11 Best Free PDF Reader Tools for 2023

Wed. 23 Mar. 2022361824
Check out the best PDF reader tools available in 2023. Read your fictional novels, business documents, and academic resources with complete efficiency.
11 Best Free PDF Reader Tools for 2023

Working with PDF files is a part of our daily professional and personal lives, yet finding the perfect PDF editor can be a real challenge. There is a range of features you might need—from simple text edits to more complex tasks like adding form fields or digital signatures.

That's why we've compiled a list of the 9 best free PDF editors available for Mac, Windows, iPhone and Android users in 2023. Whether you’re a student, professional, or anyone in between, these tools offer something for everyone.


Quick Reference Table

Short on time and need a free PDF reader, fast? Check out our quick reference table and choose the right tool for your needs.

PDF Editor Tool Editor Features Overall Rating Free Version

PDF Reader Pro

5.0 5.0 Yes

Kdan PDF Reader

5.0 5.0 Yes

Adobe PDF Editor

4.9 4.9 Yes

Sejda PDF Editor

4.9 4.9 Yes

PDF-XChange Editor

4.7 4.8 Yes


4.7 4.7 Yes


4.6 4.6 Yes
Soda PDF 4.5 4.6 Yes
Foxit PhantomPDF Standard 4.5 4.5 Yes

PDFsam Basic

4.3 4.4 Yes

11 Best Free PDF Reader Tools

We've compiled 11 of the best current free PDF reader tools for 2023. Take your time reviewing each of these excellent tools below! Having all these free tools at your disposal means you can choose the one that best suits your personal and professional needs, free of charge.

1. PDF Reader Pro


Image source: PDF Reader Pro

PDF Reader Pro is a versatile PDF reader tool that provides a comprehensive set of features to enhance your PDF document handling experience. In this overview, we'll explore its capabilities, focusing on its PDF reading features and its performance during real-world testing.

PDF Reading Features

  • Text Viewing: Effortlessly view text within PDF documents.
  • Form Fields Interaction: Seamlessly access and interact with form fields within your PDFs.
  • Document Security: Ensure the security of your PDFs through encryption and password protection.

How PDF Reader Pro Fared When I Tested It

In my hands-on experience with PDF Reader Pro, I was thoroughly impressed by its performance and capabilities. This section will delve into my testing process and provide insights into how this PDF reader tool met various expectations and requirements.


2. Kdan PDF Reader

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Kdan PDF Reader


Kdan PDF Reader is not just another PDF tool; it's an ecosystem for managing your digital documents. With an eye-friendly reading experience that includes smooth page scrolling and multiple background options like day, night, and sepia, your eyes will thank you. The software allows you to declutter your workspace by storing all your documents in one place digitally. Additionally, its paperless form-filling and signing capabilities streamline document workflows like never before.

PDF Reading Features

  • Eye-friendly Reading Experience: Enjoy smooth page scrolling and choose from multiple background options like day, night, and sepia, reducing eye strain during prolonged reading sessions.
  • Workspace Organization: Declutter your workspace by digitally storing all your documents in one place, offering convenient access and organization.
  • Efficient Form-filling and Signing: Streamline document workflows with paperless form-filling and signing capabilities.

How Kdan PDF Reader Fared When I Tested It

The standout feature of Kdan PDF Reader, for me, is its eye-friendly reading experience. The various background settings, including day and night modes, have made reading lengthy documents significantly easier on my eyes. Additionally, the eSign feature has proven invaluable for my contract work.


3. Adobe PDF Editor

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Adobe PDF Editor

Adobe PDF Editor, part of the Acrobat Reader family, specializes in PDF file editing. This online tool is particularly valuable for users dealing with substantial PDF files, offering efficient ways to reduce their size.

PDF Reader Features

  • File Compression: Significantly reduce the size of your PDFs.
  • Simple Editing: Perform basic text edits and image adjustments.
  • Batch Processing: Easily compress multiple files at once.

How Adobe PDF Editor Fared When I Tested It

Adobe PDF Editor impressed me with its robust features, making it my preferred tool for complex PDF editing tasks. The layer editing and interactive form field creation features are simply top-notch. Adobe's reliability is something I've always appreciated.

4. Sejda PDF Editor

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Sejda PDF Editor

Sejda PDF Editor is an online service that offers a variety of advanced features for editing PDF documents. With its online version and desktop versions available for both Windows and Mac, Sejda proves to be as versatile as it is powerful.

PDF Reader Features

  • Page Management: Easily reorder, delete, or append pages to your PDF documents.
  • Text Annotations: Enhance communication by adding text and sticky notes.
  • Password Protection: Secure your PDFs using passwords and encryption.

How Sejda PDF Editor Fared When I Tested It

Sejda boasts a sleek and user-friendly interface, making it an excellent choice for basic edits. The online version is particularly useful when I'm away from my primary computer. However, it's worth noting that the hourly limits can sometimes be restrictive, especially for larger projects.


5. PDF-XChange Editor

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PDF-XChange Editor

PDF-XChange Editor stands as a robust PDF editor, prioritizing performance and feature richness. With versions available for both Windows and Mac, this editor app guarantees a high-quality experience for professional users.

PDF Reader Features

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Seamlessly convert paper documents into editable PDFs.
  • Form Creation: Easily build PDF forms to streamline document interactions.
  • Annotations: Enhance your PDFs with a variety of annotations, including shapes and text.

How PDF-XChange Editor Fared When I Tested It

PDF-XChange Editor has proven to be a versatile tool in my experience. Its capacity to create fillable forms and the option to embed fonts are invaluable features for my work. The intuitive interface significantly eased the learning curve, contributing to a positive overall experience.


6. DocFly

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DocFly is more than just a PDF reader; it's a powerful tool for graphic design as well. With a wide range of features, DocFly can manipulate both image files and PDF documents, making it a versatile choice.

PDF Reader Features

  • Vector Graphics: Easily work with vector graphics within PDFs.
  • Text Manipulation: Access advanced text editing and formatting options for precise document adjustments.
  • Layer Management: Efficiently handle multiple layers for complex editing tasks.

How DocFly Fared When I Tested It

DocFly excels at converting PDFs to various formats like Word and Excel. The conversion quality remains consistently high, and the tool offers decent annotation options. It's a well-rounded tool that handles both conversions and basic PDF editing admirably.


7. PDF2Go

Image source: PDF2Go

PDF2Go stands as an online PDF editor, offering a wide array of features for various PDF editing tasks. With its intuitive interface, it's the perfect choice for users seeking quick and efficient editing solutions.

PDF Reader Features

  • File Conversion: Seamlessly convert PDFs to various file types, including Word or JPEG.
  • Text Editing: Easily add or modify text within your PDF documents.
  • Document Merging: Combine multiple PDF files into a single document for streamlined management.

How PDF2Go Fared When I Tested It

PDF2Go has consistently delivered excellent results, especially when it comes to compressing large PDF files. Its user-friendly online platform and straightforward navigation make it a top choice. The drag-and-drop feature simplifies the uploading process, ensuring a quick and efficient experience.


8. PDFSimpli

Image source: PDFSimpli

PDFSimpli is an online PDF reader that excels in simplicity and ease of use. It offers basic yet effective features for reading and editing PDF forms and documents.

PDF Reader Features

  • Text Editing: Perform simple text addition and removal within your PDF files.
  • Form Fields: Easily add form fields to your PDF documents for enhanced interactivity.
  • Document Conversion: Convert PDFs to other popular file formats for broader accessibility.

How PDFSimpli Fared When I Tested It

PDFSimpli is my preferred choice for quick online edits. It loads swiftly, and the text editing tools are straightforward and user-friendly. Furthermore, the inclusion of some advanced features adds versatility, making it suitable for more complex tasks.


9. Soda PDF

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Soda PDF

Soda PDF is a fantastic tool for users seeking a cost-effective yet efficient PDF editing software solution. Available across multiple platforms, Soda PDF places a strong emphasis on security with its 256-bit AES encryption, ensuring the protection of your PDF documents during the editing process.

PDF Reader Features

  • E-Signatures: Easily add electronic signatures to your PDF documents, simplifying the finalization of contracts and agreements without the need for printing or scanning.
  • File Security: Soda PDF provides robust 128/256-Bit encryption, guaranteeing the security of your edited content against unauthorized access, making it ideal for editing confidential documents.
  • Cross-Platform Support: With availability on multiple platforms, Soda PDF offers versatility and accessibility wherever you need to edit PDFs, catering to the needs of users on the go.

How Soda PDF Fared When I Tested It

I've utilized Soda PDF primarily for its excellent file security options. The 256-bit AES encryption provides me with peace of mind when working with sensitive documents. Furthermore, the e-signature feature is remarkably user-friendly, enhancing the overall editing experience.


10. Foxit PhantomPDF Standard

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Foxit PhantomPDF Standard

Foxit PhantomPDF Standard is more than just a PDF converter; it's an excellent tool for editing PDF files. Designed for efficient batch processing and featuring a user-friendly interface, this software provides comprehensive solutions for users who require more than basic PDF editing.

PDF Reader Features

  • Wide Range of Editing Options: Foxit PhantomPDF Standard supports multiple file formats and provides numerous editing options, including annotation, text modification, and more.
  • Annotation and Editing: Easily annotate, edit, share, and comment on PDF files, offering a range of features to make your PDFs informative and interactive.
  • File Merging: The software includes a powerful feature that allows you to merge multiple PDFs into one document, simplifying file management.

How Foxit PhantomPDF Standard Fared When I Tested It

Foxit PhantomPDF Standard excels in offering a user-friendly interface while incorporating a plethora of powerful tools. Its batch processing capabilities have consistently saved me a significant amount of time, especially when dealing with multiple files for conversion or editing.

11. PDFsam Basic

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PDFsam Basic

PDFsam Basic is an open-source PDF editing software that prioritizes simplicity without sacrificing essential features. It serves as a versatile option for users seeking straightforward, easy-to-use tools for PDF editing.

PDF Reader Features

  • Merge PDFs: Particularly useful for consolidating reports, studies, or any other sets of documents into a unified file.
  • Split PDF Files: Easily split PDF files based on various criteria such as page numbers, size, or content.
  • Rotate Pages: PDFsam Basic provides the ability to rotate PDF pages, which proves valuable when dealing with documents containing pages in varying orientations.

How PDFsam Basic Fared When I Tested It

My experience with PDFsam Basic has been highly positive. The open-source nature of the software contributes to a community-driven feel, and its focus on fundamental features like splitting and merging PDFs is executed flawlessly. It's a reliable, no-fuss tool for basic PDF editing tasks.

Best Free PDF Reader Tools: Best Practices

When it comes to managing and interacting with PDF documents, selecting the right PDF reader tool is crucial. With a plethora of options available, it's essential to understand best practices for choosing the ideal tool to meet your needs. In this guide, we'll explore key considerations and features to keep in mind when evaluating free PDF reader tools.

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1. Digital Signatures: PDF documents often require digital signatures for authentication and security. When assessing a PDF reader, ensure it supports digital signatures. Tools like Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Nitro Reader offer this essential feature.

2. PDF Editing Capabilities: While PDF readers primarily focus on viewing, many also offer basic editing features. Consider your editing needs, such as text modification and annotation. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Foxit PDF Reader are known for their editing capabilities.

3. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Ensure that the PDF reader is available on multiple platforms, including Windows and Mac. This versatility ensures accessibility regardless of your operating system. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and PDF-XChange Editor are examples of cross-platform tools.

4. Password Protection: PDFs often contain sensitive information. Look for PDF readers with password protection features to safeguard your documents. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC offers robust security options.

5. Intuitive Interface: A user-friendly interface enhances your overall experience. Seek PDF readers with intuitive interfaces for seamless navigation and efficient document handling. PDF-XChange Editor and Foxit PDF Reader are known for their user-friendly interfaces.

6. Mobile Compatibility: In an increasingly mobile world, mobile compatibility is crucial. Ensure the PDF reader has mobile apps for convenient document access on the go. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Nitro Reader offer mobile versions.

7. Additional Features: Some PDF readers go beyond basic viewing and offer advanced features like tabbed interfaces, document signing, and support for various document formats. Explore tools that provide the extra features you require.

By considering these best practices and evaluating PDF reader tools based on your specific needs, you can make an informed decision and choose the tool that enhances your PDF document management experience. Whether you prioritize digital signatures, editing capabilities, or cross-platform compatibility, there's a free PDF reader tool out there that suits your requirements.

Best Free PDF Reader Tools: FAQ

If you're exploring the world of free PDF reader tools, you may have questions about their features and capabilities. To help you make informed decisions, we've compiled some frequently asked questions about these tools:

1. What's the difference between PDF readers and PDF editors?

PDF readers are primarily designed for viewing and interacting with PDF documents. They allow you to open, read, and navigate PDFs. In contrast, PDF editors offer additional features like text editing, annotation, and form filling, allowing you to modify and create PDF content.

2. Can I access PDFs stored in Google Drive using PDF reader tools?

Some PDF readers, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, offer integrations with cloud storage services like Google Drive. This allows you to access and view PDFs stored in your Google Drive directly from the reader.

3. Do PDF reader tools support the use of sticky notes?

Yes, many PDF reader tools support the use of sticky notes or annotations. You can add virtual sticky notes to your PDF documents for comments and reminders. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Foxit PDF Reader are known for their annotation features.

4. Are PDF reader tools compatible with various file formats?

Most PDF reader tools are primarily designed for viewing PDF files. While they may support viewing other file formats, their core functionality revolves around PDFs. If you need to work with different file formats, consider PDF editors or versatile document viewers.

5. Can I fill out PDF forms using PDF reader tools?

Yes, many PDF reader tools allow you to fill out PDF forms electronically. This feature is particularly useful for completing forms, applications, and surveys. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Foxit PDF Reader offer form filling capabilities.

6. Do PDF reader tools work on mobile devices?

Yes, many PDF reader tools offer mobile apps, making them compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This ensures you can access and view PDFs on the go.

7. Are PDF reader tools available for both Windows and Mac?

Yes, many PDF reader tools are available for both Windows and Mac platforms, providing cross-compatibility for users of different operating systems.

8. What are some essential features to look for in a PDF reader tool?

Essential features to consider include password protection for document security, a user-friendly interface for ease of use, and support for basic PDF viewing and navigation. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Foxit PDF Reader are known for offering these features.

9. Do PDF reader tools offer tabbed interfaces for easier document management?

Some PDF reader tools provide tabbed interfaces, allowing you to open multiple PDF documents in separate tabs within the same window. This simplifies document management and navigation.

10. Are PDF reader tools suitable for creating and managing fillable PDF forms?

PDF reader tools are primarily designed for viewing and interacting with PDFs. If you need to create and manage fillable PDF forms, consider using dedicated form creation software or PDF editors.

These frequently asked questions provide insights into the features and capabilities of free PDF reader tools. When choosing a PDF reader, consider your specific needs and workflow to select the tool that best aligns with your requirements.


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