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Free PDF Annotating and Managing tools for Organizing your Research.

As researchers you always try to keep track of your resources and organize your data in the best way possible. Part of the data you might be working on is PDF documents and ebooks. This format is largely used by educators and scholars all around the world. It is user friendly and offers a comfortable readability. I personally prefer to read PDF files to any other type of docs. Unfortunately, PDF documents do not offer so much freedom to their readers, for in most of the times one can not tweak, highlight or crop any portion from within without using some third party tools.Worse even is the fact that these tools are not always free and you have to pay to start using them. But this is not the case with the tools below. They are free and offer a wide range of features that are practically useful for researchers.

1- PDFEscape





  PDFEscape is a great PDF editor and form filler offering several awesome features such as :

  • It lets you edit your PDFs
  • Load PDFs from your computer or URL
  • It provides a number of annotation tools( hide parts of a PDF, insert links,insert arrows,sticky notes, checkmarks...etc
  • It does not require any registration
  • It works on the major browsers like IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari



2- Crocodoc





Crocodoc is both a PDF  viewer and annotator. It covers not only PDF but MS Word, MS Powerpoint, PNG, JPG  files. Among the features it offers to its users:


  • It does not require any registration
  • It lets you annotate PDFs and pictures too
  • It allows you to share your marked-up PDF using a shortened link oe embed codes
  • You can collaborate  with others so that you can all view and annotate the file
  • It lets you download the original files as well as the annotated version


3- FoxyUtils




FoxyUtils is a tool that can help you manage your PDF files without the installation of any PDF editing program. It provides several services to its users :


  • It is free
  • It offers a tool kit with various PDF tools
  • It lets you merge multiple PDF files into a single one
  • You can split PDF pages from a single PDF file
  • It lets you unlock the editing password on a PDF file
  • You can also use it to assign a password to a PDF file



4- Mendeley




 Mendeey is a popular scientific research management tool and academic social network. It allows its users to perform several tasks such as :


  • Index and organize research papers and PDFs into a digital library
  • It lets you highlight and annotate your PDFs
  • It also let you sync documents across different platforms
  • You can use its app to add notes to PDF files
  • It extracts bibliographic information from your PDF docs
  • It requires a sign up and download


5- Zotero




Zotero is a research tool  that is free and easy to use. It allows its users to :


  • Collect, organize, cite and share your research sources.
  • Build your their own bibliography
  • Keep track of their references
  • Provides a library where to store and organize PDFs
  • It can sync citations and entries across operating systems and mobile platforms
  • It also lest users bookmark, highlight and add sticky notes to pages
  • It lets them assemble mailing lists, index full-text from PDFs
  • It stores users PDF files,images, links and entire web pages


Here is  a short list of online converter in case you want to convert files into PDFs

1- PDF Filler
This tool lets you upload and fill out any PDF form online. When filled you can then print it out




2-Neevia Document Converter

It converts any Word, spreadsheet, presentation and image docs to PDF or image files


3- RSS2PDF

This one converts RSS, Atom or Opml to PDF

4- DoPDF

This tool lets you print to PDF from any running program

5- PDF Creator

It is like DoPDF but has an added set of features such as merging multiple PDF files into a single file



If you want to explore more PDF tools to use with your students or for your own research check out the section called Free PDF Tools.

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