17 Best Free PDF Readers 2024

A PDF reader is a tool primarily used to view PDF files and annotate them. PDF documents are widely used because they can be accessed on any operating system and are simple to attach to a message, email, or website. Another benefit is that you cannot easily alter a PDF file.

Therefore, it is commonly used by individuals and organizations to store electronic copies of documents, study materials, manuals for gadgets, resumes, etc.

There are dozens of PDF readers available; some cost up to $1000 per year. Most people find this cost too high, which is why I’ve come up with the solution in this article.

I’ve compiled a list of the top free PDF readers with multiple functionalities, from just reading documents to creating, editing, organizing, and annotating your PDF documents.

Keep reading!

Best Free PDF Readers

1. Foxit PDF Reader

Foxit PDF Reader is one of the market’s most powerful free PDF readers. It can help you to read and print PDFs and documents from any device with ease because the reader supports macOS, Windows, iOS, and Linux.

It allows you to integrate with one of the top storage services and known enterprise CMS. On top of that, you can collaborate with your colleagues by sharing reviews while giving document feedback with its wide variety of annotation tools, file attachments, and images.

Foxit won’t disappoint when editing your text. It allows you to edit the text in a paragraph and add tables, images, fonts, and links. You can create PDF forms with its designer assistant and form field recognition.

The reader permits you to convert your PDF document to other formats, such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, RTF, HTML, images, and text. In addition, you can convert webpages into PDF documents in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome with the help of the Foxit plugin.

Use its PDF Optical Character Recognition (OCR) feature to scan documents into machine-readable PDF documents.

The platform guarantees maximum protection from vulnerabilities via security features, such as Security Warning Dialogs, Disable JavaScript, and ASLR and DEP. Besides, it allows you to use its eSignature. Besides, you can create signatures by typing.

2. nitro

nitro is one of the best-known PDF readers for balancing usability and complex functionality. The user interface of the platform is simple and clear.

It allows you to design more than 300 file PDF formats. You can view, read, or print standard PDFs that any type of PDF viewer can display.

It easily converts PDFs into editable Excels, PowerPoint, and Word. Nitro Reader lets you work on the same document with your friends because it supports all Microsoft Office apps. You’ll be able to add sticky notes, comments, and highlight text.

You can organize your tasks by combining various documents, like emails, text files, and spreadsheets, into a single, searchable PDF.

This PDF Reader helps you generate fillable digital PDF forms that people adore, whether you’re working with a basic form made in Microsoft Word or a complicated scanned form.

You shouldn’t worry about adding your signature to your documents. This reader permits you to draw, type, or upload an image of your signature to have a unique signature profile.

You can view any document created on nitro in any other PDF solution. This feature allows you to share your documents with colleagues as attached emails. This can be done using your nitro Sign account.

Also Read: Best Free PDF Summarizer Tools

3. MuPDF

MuPDF is a free, lightweight PDF and E-book reader. Besides, it is compatible with many document formats, including FictionBook 2, CBZ, XPS, and OpenXPS.

It comes with a tool library that includes command-line utilities and viewers for many systems. You can edit, annotate, and convert documents using the command line tools to formats including PDF, HTML, SVG, and CBZ.

MuPDF’s renderer is designed to produce high-quality graphics. It produces text with measures and spacing accurate to percentages of a pixel for the most exact reproduction of a printed page on a monitor.

You can fill out forms and annotate PDF documents with the mobile viewers.

4. Soda PDF

Soda PDF is among the best free PDF readers for reading graphic documents, such as magazines, digital catalogs, and comic books; it even supports the 3D viewing of files.

You can access your files from anywhere, online or offline. When working, you can begin on your PC, save to Dropbox, SharePoint, or Google Drive, and finish on your phone.

It helps merge several file types, such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, into a PDF, allowing you to design your documents without losing their formatting. You can easily reorder or remove pages from your PDFs and reduce the file size without sacrificing the quality of the PDFs.

You can use it to produce PDFs from the start, a URL, a scan, or any type of document. You may also convert Microsoft Office documents to and from PDFs. Not to mention, batch convert several files at once.

Its E-Sign allows you to close deals from anywhere. Just add your digitally verifiable signature. In addition, you can track signatures, give reminders, and manage signees.

Its OCR feature automatically scans and automatically identifies text in a picture. Create editable PDFs by manually selecting page ranges for character recognition and creating solitary or multiple page ranges.

5. Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a well-known PDF reader and editor. It is used by countless organizations and individuals worldwide to produce, edit, and convert PDF documents and pictures into Microsoft Office formats.

This tool has just about every annotation feature you could need. You can fill out and sign forms, highlight text, and make comments. There’s also a text-to-speech function that can read documents to you aloud.

Besides, you can print, track, sign, and scan documents with Acrobat. Furthermore, Adobe Documents Cloud allows you to access it from anywhere and work.

It can handle simultaneously opening several huge files. This implies that you can use this application to read through the files and annotate large pages without being concerned that it will crash.

As a result, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive will be the only places where you can store and access all of your files and documents.

Discover the best alternatives to Adobe Acrobat here.

6. Smallpdf

Smallpdf has free collection features that allow you to read PDF files safely. With this platform’s simple user interface, anyone may easily make edits to PDF files.

You can generate electronic signatures and check the progress of your document at any time. This tool lets you view PDFs and annotate your documents with freehand drawings, images, text, and forms.

You can use Smallpdf to divide, merge, compress, or convert large files. Using the Smallpdf Mobile App, you can manage documents, transfer files, and produce PDF scans from any connected device with this program.

Since this tool’s online platform enables you to save, organize, and share data across various devices, you may be able to complete tasks in less time.

7. PDF Editor

You can edit and customize a PDF file in many ways by annotating, signing, and more, using the user-friendly platform known as PDF Editor.

It permits you to change fonts and text styles and add graphics and other elements to new and existing documents.

This program includes a set of commenting tools to assist you in annotating and reviewing PDF files. These capabilities include inserting highlights, tracking comments, and taking notes.

It can convert PDF files to Word, Excel, and RTF documents and allows you to reproduce pages with sophisticated layouts and graphics swiftly.

You can use its form creator to transform any non-editable form into a fillable and customizable PDF form.

It allows you to secure your PDF files by adding secure passwords or authorization to limit printing.

Additionally, you can create e-signature fields that are legally binding to save time on every submission and agreement you send.

8. Expert PDF

The Expert PDF Reader is another best tool that is available for free. You can create and convert many Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and other documents into top quality without affecting the format.

With the aid of our program, you may combine two PDF files into a single document as well as text or MS Office files.

It enables you to scan all of your document work, including books and contracts, and convert them into editable PDF files that you can access on your PC.

You can configure permission settings and set passwords to stop malicious individuals from reading or copying your documents.

9. Slim PDF

Slim PDF Reader allows you to open and read PDF files seamlessly. It simplifies adding, removing, and changing PDF text and paragraphs. In addition, you can change the font’s style, size, and color, as well as its line breaks and alignment.

Slim PDF enables you to compare two files side-by-side and highlight the difference. Besides, it has a full collection of the latest customizable annotation tools.

It is simple to load files, compare, and pinpoint page elements that vary between two native PDF documents.

Using the PDF form editor, you can edit, add, and change fields on PDF forms, such as text areas, list boxes, and buttons.

Your PDF files can now include electronic and digital signatures. Verify the authenticity of PDF signatures on received documents.

10. Google Drive

The easiest PDF reader to use is Google Drive. You can upload any PDF file you create on the site from any document format.

It enables you to work with colleagues on Microsoft Office documents without editing or converting file formats. Other supported files are PDFs, CAD files, pictures, and more.

Google Drive connects with Docs, Sheets, and Slides, cloud-native collaboration applications that allow your team to generate content and interact in real-time.

11. Ashampoo PDF

Ashampoo PDF makes it simple for you to read and organize your PDF files. You can generate, edit, and secure your PDF files with the assistance of this PDF reader.

It produces documents precisely the right size and is viewable on any device. Your intellectual property is also protected by encryption.

You can compare two PDFs side by side. It enables you to modify open photos in situ using an image editor.

You can locate and change colors used throughout documents with this PDF viewer. It allows you to divide large PDF files into mini documents with a set number of pages.

Its built-in text recognition (OCR) feature immediately transforms scanned text into editable text on a computer.

It can merge several documents with a simple drag-and-drop operation, and the ability to build portfolios or picture albums dramatically simplifies dealing with many files.

12. UPDF

UPDF is perfect if you require a robust PDF reader with various functionalities. It is among the easiest PDF readers to use. Its user-friendly design makes it simple to move through your document.

UPDF’s annotation features are yet another great aspect. Your PDFs will be simpler to interpret if you add comments and highlights.

It also allows you to draw on PDFs. For instance, it allows you to add forms like ovals, rectangles, arrows, and lines to PDF.

Additionally, you can easily arrange your PDF pages by removing, rotating, extracting, and reorganizing PDF pages.

UPDF comes with a feature that allows you to bookmark files. Plus, it gives you free access to alter text and images in PDF files.

Also Read: Best Text Comparison Tools

13. Wondershare PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement is another free PDF reader that can convert documents to high-quality ones without affecting their format. You might, for instance, turn your PDF file into Excel, Word, PNG, or another format. Additionally, the Batch tool supports the concurrent processing of several files.

You have the option to insert text, photos, and shapes with the tool into PDFs. It is also possible to change the elements’ size, color, and font. Plus, you can put hyperlinks and a watermark on your PDF files.

Since it allows for the splitting, combining, and rotation of PDF pages, creating customized files is simple. It also compresses large files, and you can extract PDF pages.

It also contains OCR technology, making recognizing text from scanned photos and PDFs possible. The documents are now searchable and editable as a result.

Drawing on PDFs is very simple with the use of various markup tools. You can add text remarks and notes using callout boxes and freehand drawing while using review and annotation tools. In addition, it permits you to strike out, underline, or even highlight certain texts.

This platform puts your privacy first with password protection, eSign, and document signatures.

The Redaction tool in Wondershare PDFelement makes sure that any erased sensitive material is entirely removed from your source file.

14. Icecream PDF Editor

Icecream PDF Editor is a free PDF reader that allows you to generate and edit PDF documents.

It allows you to manage pages by reordering, splitting, and merging PDF files. Further, it lets you fill up built-in forms in your PDF files.

You can annotate a PDF by writing notes, underlining, or highlighting text. Also, you can enhance a PDF document by drawing and adding shapes, arrows, photos, and lines.

15. PDF-XChange Editor

PDF-XChange Editor is a PDF reader that includes buttons, side panels, toolbars, and PDFs for editing.

This free PDF tool offers additional features for designing and modifying fillable forms.

Plus, it allows you to add remarks before sharing files.

It offers quick load speeds and a simple user interface for viewing, printing, annotating, editing pictures and text, and other functions from a PDF file.

You can reformat text with PDF-XChange Editor and even change it to a font that isn’t currently installed on your machine.

OCR and digital signatures are among the other features you receive.

16. SwifDoo PDF

SwifDoo PDF is among the best free PDF readers for Windows. This tool offers a variety of helpful capabilities, such as PDF annotation, bookmarking, signature, editing, and more. Most annotation and editing tools are free to use.

SwifDoo PDF has four viewing options: Single, Continuous, Facing, and Book. It allows you to read a PDF on a single page or in side-by-side mode. When necessary, it allows you to divide the screen into four sections, enter full-screen mode, and resize the pages, whatever you wish.

You can use SwifDoo PDF to compress, divide, convert, and handle additional PDF-related requirements.

17. Sejda PDF

Sejda PDF is an online free PDF reader that is quick and easy to use. The program stands out since it has various features built-in that let you do practically anything with PDF documents.

After viewing a PDF, you can add text, photos, links, notes, fillable forms, or comments and rapidly change the content. Also, the application can compress, crop, watermark, and convert PDFs.


All the aforementioned tools are the best free PDF readers on the market. You need to note that they differ in some aspects, making some tools better at a specific task than others.

I also suggest you check each tool’s features carefully, so you can make the right decision and choose one that will address your needs.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.