In this article, we will look at some of the best PDF reader software that you can use for free for personal as well as commercial use.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is one of the most commonly used file formats on the internet and intranet networks. If you have documents in the form of contracts, invoices, ebooks, newsletters, pay slips, etc., you need to have a PDF reader software installed on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device to view these document files.

You can not edit PDF files with PDF readers as they are available in a read-only format. To edit the PDF file, we need the PDF editor functionality that is mostly available in the paid version.

There are many free and paid PDF reader software programs available on the market. We will look at some of the best free PDF reader software.

Best Free PDF Reader Software

1. Foxit Reader

The Top 7 Best Free PDF Reader Software
Image Credit: Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a free, cross-platform PDF reader available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and ISO. It is more than a PDF reader; you can create PDFs from scratch, integrate with Microsoft Office, and convert word documents into PDF.

It is a lightweight, fast, and feature-rich PDF viewer that allows you to create, view, print, annotate, form-fill, and sign PDF files using your desktop, laptop, mobile, or web browser no matter if you are in the office, at home, or on the go.

Foxit Reader also provides many security features to keep your PDF files safe and secure, such as passport protection, digital signature, and encryption.

Key features

  • It’s free and simple to use.
  • Cross-platform
  • Create a PDF
  • Collaborate and share.
  • Annotation, form filled, signed PDF
  • Personalize and deploy
  • Security features such as password protection, digital signatures, and encryption.

2. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

The Top 7 Best Free PDF Reader Software
Image Credit: Adobe

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is one of the most popular and most used PDF readers developed and maintained by Adobe. It is a good free PDF reader software that allows you to read, manipulate, and print PDF files. You can store the files online and share them with anyone.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Adobe Acrobat DC are the two different products. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a PDF viewer that provides limited features as compared with the paid edition of Adobe Acrobat DC.

It is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and IOS devices. The software is not available for Linux operating systems.

Key features

  • It’s free and simple to use.
  • View, store, print, and share PDFs.
  • Fill out and sign.
  • Give and get feedback.
  • Work from anywhere.

3. Sumatra PDF

The Top 7 Best Free PDF Reader Software
Image Credit: Sumatra

Sumatra PDF is a free PDF, eBook (ePub, Mobi), XPS, DjVu, CHM, and Comic Book (CBZ and CBR) reader for Windows. It does not provide support for other operating systems.

Sumatra PDF is powerful, small, portable, and starts up very fast. There are very few PDF programs that can match the speed of Sumatra PDF. It is designed to help with PDFs and e-books of all kinds.

One of the best parts of Samutra is its PDF file organization aspects. It has a recently viewed file window that opens with the application and allows you to get back to the PDF file quickly.

Key features

  • Free
  • Small, portable, lightweight, starts very fast.
  • User-friendly interface
  • PDF, EPUB, MOBI, FB2, CHM, XPS, and DjVu are supported.
  • See the quickstart guide and the extensive documentation. 

4. PDF-XChange Editor

The Top 7 Best Free PDF Reader Software
Image Credit: PDF-XChange

The new PDF-XChange Editor is one of the best PDF readers and PDF editors. It is the worthy successor of PDF-XChange Viewer. It provides you with the option to edit existing PDF documents, and it is leaner, faster, and more feature-rich than some other free PDF viewer or editor.

The main advantage of the PDF-XChange Editor is the fact that it comes with the built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) features that come in very handy when users want to edit a photocopy of an original PDF document. You can even split and merge individual PDF files.

It is available for Windows operating systems only; there is no support for Linux or macOS.

Key features

  • Free and lightweight
  • OCR support
  • Listen to the audio comments or leave your own.
  • Editing of full-page text content
  • Add comments and annotations
  • Mark-up pages
  • The PDF encryption password
  • Auto-highlighting
  • Many more.

5. Nitro PDF Reader

Image Credit: Nitro

Nitro PDF Reader is a free and handy PDF reader built for Windows operating systems, but does not provide support for Linux or macOS. To use Nitro PDF Reader, you have to sign up for a 14-day trial, and you’ll be asked to share your name and email address, with the option to sign up for Nitro’s newsletter.

Nitro PDF Reader is a slimmed down version of Nitro Pro. After the trial period is over, you will lose most of the advanced features. In the free version, you will have features such as viewing and printing PDFs; creating PDFs from other documents; highlighting text; adding sticky notes; digitally signed PDF documents; comments; and bookmarks.

Key features

  • The PDF can be viewed and printed.
  • Create a PDF from other documents.
  • Highlight text, add sticky notes.
  • Digitally signed PDF
  • Comments and bookmarks

6. Slim PDF Reader

Image Credit: Slim PDF

The Slim PDF Reader 2 is a free and cross-platform PDF reader for Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems. It is a very lightweight PDF reader that allows users to easily view any PDF file.

Slim PDF Reader 2 allows you to fill out interactive PDF forms, verify PDFs that have an attached digital signature, and use sticky notes, highlighters, underlines, attachment links, and watermarks.

The new and improved version 2.0 comes with a revamped UI that focuses on improving your PDF viewing experience. It also includes the dark theme for ease of PDF document viewing.

Key features

  • Free and light-weight
  • Recent file lists
  • Dark theme
  • Annotate PDF documents.
  • Sticky notes, underlining, highlighting, and stamping
  • PDF signature verification
  • PDF form-filling

7. MuPDF

Image Credit: Artifex MuPDF

MuPDF is a lightweight PDF, XPS, and E-book viewer that supports cross-platforms such as Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, IOS, etc. It consists of a software library, command line tools, and viewers for various platforms.

MuPDF is lightweight and fast. It supports many document formats, such as PDF, XPS, OpenXPS, CBZ, EPUB, and FictionBook. You can annotate PDF documents and fill out forms with the mobile viewers.

The command line tools allow you to annotate, edit, and convert documents to other formats such as HTML, SVG, PDF, and CBZ. You can also write scripts to manipulate documents using JavaScript.

Key features

  • Free, light, and fast
  • Multi-format support
  • Cross-platform
  • Command lines annotate, edit, and convert documents.

Follow our post on free and open-source image editors.


The Portable Document Format (PDF) is one of the most commonly used file formats on the internet and intranet networks. In this article, we have included some of the best free PDF readers.

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By Feroz Khan

Feroz Khan works as a system administrator with more than 12 years of experience in information technology. He would like to share the knowledge with others that he has gained during his working experience.

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