Best Free PDF Readers in 2021

14 Best Free PDF Readers for Windows

PDF is still one of the most popular reading formats in the digital environment. Here are the best PDF readers that offer more than the basics for free.

From reading an ebook or filling out an online form to creating manuals, the PDF format is still the most preferred reading format.

Best Free PDF Readers For Windows

While web browsers are equipped with built-in PDF reading features these days, form filling, annotating, etc. For functions such as this, you will need to download a PDF reader separately. That’s why we wanted to offer free options when downloading a PDF reader for Windows for more features.

1. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

This is undoubtedly the most popular PDF reader of all time. It helps you access, read, or edit your PDFs anytime, anywhere. Those who use it on a Windows platform get a complete view and editing rights for different types of PDFs and other files.


  • It allows you to view, edit, distribute, and annotate PDF files.
  • You can also export files and edit them using notes and live highlights.
  • It allows you to create your own PDF file from an MS Office document or a web page.
  • It offers a fast and reliable way to access your PDF files on a variety of device types.

Best of all, it also functions as an audiobook reading content aloud for hard-to-read books. Compatible with all major platforms, this PDF reader is perfect for anyone who wants to annotate PDF files on the go.

2. Slim PDF Reader

Open and view your PDF documents, add comments and other annotations, fill in interactive forms, verify digital signatures with Slim PDF Reader, and more.

If you are looking for a simple PDF reader then you can try this PDF program. It helps you open and view PDF documents without taking up much space on your computer.


  • Fast performance, lightweight, and bloat-free application.
  • It also allows you to print out your PDF files.
  • It comes in a compact size and offers a secure way to view and print PDF files. Moreover, it has a clean user interface and is much smaller in size than Adobe Reader.

3. Soda PDF

This is another free PDF reader that offers a complete and user-friendly experience. It not only helps you open and read PDF files, but also allows you to create, edit, view, and even annotate PDF documents.


  • It offers free access to different PDF services.
  • It allows you to create PDF files from hundreds of file formats.
  • Allows you to convert PDFs to other different file types, seamlessly and without data loss.

Its other main features include the ability to blend many different selected PDF files into one convenient document or split large PDF files into several smaller documents.

4. Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader, one of the most powerful PDF readers in this field, helps you create PDFs, view them, annotate them, fill out forms, and even create digital signatures on them. It is a compact software that is full of features and performs fast.


  • It allows you to open, read, and print PDFs effortlessly.
  • It allows you to create documents in PDF format that work with other PDF products.
  • Allows you to share and collaborate on PDF files, helping you increase flexibility in the workplace and impact results.
  • It protects sensitive data in your documents with different security features.
  • It allows you to sign PDF documents with your own handwriting or create a digital signature.

Other key features include providing cloud-based services for PDF files with the option to allow or deny access to documents, control who has access to your document and send notifications accordingly, and effortlessly implement the application on all computers in the company.

5. Nitro PDF Reader

With this free PDF viewer and reader program, you can create, review, sign, and share PDFs. It is a handy PDF reader that outperforms its competitors by allowing reading, creating, editing, annotating, and even revising PDF documents. This offers more than the basic features for free compared to other PDF readers.


  • It allows you to create PDFs from almost all Windows applications and more than 300 file formats.
  • It supports drag-and-drop files to instantly create a document.
  • Helps you customize your PDF documents using tools that can change the resulting quality, add your own colors, resize the page, and apply fonts.
  • Allows you to annotate, respond to feedback, highlight texts, and more.
  • It allows you to view PDFs including text and even collaborate without additional information required.

Nitro’s free PDF reader offers useful productivity features beyond the typical viewing and annotation tools provided by most of the other popular PDF readers.

6. PDF-Xchange Editor

The smallest, feature-rich free PDF viewer/editor on the market. Create, view, edit, annotate, OCR, and digitally sign PDF files.  More than 60% of the features in PDF-XChange Editor do not require a license for use. The remaining features, clearly identified, place a ‘ trial ‘ watermark on the output if used without a license.


  • It allows you to change parameters such as margins, image resolutions, page size, and orientation.
  • It also allows you to change default settings and print axes.
  • Helps you convert PDFs into batches.

Moreover, it supports multiple languages ​​and other features such as syntactic definition that speeds up the PDF creation and conversion process, offers the option to customize its applications to suit your needs, comes with Advanced OCR plugins, and more.

PDF-XChange Editor Plus includes additional functionality for creating and editing fillable forms and creating customizable dynamic stamps.

7. Sumatra PDF

Sumatra PDF is a free PDF, eBook (ePub, Mobi), XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR) reader for Windows. This is a PDF reader that offers all basic PDF functionality without slowing down your system. This lightweight application can also read ebook formats on Windows.

Sumatra PDF is powerful, small, portable, and very fast opening. The simplicity of the user interface is a high priority.


  • It allows you to open and read PDF documents effortlessly.
  • Offers multiple language options.
  • It offers quality zoom and search options.
  • Open large files more quickly and efficiently.
  • It comes with several hotkeys to make it easy to work with PDFs.

It is simple but faster and offers additional functionality such as rotating pages, viewing PDFs in full screen, launching the default email application, automatically attaching the PDF to email, and more.

8. MuPDF

MuPDF is a lightweight PDF, XPS, and Ebook viewer. If you are looking for high-quality graphics with a minimalist approach, this PDF viewer is for you. This lightweight tool allows you to view PDF content without actually requiring an advanced PDF reader.


  • Since it is portable by nature, it does not need to be set up and can be operated on a portable device.
  • It offers the option to save to any computer and run the executable directly.
  • Find and open a PDF using the dialog box that opens during startup.
  • It has a simple interface with a regular window with handy keyboard shortcuts.

The viewer is small, and fast, but complete. It supports many document formats such as PDF, XPS, OpenXPS, CBZ, EPUB, and FictionBook 2. You can annotate PDF documents and fill out forms with mobile viewers (this feature will be coming to desktop viewers soon).

Command-line tools allow you to annotate, edit and convert documents to other formats such as HTML, SVG, PDF, and CBZ. You can also write scripts to process documents using JavaScript.

9. STDU Viewer

STDU Viewer is a free viewer for multiple file formats. The purpose of this software is to replace multiple document viewers with one simple application. 

STDU Viewer supports TIFF, PDF, DjVu, XPS, JBIG2, and WWF document formats. These are the most popular formats for scientific and technical documentation.

Besides, STDU Viewer; Supports FB2, TXT, Comic Book Archive (CBR or CBZ), TCR, PalmDoc (PDB), MOBI, AZW, EPub, DCX, and image (BMP, PCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, WMF, EMF, PSD) files.

STDU Viewer has a multilingual interface. You can currently choose from English, Russian, or French. It is possible to translate the STDU Viewer interface to your own language by changing the strings in the XML external source.

STDU Viewer has a modern tabbed interface and all the standard features for such applications (column view, rotation page, search by text layer, etc.). 

Also, STDU Viewer has some extended features such as exporting a page or part of a page to an image file, creating your own bookmarks, setting an action for the touch screen, and others.

10. Javelin PDF Readers

Javelin PDF Readers provides all the basic functionality required to view standard PDF files and PDF files encrypted using the free Drumlin Publisher software (.drmz and .drmx files). 

These readers support internal and external hyperlinks, content/navigation hyperlinks, various page display formats, as well as document text search, annotation, and markup.

If you intend to view PDF files and protect your PDF files from unwanted access, this software may be the right choice for you. This fully unified and encrypted PDF reader is great for market research institutions, publishers, educators, government agencies, etc. is perfect for.

It prevents the contents of encrypted files from being copied and shared. Also, setting permissions for printing, how long it will be displayed, etc. It also allows you to add restrictions such as.

11. Expert PDF Reader

Expert PDF Reader is a free PDF viewing software that allows you to view and print PDF documents on Windows operating systems. It will also allow modification of existing documents. You can change document outlines, add stamps, and change any annotation created from Expert PDF or any other PDF creation software.

Expert PDF Reader is the ideal solution for viewing PDF documents. Fast, reliable, and compiled, everything you need gives the PDF viewer of your choice. If you need additional PDF editing functionality, you can take a look at what Expert PDF Editor has to offer.

12. Cool PDF Reader

World’s smallest PDF viewer/reader to view, print, crop, and convert PDF files to TXT, BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, WMF, EMF, EPS, and TIFF. Cool PDF Reader is only 3.2 MB to download and does not require lengthy installation, just download and run it.

This software makes reading your PDF documents easier and faster, making it a great alternative to other programs.


  • It has a user-friendly interface that is easy to understand.
  • The interface is loaded with command symbols followed by explanations as you hover the mouse over them.
  • The smallest PDF reading software in the world loads faster and is easy to use.
  • It allows you to open PDF files, read files, view, and even edit or convert them to other formats such as JPG, TIFF, TXT, EPS, and more.
  • Allows you to zoom in and out, rotate pages, create bookmarks and PDF slideshow, can be used as a built-in PDF reader, and more.

It also allows you to copy any text and image in PDF files in a few clicks, view slide shows in full screen, read in low light reading mode, and other reading modes such as Citrix mode, and nighttime reading.

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