Portable Document Format a.k.a PDF is a commonly used format for ebooks, digital forms, and online magazines. Adobe Systems developed this popular format in the early 1990s to share documents among different platforms. Adobe also offers its Adobe PDF Reader to view and edit PDF file. However, there are plenty of options out there. Check out the best PDF Readers available in the market today.

1/ PDF-XChange Editor (Windows, Free/Plus)


Formerly known as PDF-XChange Viewer, this is one of the best PDF readers and editors on the market. PDF-XChange Editor is a lightweight alternative to Adobe Reader and offers more features than any other free PDF reader. It provides good support for editing your text-based PDF documents, filling up digital forms, and annotations. The OCR functionality lets you scan hard copies and turn them into editable PDF files on the computer. It also comes with a built-in virtual printer to convert any document to a PDF file. PDF-XChange Editor Plus includes a new fillable form designer and lets you create Dynamic stamps.

2/ Adobe Reader (Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/iOS, Free/Pro)


Adobe Reader is one of the most popular PDF readers out there. Adobe Systems developed PDF files, so they know how to make an application that works flawlessly with PDF files on any platform. Adobe Reader is available on multiple platforms and offers basic PDF reading tools which include but not limited to attaching sticky notes, highlighting sentences, signing digital forms, etc. The pro version, on the other hand, lets you create PDFs, save PDF files in other formats, and merge multiple PDF files together for just $299. If you prefer faster loading times and quick page rendering, then other free alternatives are a better choice for you.

3/ Foxit PDF Reader (Windows/Mac/Linux/iOS/Android, Free)


The most feature-rich and one of the first alternatives to Adobe Reader. Foxit PDF Reader is a lightweight PDF reader that offers advanced features reading, editing, and sharing PDF files with other users. Foxit offers seamless integration with OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox for quick and painless sharing of data over the cloud. Evernote integration lets you collaborate with other users on the same PDF. You can also create PDF files from scratch using Foxit and ConnectedPDF feature enables you to add multiple users to the same PDF file to make changes while keeping track of all the versions over time.

4/ Sumatra (Windows, Free)


Sumatra is the lightweight PDF reader that mainly focuses on speed instead of offering extra features. The PDF files load almost instantly, and keyboard shortcuts make it easy to go through an entire document quickly. This is the perfect PDF reader for people who want a straightforward and to-the-point reading software. It gets rid of all the bloated features people rarely use and focuses on rendering pages quickly. Sumatra also supports plenty of formats including but not limited to ePub, Mobi, DjVu, and CBZ/CBR for comics as well. A portable version of Sumatra is also available which comes in handy when you want a PDF reader on your USB flash drive.

5/ Nitro PDF Reader (Windows, Free/Pro)


Nitro PDF Reader is feature-rich and sports a polished interface. There are certain features in Nitro PDF Reader that you won’t find in other PDF readers such as the QuickSign feature which lets you store your digital signature and apply it to PDF files with one click. It allows you to convert MS Office files (DOCX, PPT, XLS) to PDF and vice versa. The pro version offers extra features that include but not limited to image extraction from PDF files, merging multiple PDF files, organizing pages, and Nitro Cloud integration to seamlessly share PDF files with other users.

6/ Preview/Skim (Mac OS X, Free)


If you are a Mac user, then you have already used Preview because it’s the built-in PDF reader. Preview is a lightweight PDF reader that offers basic PDF reading tools, image editing tools, and a smooth interface. If you like Preview then you are going to love Skim PDF Reader because it’s built on the same engine as Preview, but offers extra features. You can add notes, make snapshots, extract notes as text, and do much more with Skim. Best of all, Skim is completely open source, so it’s highly customizable to suit your needs.

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