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Soda PDF Online review: A PDF editor for any device

Soda PDF OnlineImage: Michael Ansaldo/Foundry

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Compatible with any device and platformWell-organized with extensive toolsAffordable subscriptions

Cons

Requires Pro subscription for some toolsOnly Zooms to 200%, which may not be enough for some documents

Our Verdict

Soda PDF Online is a well-designed web-based editor with everything you need to work on PDFs from any device.

Although we live and work in a multiplatform world, PDF editors still tend to be Windows-only affairs likely due to the software’s origins as a “business” tool. Online PDF editors can often fill in the gaps for Mac users and those who work with PDFs on the fly via mobile devices. Soda PDF Online is one of the best of these, offering a complete suite of PDF tools in a user-friendly, platform-agnostic package.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best PDF editors to learn about competing products.

Soda PDF Online is a subscription service offered in two basic tiers. A Standard license provides the essential tools for viewing, creating, converting, and editing PDF documents for $12 a month or $84 a year. The Pro tier adds OCR searching, e-sign software, form and commenting capabilities, and batch processing options for $15 a month or $87 a year. A third Business tier adds phone support, flexible deployment options, and self-serve plan management for $20 a month or $198 per year. Soda offers a free 14-day trial with all features enabled.

Michael Ansaldo/Foundry

To get started, you just have to point your preferred browser to www.sodapdf.com and select “Start Free Trial,” which launches you directly to Soda PDF’s Home page. Down the left side of the page are two vertical rows of tiles that let you perform quick tasks such as securing a PDF file or converting one to a Microsoft Office format. Along the top, an Office-style ribbon interface groups tools across a dozen tabs that are labeled to indicate their various functions—View, Create & Convert, Edit, and so on. Clicking on a tab opens a submenu of corresponding tools. The interface looks similar on both tablets and smartphones, with some slight modifications to fit the smaller screens.

Opening a document in Soda PDF is as simple as locating the file on your hard drive or in a connected cloud folder via a provider like Google Drive or DropBox. Once the file opens a second smaller toolbar with three buttons—View, Edit, and Select Text—appears at the top of the document pane. Essentially, it surfaces these common tasks separately from the main toolbar to allow you to make quick changes without having to toggle between multiple tabs and submenus.

I like that Soda PDF’s tiered pricing takes into account that not every user will need every capability it offers.

Michael Ansaldo/Foundry

To make more extensive changes to a PDF, you’ll need to dig into the Edit tab. From here you can add text, images, and links to your document; insert page numbers; and add headers, footers, and watermarks.

Soda PDF Online lets you do more than just manipulate the content of your PDFs, though. It offers a full set of annotation tools including the ability to highlight text, add shapes and stamps, and comment in the form of sticky notes. It can be used to design and fill in forms. You can secure sensitive documents through password protection, text redaction, and “sanitization,” a one-click function that removes all sensitive information from the document, including annotations, links, metadata, and more. And, naturally, you can convert existing documents to PDFs and create PDFs from scratch.

Michael Ansaldo/Foundry

Overall, I was impressed with Soda PDF Online’s extensive tools and intuitive interface, and I like that its tiered pricing takes into account that not every user will need every capability it offers. If you work a lot with PDFs on a variety of devices, a Soda PDF subscription is well worth the money.

Michael Ansaldo is veteran consumer and small-business technology journalist. He contributes regularly to TechHive and PCWorld.

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