Top PDF Readers for Windows

A PDF reader is any software that will open a PDF file. Developed by Adobe Systems in the 1990s, PDFs are still one of the main types of documents on the internet. Your downloadable bank statements, contract agreement, the newsletters from school, favorite eBooks — they’re probably all in PDF format.

More and more OSs, smartphones, and other devices provide pre-installed PDF readers. Even so, a dedicated PDF reader often has a number of advantages over the pre-installed PDF reader you may already have, like viewing options, better search, and a lot more. Today, I’ve compiled a list of the ten best PDF readers for Windows & Mac. Read on to find out.

1. SumatraPDF

This easy to use free PDF reader for Windows is completely customizable if your programming skills are up to scratch. SumatraPDF supports formats other than PDF as well, including the likes of ePub, MOBI, CHM, XPS, DjVu, and Comic Book (CBZ and CBR).

It features a ton of keyboard shortcuts that make it easier to move around a PDF file, and has built-in support for easy previewing of LaTeX documents. Also, Sumatra can be configured for restricted use. One thing you should know is that it lacks advanced features like annotations, document signing, and form-filling.

So, if you just need a good PDF reader that can deliver a fantastic reading experience with fast performance and essential features, consider using SumatraPDF.

2. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

As mentioned above, the PDF file format was created by Adobe Systems, which also provides a free PDF reader called Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

Tons of features are included in this free PDF reader. You can use it for reading in different modes, taking snapshots, text highlighting, filling forms, add digital signatures, add stamps and so forth.

The powerful adobe reader works with Windows, Mac, and Linux OSs. The Adobe Acrobat Reader mobile app is also available for Android, Windows Phone, and iOS.

So, if you are looking for advanced features, downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is the right PDF reader for you. It’s also the right choice for large files that some lightweight programs are unable to process fully.

3. MuPDF

MuPDF is a super-lightweight free PDF, XPS, and E-book viewer for Windows, Android, iPhone and iPad. You can fill out text forms, annotate documents, and use it to convert documents to other formats such as HTML, SVG, PDF, and CBZ. You can also write scripts to alter your documents using JavaScript. If you are looking for a low-memory PDF reader that you can easily edit and view files on, MuPDF is what you should go for.

4. Expert PDF Reader

This is another free PDF reader for Windows that you can download and use to view and print PDF files easily.

Expert PDF Reader features the classic tools and options you’d expect to find in any regular PDF reader such as you can add notes, insert pre-defined stamps, highlight the text, create a text box and so forth. The signature feature is also included.

Overall, it’s a fast PDF viewer that does its job very well and remains light on hardware resources all the time, without slowing down the system and affecting performance.

5. Nuance PDF Reader

Nuance PDF Reader comes with a nicely designed interface, and loads PDF files in seconds.

In addition to basic features such as full screen view, support for zooming in and out, text highlight, and ability to display several pages on screen simultaneously, Nuance PDF Reader also lets you email any PDF file right from the program and allows you to convert files from PDF to other formats (DOC, DOCX, XLS, RTF), though conversion must be done through Nuance’s online converter.

6. PDF-XChange Editor

It is one of the more robust free PDF readers out there.

PDF-XChange Editor lets you add notes, record and attach audio, highlight text, attach files, add a strikethrough to words etc. You also get features like OCR and digital signature as well.

As claimed by the developers, the free version of this PDF reader provides more than sixty-percent of the features that ship with PDF-XChange Editor Plus (the paid version).

7. Nitro Reader

Nitro Reader strikes the perfect balance between usability and features. It doesn’t come loaded with numerous unnecessary features that one never uses. Its intuitive and slick interface looks like just any other application from Microsoft’s Office suite.

Apart from all the basic features, this free PDF document reader also comes with a handy QuickSign feature to password-protect and sign your documents. Sharing documents is also easy and secure — you can share documents with anyone you want since the PDFs you create in this free PDF document reader are compatible with almost every other PDF reader. So, go for it if you wish to use a no-nonsense PDF reader for Windows that also has a beautiful UI.

8. Javelin PDF Reader

It’s a straightforward free PDF reader that comes with all the basic PDF reading functionality that one requires in day-to-day life. You can choose from reading modes like full screen, continuous, and so on. Everything is super clean and easy to read and understand, and since, it (the standard aka free edition) doesn’t have extra features like editing, the download size of this PDF Reader is only 2 MB for Windows (also available for Macs and Android & iPad devices). If you want to read and take notes on PDFs quickly, then you should definitely choose this PDF Reader.

9. Google Drive

Not only does it allow you to view PDF files, Google Drive also enables you to convert any of your documents, presentations, and sheets into PDF files and vice versa. Moreover, you can store your PDF files on Google Drive too; now easily share them with the concerned people.

You can connect external Chrome apps to this PDF reader to add extra functionality.

10. Slim PDF

Slim PDF is another lightweight PDF reader for Windows. It calls itself the world’s smallest desktop PDF reader (with a download size of just 1.43MB).

Just as one would expect, Slim PDF comes with only basic features such as reading, searching, and printing your PDF files. Owing to its small size, the PDF reader is very fast and loads documents almost instantly. If the only thing you do with PDFs is view them, then this PDF reader should be your choice.

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