The 15 Best Free PDF Readers of 2022

Despite being over 25 years old, PDFs are still one of the most popular document types on the Internet. Whether you’re trying to access your W-2, a contract, or an e-book, it’s likely to be in PDF form. But to view these important documents, you need to download a PDF reader to your computer.

There are hundreds of PDF readers out there and some can cost you almost a thousand dollars a year, so we scoured the internet for the best free PDF readers you can download online.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best free PDF readers whose capabilities range from just viewing PDFs to creating, editing, and protecting PDFs.

Click here to download our collection of customizable eBook templates.

The 15 Best Free PDF Readers

Top 5 Free PDF Readers for Windows and Mac

1. Foxit Reader

Best Free PDF Readers: Foxit PDF ReaderSource of the image

Foxit Reader is like Google Docs PDF readers. You can create, share and protect your PDFs in the cloud. To create PDFs, you can upload scans, convert Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel sheets, and even combine multiple PDFs into one new file.

If you want to collaborate with someone on a PDF, you can grant and revoke access to the document, track who opens your document and see their activity, edit, comment, and also notify readers of new updates to your PDF .

What we like

Foxit Reader also offers several security options to keep your PDFs safe and private, including passwords, digital signatures, and encryption. If you regularly create PDFs for your work and need a way to collaborate on the same file, Foxit would be a good choice.

2. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Best free pdf readers: Adobe pdf editorSource of the image

Adobe’s free PDF reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, connects to the Adobe Document Cloud and other cloud storage systems such as Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, allowing you to open, view, share, and comment on PDFs from any place and device you want. .

What we like

The most interesting feature of Acrobat Reader DC is that it can read text aloud, guiding you through any document that is difficult to read. Adobe’s free PDF reader is ideal for any busy professional who needs to annotate PDFs on the go or on the go.

3. Javelin PDF Reader

Best free pdf readers: Javelin pdf reader

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Javelin PDF Reader is a simple PDF reader that lets you launch and print standard and encrypted PDFs, annotate and bookmark them. Since its download size is two MB and it has no additional features like editing, the PDF reader is fast with a simple and clean user interface. If you want to quickly read and take notes in PDF, Javelin is probably the PDF reader for you.

What we like

Although basic compared to the powerful Adobe, if you want to read and take notes on PDFs quickly, Javelin is probably the PDF reader for you.

4. Google Drive

Best free pdf readers: Google DriveSource of the image

Google Drive is the most accessible PDF converter and PDF storage system. In the platform, you can convert any of your documents, presentations and sheets to PDF files and upload any PDF to it for your viewing. If your only use for PDFs is to view them or convert files to them, Google Drive is the best choice for you.

What we like

Google Drive enables teams to share documents and collaborate seamlessly with an easy-to-use interface and intuitive design.

5. Your web browser

Web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari have built-in PDF readers. To view a PDF in your browser, simply click on the PDF link. You can also open PDF files that are already stored on your computer by dragging them to an open tab in your browser.

Additional functions included in PDF readers of most browsers: rotate, download, print and adjust text size.

What we like

The most accessible option on this list, web browser readers make it easy to open, read, and adjust PDFs. If you don’t need to convert files to PDF and just want to view PDFs, you don’t need to download a PDF reader. You can only use your web browser.

Top 5 Free PDF Readers for Windows

1. Nitro Reader

Best free pdf readers: Nitro pdfSource of the image

Nitro Reader has a reputation for striking a good balance between usability and advanced features. The platform has an intuitive and elegant interface, but you also have access to a wide variety of tools for creating, reviewing, protecting and sharing PDF files. To create new PDFs, all you have to do is drag and drop your documents into the reader. You can then design your draft PDF with custom colors, font embedding, and orientation.

When you want to review a document, the PDF reader’s review panel helps you edit, comment, and direct feedback. If you are an advanced PDF user, Nitro Reader might be your best choice.

What we like

To protect your PDF files, Nitro Reader uses QuickSign to password protect and sign your documents. Sharing documents is also simple and secure: you can share documents with anyone, as the PDFs you create in Nitro Reader are compatible with almost all other PDF readers.

2. PDF-XChange Editor

Best Free PDF Readers: PDF XChangeSource of the image

PDF-XChange Editor is one of the most robust free PDF readers out there. You can create, view, add notes, record and attach audio, highlight text, attach files, strike out words, and add signatures. If you need to create, edit and share PDFs at work a lot, PDF-XChange Editor might be the PDF reader for you.

What we like

The most interesting feature of the PDF reader is its optical character recognition tool: it can scan printed documents and turn the text into a searchable document.

3. In PDF

Best Free PDF Readers: MuPDFSource of the image

MuPDF is a standard PDF reader for viewing and editing PDF files. You can fill out text forms, annotate documents, and use them to convert PDF files to other file types like HTML, SVG, and CBZ. You can also write scripts in Javascript to modify your documents.

What we like

If you want a low-memory PDF reader that you can easily edit and view files, MuPDF is your best choice.

4. SumatraPDF

Best Free PDF Readers: Sumatra PDFSource of the image

Although SumatraPDF lacks some advanced features such as annotation, document signing and form filling, Sumatra PDF offers an intuitive and fast reading experience: it has multiple viewing modes such as single page, book and presentation and shortcuts that help you navigate through any PDF file. . If you only need to read PDFs for work, consider using SumatraPDF.

What we like

Sumatra PDF’s variety of display modes make it easy for users to quickly access and read the information they’re looking for.

5. Thin PDF

Best free pdf readers: slim-pdf-reader

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Slim PDF is one of the smallest PDF readers in the world, taking up only 15MB of space on your computer. Despite its small size, this free PDF reader includes many advanced features that complement the basic functionalities, such as those that let you print, search, zoom, and rotate PDF files.

It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

What we like

Slim PDF is small but powerful. If you’re looking for a solution that strikes the perfect balance between being lightweight and powerful, Slim PDF is a great choice.

Top 5 Free PDF Readers for Mac

1. PDF Reader Premium

Best Free PDF Readers: PDF Reader PremiumSource of the image

With over 50 million downloads, PDF Reader Premium is one of the most popular PDF readers for Apple devices. It has powerful functionality that lets you view your PDF in multiple tabs, annotate your document with images and sticky notes, organize your files with tags, add signatures and fill out forms to your PDF, and store and transfer PDFs via a variety of cloud services. . Anyone who frequently uses PDFs for work should consider downloading PDF Reader Premium.

What we like

In addition to editing and signing capabilities, PDF Reader Premium makes it easy to export documents to a variety of formats including JPG and DOCX.

2. Preview

Best Free PDF Readers: MacOS Preview

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Although Preview is the pre-installed PDF reader on all Macs, it’s more powerful than you might think. In Preview, you can view and annotate your documents, merge documents, fill out and sign forms, edit images, share files, and even export a password-protected PDF if your document contains sensitive information. Preview is the best choice for someone who wants to use a PDF reader for personal and professional matters.

What we like

Preview is the best choice for someone who wants to use a PDF reader for personal and professional matters.

3. Skimmed

Best free PDF readers: Skim PDF readerSource of the image

Skim is a PDF reader that was originally designed to help academics read and annotate scientific papers in PDF format, but they have now improved their functionality to allow anyone to view any type of PDF file in the reader. In Skim, you can highlight text, take notes, take snapshots, export notes as text, and integrate with third-party applications such as BibDesk, a bibliography manager.

What we like

Designed with academics in mind, Skim’s annotation and marking features set it above the competition.

4. Soda PDF

Best Free PDF Readers: Soda PDF ReaderSource of the image

Soda PDF is one of the best PDF readers for reading visual documents like digital catalogs, magazines, and comics; you can even view files in 3D. The app also lets you create and edit PDFs from scratch. Soda PDF also sells an online PDF platform, so they generate demand for it by offering free PDF tools on their website, such as convert to PDF, convert from PDF, merge, split and compress, sign and secure, and insert elements like watermarks and pages. numbering You can use these online tools as a proxy for a downloadable PDF reader if you want to save space on your computer.

What we like

Having a web-based application and a desktop version gives users the flexibility to read PDFs on any device.

5. Wondershare

Best free pdf readers: WondershareSource of the image

Although Wondershare is not completely free, it does offer a free trial. However, this might be a good choice for someone who needs a PDF editor for one-off projects.

With Wondershare PDFelement, you can not only edit documents and convert them to PDF, but it also allows digital signatures, watermarks, and makes it easy to create forms.

What we like

The free version of Wondershare offers a wide variety of features and functionality that users would normally have to pay for.

Edit PDFs with ease

PDF editing software is a must for businesses and professionals. Having the right PDF editor can help your team with collaboration and file management.

This article was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for completeness.

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