(Pocket-lint) - PDF files can be hugely useful for when you need to send a document that you don't want someone else to edit, but there are also countless occasions when that lack of flexibility can be a big annoyance. 

Whether you're looking to edit, create, convert or sign PDF files, there's one program that can handle it all for you, though - Wondershare PDFelement 8, the latest version of the long-running and highly-rated solution. Keep reading to find out about a selection of the most impressive and powerful features that PDFelement 8 could bring to bear for your productivity. 

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Edit quickly and easily

The core of the PDFelement experience, which has been improved in a bunch of noticeable ways for this new eighth version, is the ability to quickly and easily edit files - you can swap between Edit and Read modes with just a single button-press, for example, whenever you need to. You can even do this with image-based PDFs such as scanned files. The OCR feature will convert it into searchable or editable text, which you can then edit as in a normal PDF. Over 20 languages are supported and the conversion is one of the most accurate on the market.

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Another game-changing feature introduction is the UI itself. The full overhaul is clearly visible up-front, on the Home page. The iconography has been simplified and the layout is very minimalistic, allowing the user to navigate to the exact feature they want without having to figure out what’s what. In addition, the recent documents view is more comprehensive, giving you details like folder location, date of the last edit, and even the option to pin a document to the top of the list. Once you’re inside a document, you can easily navigate back to the home page by selecting text and hitting the back button on the floating toolbar.

The clean interface should remind you, as it does for us, of popular document editors and word processors, you can easily highlight sections of text and images to change and rearrange, with layouts at your fingertips and drag-and-drop systems to make sure that nothing is too fiddly.

To achieve this, Wondershare has reworked the ribbon-style toolbar menus under all top-level features. Visually, it’s more appealing and, functionally, it’s far more efficient than before. This also means that settings aren't locked away behind options bars and sub-menus, but right where you need them so that you can quickly and efficiently make the changes you need. We've found that this makes it really easy to complete your tasks, before saving the new document and sharing it however you want to.

A great example can also be found if you want to add comments - whereas on competing software this can be a complicated and annoying process, we found it super easy to do with PDFelement 8, with a continuous comment setting that's perfect for when we need to proof-read a document and give feedback. 

Another is the new home page when you open the programme, which shows you your files according to how recently you've opened them, perfect for jumping back into some work. You can change these filters to suit your needs, and always get back to your home page with a single click. 

Cloud storage and electronic signatures

When it comes to saving your files, though, Wondershare has made things markedly better with PDFelement 8 for Windows - it introduces new cloud storage to let you back up your files to the cloud. That means there's no more worrying about your hard drive getting clogged up over time. Moreover, the integration with Wondershare Document Cloud ensures that your files are stored on secure cloud servers and accessible from any connected device with a modern browser. It also allows users to access the electronic signature function discussed below.  

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It's really simple to set up, and can even be accessed for free up to 1GB, which holds more than you might think! Once you subscribe, you'll get a full 100GB of storage included in your plan, which is enough to store absolutely loads of files. 

This new system also brings in the ability to use electronic signatures on your PDFs, a huge step forward in authentication terms. It means that you can use PDFelement 8 to create legally binding, digitally authenticated documents, which is perfect for business owners, tenants or any number of other people who might need something signed more formally. The electronic signature feature can also be used to request signatures from other users, either in bulk or individually. The signer will receive a secure link by email that allows them to access the service online and add their signature and other details in a predesignated placeholder on the document that you send. Document Cloud also has a tracking system and dashboard to show you the progress for documents that are awaiting signatures.

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That's something that almost no other programme you can find anywhere will offer, and can be a huge asset when you need it, and in our testing it's easy to set up and share, making it a real feather in the cap for PDFelement 8.  

A refreshed interface and design

While individual features are really welcome, it's the overall new lick of paint and updated design that Wondershare has given PDFelement 8 that we're most impressed by - it makes the whole thing feel slicker and more responsive to use, and once again means that even someone without any real technical experience can easily get to grips with the changes they want to make. 

We found it really easy, for example, to convert a file to PDF or back from PDF to another format, and the layout overall made it easy to design a PDF without needing too much expertise at all, which is key. Plus, it's also been made more accessible, with better icons that are easier to understand, and a colour scheme that is softer on your eyes, again making it less taxing to work on for long periods.

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The screen resolution has been enhanced as well and, overall, the software is faster and more responsive than its previous version. The launch time for the product as well as the document opening time has been cut by 300%, which means you can open a heavy PDF file in as little as 0.5 seconds!

Wondershare also did careful research into people's usage patterns to re-do certain module settings, for example, the new "Tool" menu, which houses the tools people are most likely to use. It also brings in new interactive options including Optimize, Batch Process, printing, OCR, Combine and others. 

If it sounds like you could get some really useful work done with PDFelement 8, then you should check out its website now, where you can download the latest version on Windows to try it out for yourself. If you like what you find, Wondershare's running a superb introductory deal until 31 December to let you get all of PDFelement's best features, including that higher tier of cloud storage, for just $149.99 a year, less than half its full price.