PDF readers are important tools both in the professional world and people's individual lives. PDF is a special type of file created specifically for document exchange, and you need to use PDF viewers as tools to open and edit them.
Even though PDFs are over 25 years old, they’re still one of the main types of documents on the internet. Whether you’re trying to access your W-2, a contract, or an eBook, it’ll probably be in the form of a PDF. But to view these important documents, you need to download a PDF reader on your computer.
For Windows 10, there are already tons of options if you want to download PDF viewer apps. But what are the ones you should go for? So, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 best PDF readers for Windows PCs for free as well as paid-for options, which allow PDF files to be annotated, edited, and even digitally signed.The 2021 list includes the likes of PDF Reader Pro, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Foxit Reader, SumatraPDF, etc. which are already a known name.
Each PDF reader has its own strengths, depending on what the user is looking for. Here are some of the best free & paid PDF readers for Windows to consider:
1. PDF Reader Pro
Beloved and trusted by 80M users, PDF Reader Pro is one of the best PDF reader and editor for Windows 2021, an alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader, to view, markup and review, edit, combine, organize, convert, form fill, sign, secure, watermark, print and share PDF documents. It is well-designed for all levels of users, no tech knowledge required. Download this PDF reader and editor to start editing now!
Highlight-Features of PDF Reader Pro for Windows:
- Read PDF Documents More Enjoyable:
Display Mode - Enjoy vertical / horizontal scrolling while viewing in single page, single page continuous, two pages, two pages continuous, full-screen reading mode, slideshow(presentation) mode;
Multi-tab Viewer - Open multiple PDF files on the same window;
Split View - View two parts of the same document side by side simultaneously (Horizontal & Vertical) under split view mode;
PDF search text, jump to page, bookmarks, outline for a fast navigation, fully support to zoom in & out;
Different themes embedded, including Day & Night mode switcher to comfort eyes;
- Convert & Create PDF in a Snap:
Export from PDF to Text(.txt), Image, JPEG(.jpeg), PNG(.png) offline;
Image to PDF converter, convert to PDF from Image, JPEG, JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, GIF;
Create new blank PDFs or images PDFs;
- Fill Out Forms and Sign PDFs Anytime, Anywhere:
Work with static PDF forms created in Adobe Acrobat;
Type on PDF and Fill out any PDF forms with interactive fields such as text fields, checkbox, radio box, listbox, combobox, button;
Add beautiful handwriting or use image to create your own signatures;
- Other Powerful Features of PDF Reader Pro Include:
Organize PDF pages - Renumber, arrange or edit pages easily by drag and drop;
Merge & Split - Split documents into multiple documents or combine multiple pages into a new single, searchable PDF;
Extract the desired pages to create a new PDF;
Annotate and markup PDF with highlight, underline, strikethrough, freehand, text box, notes, shapes etc.
Add fantastic watermarks to keep your documents safe and professional;
Secure PDFs by setting passwords to protect sensitive PDF documents or authorization on editing, copying, printing or modifying PDF;
Easily share files and with your friends, classmates and colleagues via email, Skype, Slack, etc.;
Overall, PDF Reader Pro has all the necessary features to facilitate the best PDF reading and viewing experience for Windows users. It is fully compatible with up to ten Windows 10 devices, you could take a free trial before buying it from Microsoft Store.
2. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
If you’re looking for a powerful program to read PDF files, I’d like to recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader. It’s not uncommon to come across a PDF file that demands an advanced PDF reader. Here, I’m talking about the fillable forms that you can’t take care of using a basic PDF reader software for Windows.
Adobe Reader for Windows provides different reading modes, text highlighting, adding notes, filling forms, digital signatures, stamps, etc. Adobe’s free PDF reader for Windows also supports a tabbed view, which means that you can open multiple PDF files simultaneously.
So, if your needs aren’t simple, you don’t want to just “read” PDF files, and you need advanced features, downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is the right choice. It’s also the best PDF reader for large files that some lightweight programs are unable to process fully.
3. Foxit Reader
Just like Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Foxit is a popular name in the world of document readers. However, compared to Adobe’s PDF reading solution, Foxit is comparatively lighter.
A while ago, Foxit also introduced its new online ConnectedPDF Document Management System. Its Text Viewer mode removes complex formatting and displays a plain Notepad-like view of the file.
The collaboration features further improve your PDF experience by letting you work online and share it with others. It’s an advanced software for reading PDF files, and it has all the necessary features.
4. Javelin PDF Reader
The second-last entry on our top PDF readers list for 2021 is Javelin PDF Reader. It comes with all the basic PDF reading functionality that one needs to complete daily chores. The overall interface is super clean, and you can choose from most of the common reading modes like full screen, continuous, side by side, etc.
With just 2MB download size, Javelin is pretty lightweight when compared to the likes of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Foxit Reader. This free PDF viewer for PC can open DRM-protected files with any issues and provides markup and annotation.
5. Nitro Reader
Nitro Reader is another famous name in the world of office and productivity software. I personally like this free PDF document reader as it tries to strike the perfect balance between usability and features. It doesn’t come loaded with tons of unnecessary features that one never uses. Its slick interface looks like just any other application from Microsoft’s Office suite.
Apart from all the basic features, Nitro Reader also comes with a handy QuickSign feature that makes digitally signing documents a simple task. You can also secure your documents and make sure that they are opened by the people who’ve received a digital certificate from you. So, go for Nitro Reader if you wish to use a no-nonsense PDF reader for Windows that also has a beautiful UI.
6. PDF-XChange Editor
PDF-XChange Editor is a free PDF reader for Windows 10 that has been completely revamped and simplified. It delivers quick loading times and provides a lightweight experience for reading, printing, annotating, saving images and text, etc. from a PDF file.
Prior to this, the software was called PDF-XChange Viewer, and it didn’t have the basic editing functions available for free. You also get features like OCR and digital signature as well. However, the UI might seem a little cluttered with too many options, maybe, a redesign would give some room to breathe.
As claimed by the developers, the free version of PDF-XChange Editor provides more than 60% of the features that ship with the paid version.
SumatraPDF is an open-source and lightweight PDF reader software that you can install and use on your Windows computer. Licensed under GPLv3 license, SumatraPDF supports formats other than PDF as well, including the likes of EPUB, MOBI, FB2, CHM, XPS, and DjVu.
As mentioned above, this free and best PDF reader is very light, and its 64-bit installer is just about 5MB in size. So, if you’re looking for a good PDF reader software that can deliver a fantastic reading experience with fast performance and essential features, SumatraPDF is the right PDF reader for you. But, it lacks advanced features like annotations, document signing, and form-filling.
It supports various keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate quickly and improve your reading experience. Sumatra also comes with easy previewing of LaTeX documents, and you can configure different text editors to integrate Sumatra. The free PDF viewer also supports running in restricted mode.
8. Slim PDF
Just like SumatraPDF, Slim PDF is another lightweight to consider if you’re searching for the best PDF reader for Windows 10 OS. Slim PDF calls itself the world’s smallest desktop PDF reader.
It’s an easy to use PDF reader for PC users and has recently been updated with a redesigned UI and support for the dark mode the many would fancy. Just as one would expect, this free PDF software is simply focused on reading, viewing, and printing your PDF files.
Slim PDF loads very quickly and lets you complete your job in less time. Please note that this Windows PDF reader doesn’t support many popular keyboard shortcuts, so don’t get disappointed. Also, it doesn’t let you highlight your text word by word. Anyway, it’s a portable PDF reader software that just works.
Supported Platforms: Windows 10, 8.1, 7, XP
FAQs About Windows PDF Reader
Q1: Is there a free PDF reader?
Yes, there are many free PDF readers on the markets, like PDF Reader Pro and many more. You can choose the best one according to your needs.
Q2: What is the default PDF reader on Windows 10?
Windows 10 doesn’t come preloaded with a dedicated PDF reader app. However, it’s default Edge browser lets you open PDF files easily when required.
Q3: Which one is the best PDF reader for Windows 10?
So, we have listed down the best PDF reader software for Windows 10 and older versions that you can try out in 2021. Depending on your usage and needs, your choices might defer.
Choosing the right PDF reader for Windows that suits your needs in the year 2021 isn’t a tough task, but you need to know about the available options. Hopefully, this list will help you choose the one that's right for you.
Have you ever tried PDF Reader Pro? Download a free trial and share your experience with us. We are happy to hear from you!