I recently wrote up a collection of the best PDF viewers and editors for Windows 10. A notable missing app was Drawboard PDF. I wasn't turned away from including the app due to its feature or performance, but rather its pricing. Drawboard PDF drew criticism from reviewers due to what they felt were "bait and switch" tactics. Many felt that the app's store listing didn't explain what they were paying for and how a subscription for pro would be needed for its full set of features.
Since publishing the article, Drawboard PDF reached out to me and covered my concerns when it comes to pricing and subscriptions. What that left me with is a chance to review it in full, and I'm incredibly impressed with it. But is it worth it?
The app is available for $9.99 on Windows 10 but to get to the full set of features you'll need to upgrade to Drawboard PDF Pro. You can get a 365 days for $24.99 or pay per month ($3.99) or per ninety days ($9.99).
For this review I received the full pro version from Drawboard PDF so my overall thoughts are based on the fully-featured version.
Drawboard PDF has everything from basic highlighting and underlining to measuring contents on a page and using a protractor. Many of these tools are available within a dial that's similar to the OneNote dial, though Drawboard PDF's version is better utilized. You can quickly switch between inserting, adding content, and multiple pens. Some of these categories expand to a number of other features such as insert expanding to the option to add an image, signature, measurement or other content.
Drawboard PDF lives up to its name by letting you easily draw on PDFs using either a pen or touch.
For the power users, Drawboard PDF lets you merge, and re-order documents, use calibrated annotations, and use a number of templates and overlays to help you mark things up. The developers did a great job cramming so many features into an app that never feels complicated.
Not for everyone
Drawboard PDF is an impressive piece of software with a set of features that is unique within the Microsoft Store. It's used by professionals and has the tools that many people need when it comes to annotating and marking up PDFs. But that doesn't make the app for everyone. If you just need a basic PDF viewer or something to sign a digital document with, there are cheaper options, even if you are comparing the basic version of Drawboard PDF to its competition.
There are free trials of the basic and pro versions of the app so it's worth trying those out before spending any money.
Drawboard PDF is a top-tier tool for anyone who needs to annotate, merge, markup, or work with PDFs. Its impressive feature set makes it the only app you'll need for dealing with a wide range of documents. It's also well-designed, allowing you to use its features without much of a learning curve. But those features come at a price, literally. A base price of $9.99 combined with a subscription fee for the pro version makes Drawboard PDF a hefty investment.
If working with PDFs is part of your job or you regularly mark them up for things like your studies, paying for Drawboard PDF could very well be worth it, it's one of the best apps in its category. It's very intuitive, has support for touch, stylus, the Surface Dial, and has all the features you'll need when it comes to PDFs.
- Vast collection of features
- Simple interface
- Built for Windows 10
- Expensive to have full feature set
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.