase page with a feature breakdown to show that it’s the same as the subscription model.

pdfelement one time pricing

PDFelement is easy to use and apart from all the standard PDF editing tools you’d expect, there are also tools to convert Word, Excel, PNG and JPG files to PDF including batch conversions.

You can also compress the size of PDFs and OCR scan documents with it.

You can try PDFelement free for 7 days to decide whether it’s the right PDF editor for you.

Pricing: $129.99


  • Easy to use
  • Works across all platforms
  • One time version is the same as subscription version
  • Free Cloud storage


  • Can be slow to use
  • Lacks advanced PDF editing tools

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3 Responses

  1. smayer97

    One of the best kept secrets for WINDOWS ONLY is Xodo! It has many advanced features of a PDF editor, including singing and encryption. BEST of all, it is FREE! There is a paid version BUT the free version contains most key features.

    It is only available via the Microsoft App store.

    • smayer97

      To be clear, you can get Xodo from their website or elsewhere but this is a trial and/or subscription. The FREE version (NOT a trial version) is only available via the Microsoft App store.

      TIP: Though it lists the password encryption as only available with the Pro version, the feature is hidden but usable in the Basic version too.


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