PDF files are everywhere, and for good reason. They can be opened on any types of operating system and are quite easy to attach to an email or a website. In addition, PDFs have the benefit that they cannot be easily modified beyond what the original creator intended.
If you are only looking to read types of PDF files, it is very likely that you can do so using your favorite web browser. But, if you need to do something more advanced than that (like signing or editing documents, merging PDF files or converting between document formats), you will need a dedicated PDF reader.
There are a lot of free types of PDF reader out there, which can make it hard to figure out which one is worth it. To help, we will highlight five of the best free types of PDF readers for Windows and Mac.
For more flexibility, see our guide to the best free PDF editors, which make editing a PDF as simple as modifying a Word document.
Types of PDF reader:
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC:
If you are looking for a powerful program to read PDF files, I would like to recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is not uncommon to find a PDF file that requires an advanced PDF reader.
Here, I am talking about the forms that can be filled out that cannot be used to use basic PDF reading software for Windows. It is still the recommended PDF solution for all tasks and the most popular of all those mentioned in this list.
While it is possible that this Windows PDF reader is somewhat bulky compared to SumatraPDF, which ranks number 2 on this list, it is useful when all other solutions fail.
You can use it to read in different modes, highlight text, add notes, fill out forms, digital signatures, add stamps, etc. This free PDF reader for Windows also supports a tabbed view, which means you can open multiple PDF files simultaneously.
Therefore, if your needs are not simple, you do not simply want to “read” PDF files and need advanced features, downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is the right choice. It is also the best PDF reader for large files that some lightweight programs cannot process completely.
SumatraPDF is a lightweight and open source PDF reading software that you can install and use on your Windows computer. Licensed under the GPLv3 license, SumatraPDF also supports non-PDF formats, including EPUB, MOBI, FB2, CHM, XPS and DjVu.
As I mentioned earlier, this best and free PDF reader is very light, and its 64-bit installer has a size of approximately 5 MB.
So, if you are looking for a good PDF reader software that can offer a fantastic reading experience with fast performance and essential functions, SumatraPDF is the right PDF reader for you. But it lacks advanced functions such as annotations, signing documents and filling out forms.
It supports several keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate quickly and improve your reading experience. Sumatra also comes with an easy preview of LaTeX documents, and you can configure different text editors to integrate Sumatra. The free PDF viewer also supports restricted mode execution.
PDF-XChange Lite is a free PDF reader for Windows 10 that has been completely renewed and simplified. This software does not take long to open and provides a light experience for reading, printing, writing down, saving images and text, etc. From a PDF file.
Prior to this, the software was called PDF-XChange Viewer, and it did not have the basic editing functions available for free. You also get features like OCR and add digital signature.
As the developers claim, the free version of PDF-XChange Editor provides more than 60% of the features that are included with the paid version.
Javelin PDF Reader:
The penultimate entry in our list of PDF readers for 2019 is Javelin PDF Reader. It comes with all the basic PDF reading functions that one needs to complete daily tasks.
The general interface is super clean, and you can choose from most common reading modes such as full screen, continuous, side by side, etc. Compared to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Foxit reader, Javelin is quite light.
If you want to use lightweight PDF reading software that can also help you view DRM-protected PDF files, Javelin reader, with its download size of 2 MB, might be the best option.
Expert PDF Reader:
Expert Types of PDF Reader is another free PDF reader for Windows for 2020 that you can download and use to view PDF files easily. It comes all the basic features and with a new interface.
You can add notes, highlight text, create a text box, etc. You can also create custom stamps and manage them. The signature function is also included in the Expert PDF Reader software.
The latest version of Expert PDF Reader Professional comes with new features to preserve PDF files for a long period of time. There are new options to optimize the file size and the OCR function, as well as make the most of your workflow.
Like SumatraPDF, Slim PDF is another lightweight and better PDF reader for Windows operating systems. He calls himself the smallest desktop PDF reader in the world.
I don’t know about the validity of this claim, but its download size is only 1.43 MB. On my system, it was only about 5 MB. So, if you are looking for an extra-small types of PDF reader for your previous computer, Slim PDF has the potential to finish your search.
As you might expect, this free PDF software focuses simply on reading, viewing and printing your PDF files. It loads very fast and allows you to complete your work in less time.
Note that this Windows PDF reader does not support many popular keyboard shortcuts, so do not be disappointed. Also, it does not allow you to highlight your text word by word. Anyway, it is a portable PDF reader software that simply works.
Like your web browser, Google Drive is another way to open any types of PDF file without external tools. However, what it offers is an online PDF reader instead of other complete Windows applications.
Google Drive also acts as a place to store your data, which makes it a great way to store documents, view them and share them with interested people.
In addition to opening a PDF in its minimum format, you can connect external Chrome applications to this PDF reader to add additional functionality. In addition, you can simply choose the option to open a PDF through Google Docs and convert that PDF to an editable document format.
If you are looking for a robust and free PDF reader for Windows 10 or earlier versions of Microsoft Windows, your search could end with Foxit Reader.
Like Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Foxit is a popular name in the world of PDF readers. However, compared to Adobe’s PDF reading solution, Foxit is relatively lighter.
The Foxit website is well designed, and does not attempt to send some additional bloatware to your PC. However, try installing the 14-day trial of the Foxit PhantomPDF editor during the installation process, so check it out.
A while ago, Foxit also introduced its new ConnectedPDF online document management system. Its Text Viewer mode removes the complex format and shows a file view similar to a Notepad.
Collaboration features further enhance your PDF experience by allowing you to work online and share it with others. It is an advanced software to read PDF files, and it comes with all the necessary features.
Nitro Reader is another famous name in the world types of office and productivity software. Personally, I like this free PDF document reader, as it tries to achieve the perfect balance between usability and features.
It is not loaded with tons of unnecessary features that one never uses. Its elegant interface resembles any other application in the Microsoft Office suite.
In addition to all the basic functions, Nitro Reader also comes with a handy QuickSign function to digitally sign documents, a simple task. You can also protect your documents and make sure they are opened by people who have sent you a digital certificate.
Therefore, go to Nitro Reader if you want to use a meaningless PDF reader for Windows that also has a beautiful user interface.
Your Web Browser:
If your main demands are to view PDF files and you don’t need features that come with advanced PDF reading software for Windows, you don’t need dedicated software. Your web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Opera, come with a built-in free PDF reader.
They are part of your web browser and are updated periodically with new features along with your browser. When you click on a PDF link, the web browser starts to open the PDF file by itself and gives you a mess-free reading experience. All browsers allow you to use features such as adjustable text size, rotation, download and print.
Able2Extract Professional 14:
In addition to inserting digital and electronic signatures, Able2Extract can also validate signatures in PDF files that you have received. You can apply Bates numbering to index medical, commercial and legal documents. It is a good option for large users who want all the functions offered by a PDF editor software at a reasonable and unique cost.
AbleWord is a free word processor that can open various types of files, including PDF files. Once you open any types of PDF in AbleWord, it becomes editable. However, this only works on PDF files created with Microsoft Word. With scanned PDFs, you must first extract the text with a third-party OCR application, since AbleWord does not come with yours.
Bluebeam Revu is a PDF editor makes specifically for design and construction professionals. In addition to the typical functionalities of PDF editing software, it converts CAD drawings into 2D and 3D PDF. It also includes strong marking and collaboration tools for teams of all sizes.
ABBYY FineReader/FineReader Pro:
With its built-in OCR, FineReader allows you to edit PDF files of scanned documents, including those with tables. You can compare two documents, even if they have different file formats. FineReader also allows you to schedule automatic batch conversion of multiple PDF files.
For a free open source application that is not primarily a PDF editor software for Windows, LibreOffice offers a surprising amount of editing capabilities. You can change text, fonts, font sizes and colors, as well as add images, comments and annotations.
To know more about PDF reader you can check here: The best free PDF reader 2020: the easiest way to open and edit PDF documents