Despite being around for more than 25 years, PDFs are still one of the most popular types of documents available on the internet. Whether you’re accessing your e-book, resume, or a contract, the PDF is the most convenient and sleek format. However, you may need to download a PDF reader on your smartphone and PC so you can view or edit PDF documents without any issues. The most notable aspect of PDF documents is that their format and content don’t change regardless of the type of PDF reader or device you are using.
On the contrary, the main drawback is that there aren’t many options when it comes to free PDF editors. Since the original developer of the PDF format is Adobe, some PDF-focused software require fees to edit PDF documents. The majority of them can read and save PDFs but not edit them.
17 Best Online PDF Readers and Editors
Numerous PDF readers are available on the market, but some of them cost you almost a thousand dollars annually. Therefore, we are here to provide you with our list of the 17 best online PDF readers and editors that you can download online for free.
1. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
Through the Adobe Acrobat Reader’s integration of the Adobe Document Cloud, you can access, comment on, view, and share PDF documents anywhere and on any device you prefer. It also has integrations with other cloud storage services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box. This Adobe reader is built with one of the coolest features any PDF reader can have, which is reading text out loud that guides you along with any PDF document that’s quite hard to read. The Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is ideal for any busy professional who needs to use PDFs on their commute or while on the go.
2. Google Drive
Google Drive is one of the most accessible PDF storage systems and PDF converters. Through Google Drive, you can convert any of your sheets, presentations, and documents into PDF and upload any PDF files to Google Drive so you can access them anytime anywhere. If your only purpose is viewing or converting documents into PDFs, Google Drive is one of the best alternatives for you.
3. PDF-XChange Editor
PDF-XChange Editor is a free PDF editor for Windows PCs created by Tracker Software. Its user interface is a little bit complicated compared to other PDF readers but provides you with convenient access to several helpful features such as a stamp option for tagging documents as “Approved” or “Expired.”
For most users, the primary reason to utilize PDF-XChange Editor is its built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR). It means if your original PDF file is a photocopy, the app will still identify the text and enable you to modify it. Also, PDF-XChange Editor allows you to reformat texts and convert them into fonts that aren’t already available on your PC. Similar to other PDF readers and editors, you can use this service to combine or split individual PDF documents.
4. Foxit Reader
Foxit Reader is similar to Google Docs among the available PDF readers on the market. You can secure, share, and make all your PDF documents on the cloud. If you want to create PDFs with Foxit Reader, you can convert PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and Excel sheets and upload scanned documents and even merge multiple PDF files into a new file.
If you are working with someone on a PDF, you can notify readers about new changes to your PDF documents; track who opens your PDF files and view the changes they’ve made; edit and comment on them, and grant and reject document access to your PDF documents. Foxit Reader also offers you multiple security features such as encryption, digital signatures, and passwords to keep your PDF documents safe and private. If you make PDFs regularly for work and need a method to collaborate on the same PDF file, the Foxit app would be an excellent option.
5. Haihaisoft Reader
Haihaisoft Reader is a lightweight and low-memory PDF reader. Its size is only 3 MB so it works only on the essential functionalities such as zoom, search, presentation mode, full screen, and rotating. Despite its small size, it has supported more than 40 languages and has robust security features. That said, it only uses the internet with the user’s authorization. Haihaisoft Reader is ideal for casual PDF users mainly for reading and viewing PDF documents.
6. Soda PDF
Soda PDF is one of the reliable PDF readers for viewing and reading visual files such as comic books, magazines, and digital catalogs. Aside from that, you can even read files in a 3D format. Soda PDF provides you with the opportunity to make and edit PDF documents from scratch. The app sells a virtual PDF service too. They drive demand for it by providing free PDF tools such as inserting elements like page numbering and watermarks; and converting, compressing, splitting, and merging PDFs on its website. Soda PDF is also one of the PDF readers that can let you sign and secure documents. You can use these virtual resources as a proxy for a downloadable PDF reader if you don’t want to consume much space on your computers.
Skim is a PDF reader that was originally developed to assist academics to read and annotate scientific documents in PDF format. Today, Skim has greatly improved its functionalities to allow anyone to view any type of PDF document on the reader. Through Skim, you can export notes as texts, capture snapshots, write down notes, highlight important texts, and connect with third-party applications such as the bibliography manager BibDesk.
8. Preview on Mac
Despite Preview being a pre-installed PDF reader for MacBook users, it’s more efficient than you think. Through Preview, you can export password-protected PDF files, share files, edit photos, merge PDF documents, annotate, view PDF files, and fill out and sign PDF forms. The Preview PDF reader is the best alternative for someone who uses only one PDF reader for all his or her personal and professional endeavors.
9. PDF Reader Premium
With more than 50 million downloads, the PDF Reader Premium is one of the well-known PDF readers for Apple computers and smartphones. It has a noteworthy functionality that enables you to organize your documents with tags; fill out and affix your signature on PDF forms; annotate your file with sticky notes and images; view your PDF in different tabs, and save and transfer your PDF documents to a wide range of cloud storage platforms. Anyone who always uses PDFs for work and/or studies should try downloading the PDF Reader Premium.
10. Slim PDF
Slim PDF is one of the most lightweight PDF readers available on the market. It only takes up 15 MB worth of space on your computer. Despite its small size, this free PDF reader is integrated with numerous advanced features that complement robust functionalities such as allowing you to rotate, zoom, search, and print PDF documents. If you are looking for a solution that exudes a perfect balance between being powerful and lightweight, Slim PDF is an ideal option. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
12. Sumatra PDF
Despite lacking some advanced features such as form-filling, document-signing, and annotation, Sumatra PDF provides you with a fast and intuitive reading experience. Sumatra PDF has several viewing modes such as single page mode, presentation mode, and e-book mode, as well as shortcuts that help users to navigate any PDF document. If you only require a PDF reader for reading at work, the Sumatra PDF is your ideal companion.
13. Nitro Reader
Nitro Reader is a reliable PDF reader that strikes a perfect balance between advanced features and usability. The app has a sleek and intuitive interface. You also have access to numerous tools to make, review, share, and secure PDF documents. If you want to create a new PDF, you only need to drag and drop your files into the Nitro Reader. Once you’ve formatted your contents, you can modify the orientation, font embedding, and custom colors.
If you want to review a file, the Nitro Reader’s review pane helps you address feedback, comment, and edit your document. The app is integrated with a QuickSign feature to create a password for your documents. It’s also one of the PDF readers that lets you sign your files. You can also share your PDF documents in a safe and secure platform. Nitro Reader allows you to share files with anyone since the PDFs you make in this platform are compatible with numerous PDF readers. If you are a heavy PDF user for work and study, the Nitro Reader is your excellent choice.
14. Javelin PDF Reader
Javelin PDF Reader is a comprehensive PDF reader that allows you to launch and print encrypted and standard PDF files, bookmark them, and annotate them. Since it has a small size of 2 MB, the Javelin PDF Reader is a lightweight, clean, and sleek app and doesn’t have additional features such as editing. That said, if you want to read, study, or even take notes from PDF files, Javelin is your basic go-to PDF reader.
Sejda is a perfect choice if you want a free PDF reader with a user-friendly interface. It is also a free online PDF editor that you can rely on for confidential documents since all uploaded documents are wiped from its repository after five hours. This PDF editor’s single-menu bar makes it accessible to find all the editing tools necessary for adding photos, signatures, links, and texts to PDF files. When you’ve completed editing a file in Sejda, you just click the “Apply Changes” button and proceed to save your PDF file in your Dropbox account, Google Drive, or your PC. Sejda’s drawback includes a limitation to 200 pages of a document or three tasks, and uploads of 50 MB to the Sejda service every hour. If you’re a casual PDF user, it won’t be a problem.
PDFescape allows you to edit PDF documents in two platforms, a desktop app and online. The desktop program is more powerful compared to the web version since it can edit pre-existing PDF content and enables you to scan paper files. On the contrary, the web version of PDFescape is the only free-to-use service. With PDFescape online, you can have several editing options such as integrating a tool for adding hyperlinks to your files and the ability to create freehand notes. It is also easier and more convenient to annotate, add, and rotate pages with PDFescape’s web version. The drawback of this PDF reader is that you aren’t able to upload files that are bigger than 10 MB.
Considered as a cloud-based service, Smallpdf has an Edit PDF tool that provides you with a simple user interface to add images, and texts conveniently to your PDF documents. This free PDF reader also provides you with the ability to add comments, highlight some important information, and e-signing your PDF files. It has numerous PDF modification tools for easier editing of your documents. Aside from its editor functionalities, there are numerous options to convert PDFs into Word and PowerPoint files. You can also save space by combining separate PDF documents into a single file.
When choosing the right free PDF reader, you must assess your PDF document and needs first. If you need to add simple texts or fill out a form digitally, the basic PDF reader is for you. On the other hand, if you need to modify the content of the PDF significantly, then you’ll need a more powerful PDF reader and editor that can make changes to images or texts of an existing file easily and more conveniently.
Are there any free PDF readers and editors that you’d like to recommend? Do you have any firsthand experience with the options we’ve highlighted in this article? If yes, please share your insights below!