LightPDF

Rating LightPDF - 5 out of 5 - Best Rating 5.0

  • Android, Windows, iPad, iPhone, Web
  • Free
  • age 12+
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About LightPDF

LightPDF is an app and web app for working with pdfs. You can create, edit, collaborate, and secure pdfs and have the convenience of cloud-based storage, even if you use the app’s free tier.

LightPDF users have various options for working with pdfs, including native iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows apps. There are also many handy cloud-based tools, particularly for converting pdfs to and from other files, optimising their file size, and editing their pages.

LightPDF Review

What is LightPDF app?

Pdf files are one of the most well-used document formats. There is an app to read them on every modern device and many older ones. The reader apps are usually free, which accounts for the popularity of the format as a way to share documents with other people without worrying about what software or devices they own.

Pdf reader software usually allows limited file adjustments, such as saving a pdf if you've entered details into a text field or checked a box. However, apps for creating and significantly modifying pdf files are usually premium tools.

LightPDF is one of these tools. It provides a wide range of features that users often need from pdf apps at a price much lower than a subscription from the more famous pdf apps out there.

In this review of LightPDF, we'll be looking at whether its capabilities are enough to warrant choosing it as your pdf software of choice and saving some cash.

What we love about LightPDF app.

For all of their benefits, most of us will have been frustrated by what appears to be pdf's fixed format. The free readers don't let us adapt them as we'd like. The paid-for editors are another bite out of our personal or school budgets.

LightPDF offers free web-based tools, which might be all some users need. It still works out much cheaper than alternative editors if you choose the premium native app.

The app is not lacking in features. It addresses the main tasks that users will want to do. There may be some lesser-used tasks or conveniences missing but not so many that you'll wish to pay more for them unless, for you, they are not lesser-used.

The editing tools within the comment toolset felt particularly good to use. They were responsive, whereas in some apps, these can be slightly laggy. They also had very clear icons, which will be helpful to avoid mistakes for anyone but especially for students who struggle with literacy.

What skills does it teach?

LightPDF is a productivity tool that does not directly teach knowledge or skills. However, its collaboration, editing, and sharing functionality can help students adapt to modern work patterns. 

What age is it appropriate for?

The nature of pdf files makes their editors a little more restrictive and trickier to understand than using something like Microsoft Word. However, kids who can reasonably use software like that should be able to pick up LightPDF's workflow.

Is LightPDF app easy to use?

LightPDF has a clear and well-designed user interface. Many pdf editing suites have similar user interfaces, and this includes LightPDF. This familiarity will benefit anybody who has used the other software or is looking to transfer to a cheaper alternative. 

As in most other pdf apps, different aspects of pdf functionality are separated into blocks containing individual tools. This is where new users often become confused because you can't, for example, move an image element within the forms section. Once users understand this, or if they are used to it from elsewhere, the app becomes intuitive.

The web-based tools tend to be single function, so they are unlikely to confuse their users. The native apps have more functionality, but you interact with the on-screen elements in ways that follow established conventions. It is relatively easy to learn LightPDF through experimentation.

How will students benefit?

We all know the frustration of losing work to computer failure or user error. LightPDF's real-time synchronisation with the cloud saves kids from this frustration. As kids are susceptible to demotivating factors and have deadlines to meet, this could save much stress.

The editing tools will be handy for kids to adapt pdfs issued by teachers. They can adapt, annotate, and highlight the document in a way that makes sense to their way of learning. Doing this with an electronic copy rather than paper means they can easily re-adapt it later if they need it, won't lose it, and will always have access to it.

How will parents benefit?

Students often want to work together on projects or pool their resources to help with revision, but it can be difficult for busy parents to facilitate this. The cloud-based collaboration tools make remote cooperation much easier.

How will teachers benefit?

Aside from the creativity features detailed in the students' section of this review, there are tools that teachers will use. Optimising pdfs is a good idea for teachers as their students might not have devices with lots of storage or might have limited data. Shrinking new and existing pdfs to their smallest file size will make them more convenient and quicker to access.

Teachers may also have files containing sensitive information, such as education plans for special-needs students. Protecting these files with a password provides another layer of security to ensure that nobody reads these files who should not.

LightPDF encrypts and password-protects your pdf files. Do keep in mind, however, that there are different levels of encryption and protection available for pdfs, so ensure that LightPDF's matches your needs. This is particularly shown by the unlock feature that LightPDF can deploy to give you access to locked pdfs from other sources.

What can LightPDF app improve on?

Editing

LightPDF does not claim to be a fully-fledged desktop publishing app, so the app's basic toolset for page creation is not an issue, but we'd like to see a few more layout assists. Form elements have alignment options, but others do not, leaving you to eyeball where to place elements.

For example, some way to align elements or at least a snap to the centre for images and text boxes would be useful. Images appear entirely centred when added, but if you move them or scale them, you'll need to re-position by hand and guess where is central.

Alignment guides do go some way towards helping place elements in a line, but it requires moving each item individually, and without snapping, it requires a steady hand for perfect results.

More expensive pdf editors have additional options here, such as equal distribution. Still, even the most costly does not come close to the formatting options you'd expect in desktop publishing software.

Compatability

PDF is a standard but not one always observed precisely by different pieces of software. This deviation can result in minor differences between pdfs across different apps.

Going from a pre-created pdf to LightPDF resulted in some text differences, especially in colour. Using OCR allowed the text to be fully editable to correct but at the expense of altering logos containing text.

This discrepancy is not unique to LightPDF and is as likely to be deviations from the pdf standard in other apps as it is LightPDF. It can occur between all pdf software. Before committing to any pdf editing app, you should use its free trial to see how well it works with any other software you have made part of your workflow.

For example, we created a pdf consisting of two graphics and two text input fields. One of the input fields was missing when we opened the file in Adobe Reader, but it worked fine when reopened in LightPDF and Firefox.

Form elements appear to be a relatively new feature of PDFLight, so this may improve in time (if indeed it is LightPDF's issue and not the other app). We did not notice any problems with other elements, such as images and text.

Clarity

More of a feature suggestion than an improvement would be to have settings to toggle the toolsets on or off. Kids are unlikely to need the forms or sign features in the app, so an option to toggle them off the main toolbar could help kids stay focused on the tools they do use.

How much does LightPDF app cost?

The desktop and mobile apps have limitations until they are activated with a premium purchase. With the trial versions, you cannot batch process, split, extract, or merge pdfs. Saved files will also show a watermark. The app is more than functional enough to decide if it suits your needs.

The app's web service has a great feature set and offers many features you can find in the premium native apps. More occasional users might find the free web version adequate for their needs. They can convert, edit and more without any cost.

There are monthly and annual subscription tiers for personal and business users. For individual users, you should consider the yearly product as, at the time of this review of LightPDF, it was about 75% cheaper than the monthly option over a year.

The supporting website for LightPDF offers personal educational pricing of up to 60% off if teachers and students provide proof of their status. Schools can also contact the publishers for academic volume purchasing options.

Is LightPDF app safe to use?

There is no inappropriate content in LightPDF.  Teachers should be careful with any app that uses cloud storage or offers file security that the methods and levels are compatible with your school policy. 

Neither the free tools nor apps displayed advertisements when used under the free tier.

Overall rating of the app.

PDF apps reward careful use of their free trials as their functionality varies considerably. You can pay a lot for every possible feature or pay less for fewer, which may still include everything you need. 

LightPDF fits into this latter category while still being feature packed.

We are hesitant to hold LightPDF to account for compatibility problems as that could be a failure in the other software to adhere to the standard. It lacks some layout features and has some limitations with cross-compatibility with other PDF readers, but it comes in at a much lower price than other pdf solutions.

On balance, LightPDF could do everything you want from a pdf editor, especially if that doesn't involve creating complex documents from scratch. If you only occasionally need to work with pdf files, give the free web version a go.

For more frequent pdf editing, we highly recommend you make good use of the trial to check the native version has the features and compatibility you need. If that is the case, LightPDF's comparatively low price will free up your budget for other things, and you can consider it a five-star app.

App Details

Ratings

Devices

Android, Website, Windows, iPad, iPhone

Price

Free

Skills

Organisational and Productivity Skills

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - Yes

In-App Advertising - No

Publisher

Wangxu Technology Co., Ltd

Download LightPDF

You can download LightPDF on your iOS or Android devices from the app stores. Download the LightPDF app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

You can download LightPDF on your Windows devices from the Windows Store.

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Screenshots of LightPDF

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