The Best Free PDF Readers

If you use PDF files frequently, you will need the very best PDF reader available to view or edit them. The good news is that most computers and mobile devices come with such software automatically loaded. However, not all PDF readers are built the same or have the features you may be looking for.

The Best Free PDF Readers

We will cover the top five most popular and versatile PDF readers available for free.

#1 – TinyWow PDF Reader and Editor

One of the very best PDF readers available is TinyWow. It is an excellent program that will allow you to upload any PDF file and read it directly in your Internet browser. You can do this both on a computer or via any mobile device.

TinyWow is very easy to use. Simply click on the “PDF” option and you will quickly be on your way to not only viewing a PDF but also editing it if the need presents itself. TinyWow is also a great option because you don’t need to download an app since the entire process is online. It is also very secure. In fact, your document is removed from the TinyWow system fifteen minutes after you are done with your project.

Here are just a few of the many functions you can use with TinyWow:

  • View a PDF file.
  • Edit a PDF file.
  • Convert a PDF to a JPG.
  • Convert a JPG to a PDF.
  • Convert a Word document to a PDF.
  • Extract images from a PDF.
  • Remove the background from an image in a PDF.
  • Unlock a PDF (requires the password).
  • Convert a PNG to a PDF.
  • Merge multiple PDFs into a single document.
  • Compress a PDF.

Due to sheer number of easy-to-use options available for free, it’s easy to see why TinyWow is the number one option on the list.

#2 – Adobe Acrobat Reader

The creators of PDF files of course have their own reader. In fact, many computers and mobile devices come with Adobe Acrobat Reader preinstalled. Most of the time, opening a PDF for the first time on a device will direct you to Adobe Reader as a default option. This is a very simple program that has numerous features you may be interested in. Here are a few of the most coveted:

  • Can view any PDF file.
  • Can convert and edit PDF files.
  • The program is very easy to use and has a great “Help” section.
  • Offers support across multiple platforms.
  • Can fill forms in the PDF and insert text.
  • Can insert secure online signatures into PDF.

There are a few downsides to Adobe Acrobat Reader:

  • Many of the options available in the program require a fee. However, the “reader” part itself can be used for free.
  • The program often experiences glitches that can take some time to rectify.
  • The reader can use a good chunk of device resources and might freeze if there are many open programs.
  • The free version contains advertising.

You can acquire Adobe Acrobat Reader from the official download page.

#3 – Internet Browsers

Sometimes, you just need to view a PDF without any bells and whistles. In those cases, a regular internet browser will do the trick. Most modern browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera, can open a PDF and be set as the default device to read files with that extension.

In some cases, if you’re accessing PDFs online through a browser, your default browser will first open the program. Then you’ll get the option to save it to your device or print it out. Most browsers can have these defaults changed to automatically download files they’re accessing, but some of the settings can also be from the server-side and unchangeable.

Regardless of whether you’re just viewing or downloading, your default browser typically reads a PDF just fine. Some browsers also allow for a limited editing experience, such as highlighting or adding text boxes. If you’re looking for a more personalized and editing-demanding experience, you’ll need to run the PDF on one of the other apps on the list.

#4 – Open Source SumatraPDF

If you’re looking for a fast and easy-to-use option and use Windows, SumatraPDF is an excellent choice. This simple to use program not only allows you to read PDFs but it also is compatible with other file formats such as MOBI, DjVu, and XPS.

Another benefit of the SumatraPDF reader is that it is a very lightweight program. It installs quickly and won’t take up much space on your computer.

There are however a few downsides to the program:

  • Does not allow the user to edit PDFs.
  • There are no advanced features such as support across multiple platforms.
  • Only compatible with Windows devices.

SumatraPDF Reader can be downloaded for free here.

Making the Right PDF Reader Choice

Before making a choice on which PDF reader is right for you, consider what your exact needs are. If you just want to view a PDF, you may want to stick with a PDF reader that is already installed on your device. However, if you want to have the ability to edit or create PDFs you will want to choose a program or website that provides these types of actions.

What do you think about our best free PDF reader list? Do you have any suggestions for other free-to-use PDF readers? If so, please let us know in the comment section below.

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