12 Best Free PDF Readers for Windows, Mac & More in 2020

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Portable Document Format or PDF reader tools allows a document to stay intact in the same condition irrespective of the different sources that you may use for reading or documenting these files. PDF viewer saves information in electronic format, which can be easily read, printed or forwarded to another source. Texts, images, pictures or graphics get saved with ease using the best PDF reader.

Free PDF reader

PDF documents are easy to open in any computing system and can be shared conveniently as email attachments. The document management of the best free PDF reader software provides other add-ons such as highlighting tools, collaboration features, conversion system and other mechanisms for a friendly user experience.

Best Free PDF Editor for Windows & Other Platforms in 2020

PDF Reader What Users Liked about these Best PDF Readers
Adobe Acrobat Easy to add and remove pages

Use the Pro or free PDF reader software version for quickly editing files

Sign documents digitally

Quickly export files into Word format with one of the best PDF readers for Windows  
Microsoft PDF Reader Convenient tool for those writing brief articles as you can draw, highlight and underline here

Use the free PDF reader for splitting, merging and annotating PDF files

Transfer files directly using FTP and WebDAV      

Frequent updates for avoiding the issue of bugs  
Foxit Software One of the best free PDF readers, Foxit can be used for appending individual pages or entire PDF document

Free trial and excellent customer support 

File encrypting for confidential and sensitive documents

Lightweight and has intuitive user interface.
Nitro Pro Efficient collaboration tools for review and markup

As one other best PDF reader software, Gonitro offers multiple security options.

Task based tabs for better organisation

Create PDF files quickly from different file formats
Sumatra PDF Sumatra free PDF reader software is portable in nature

You can run this best free PDF reader for Windows 10 from any USB device

Helps search for a text within PDF easily

It allows viewing PDFs in the presentation mode

This PDF viewer also helps select facing page, single page or book views.  
SmallPDF Shrink heavy files for viewing in this PDF reader software

Use the best online PDF reader's drag and drop interface for fast distribution

Easy to use Gmail integration available
ABBY FineReader OCR function for identifying texts in a document

Multiple language support

Optical character recognition

Screenshot feature attached for capturing graphics
Movavi PDF reader Installation and setup is easy.

Free trial version also provided to check for the software's flexible design

Simple PDF file editing process

Page extracting feature is convenient for selecting parts of a file

Legal form library for creating forms
Systools PDF Unlocker Advanced scanning options for capturing graphical images and texts

Feature attached for recovering PST files is fast

SysTools is also one of the best free PDF readers for Windows 10 for its Integrated viewer that helps preview emails and attachments 

No formatting or other kinds of changes done to files once they have been unlocked
PDFescape Simple interface that makes the software easy to use

Desktop version has cross platform support

You can use the pdf file viewer and editor as both desktop and online application

Possible to convert into PDF over a hundred different types of file formats
Inkscape Inkscape is the best PDF reader for Windows that helps with drawing and designing within pdf files

Quickly converts bitmap images into vectors for attaching into PDF documents

SVG file support that makes the software handy in nature

File compression available for exported PNG files
PDFelement You can resize the documents for sending them to third parties

Batch processing available for pdf files

Print directly from the application without worrying about additional installation processes

You can easily remove watermarks from the files with PDFelement
  • Adobe Acrobat

Online PDF editor
#1 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Adobe Acrobat is one of the most commonly used PDF reader, relied upon for viewing PDF documents. The software continues to be the pioneer in the field of PDF reading, as it was the first company to have invented and launched this structure in the market. You can make use of Adobe Acrobat reader for reading content available in different formats including multimedia ones.

The user friendly software is available in several languages. You can use the PDF to Doc Converter option to transform files into a more convenient format. Similarly documents can also be transformed into PowerPoint, RTF or Excel format. Adobe Acrobat PDF reader for Windows is also compatible with mobile devices supporting Android or iOS version.

How Can I Edit PDF Online for Free with Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader Software

Adobe Acrobat PDF editor software offers versatile tools for viewing, reviewing, editing and modifying text content. Convert all your PDF content into readable text with annotations, highlights, comments and signatures.

Best PDF editor

Step- 1: Open file

Go the file section and select the folder you want to edit. From the folder select file and click the open option to start working.

Step- 2: Select toolbar

The toolbar section is located either on the right or left side of the panel. In the toolbar, select settings option to search for Edit feature. Click on the edit section to move to the next step in file editing process.

Step-3: Format

With the edit feature, you can make changes in the text content. Use the format feature to edit images and other graphical information.

Step-4: Merge

Merge different documents into one concise document in case you have multiple PDF files. Quickly view and share these merged files with your contacts.

Step-5: Password Protect

Password protect your files with file encryption and user permissions for safety of all confidential/sensitive information.

Key Features of Adobe Acrobat:

  • Adobe Scan

Adobe scan option lets you transfer any document into a high-quality PDF file without much hassle.

  • Protected Mode

Use the Protected Mode to prevent third parties from installing malware into your computer system.

  • Cloud Services

Cloud services let you access documents from any location, any place and from any device.

  • Display Mode

Select from a range of available display modes the one that suits your style of working.

  • Security Settings

Security settings option lets you pre-set names of those who can edit, read, print or do any further modifications in the document.

Price to Upgrade: Acrobat Standard DC is available for Rs 879 per month. The premium version provides an option for viewing comparisons between two PDF files as well as converting scanned documents into editable document format. You can also use the validation option for fixing PDFs for ISO and accessibility standards. 

Platform Supported: Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS

Pros:

  • Easy to add and remove pages
  • Use the Pro or free PDF reader software version for quickly editing files
  • Sign documents digitally
  • Quickly export files into Word format with one of the best PDF readers for Windows

Cons:

  • Extract command can be made simpler
  • Opening large files take time
  • Microsoft PDF Reader for Windows

PDF reader
#2 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Microsoft PDF Reader is one of the best free PDF Readers for Windows available in the market. This PDF Reader comes attached with features that make it easy to install and simple to use. You can go through the tutorial booklet attached with the software for understanding its functioning and the entire installation processes. Underlining, highlighting, strikethrough text and adding comments are the key highlights of this free PDF software.

This free PDF Reader is simple to use and prevents its user from the hassle of using complicated tools. You can easily add more sheets or fill/sign documents with the help of this free PDF software. The interface is user friendly as it closely resembles Microsoft Office. It is a perfect choice for those with less space in their system’s hard drive.

Key Features of PDF Reader:

  • Ribbon Style Menu

You can use the ribbon style menu for navigating the reader with ease. This menu can be easily hidden when reading in order to avoid unnecessary distractions.

  • Pre-designed Annotations

This free PDF Reader offers options for pasting approved stamps and adding sticky notes.

  • PDF Converter

The word to PDF converter online feature lets you transform documents from word to PDF with ease.

Price to Upgrade: This is a free PDF software.

Platform Supported: Windows

Pros:

  • Convenient tool for those writing brief articles as you can draw, highlight and underline here
  • Use the free PDF editor for splitting, merging and annotating PDF files
  • Transfer files directly using FTP and WebDAV     
  • Frequent updates for avoiding the issue of bugs

Cons:

  • Too many advertisements
  • The PDF online editor free online version also can be heavy on a operating system.
  • Foxit Software

PDF viewer
#3 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Foxit software PDF reader for Windows and Mac creates PDF files for convenient reading and sharing by users. The software has an in-built Doc to PDF converter as well as Excel to PDF converter online. Foxit is one of the best PDF readers available for streamlining work processes. It converts official as well as personal documents into neat PDF format for quick and easy reading/sharing experience.

Foxit software’s Microsoft Office style ribbon toolbar provides a friendly user interface and helps you learn quick facts about the software. You can also leverage existing forms with the help of standard PDF (Acroforms) and XFA (XML Form Architecture) form filling.

Key Features of Foxit Software:

  • ConnectedSecurity

You can use this feature for granting and revokingaccess to documents.

  • Document Management

Track not only the ones who recently opened your document but also receive further information in the form of latest updates with the help of Foxit PDF viewer and editor.

  • ConnectedCollaboration

Align each other in the team about any information or a review related to files/documents with the help of this PDF software.

  • JAWS (Job Access with Speech)

Blind and visually impaired people can use JAWS option to read the screen either with the help of text-to-speech output or with refreshable Braille.

Price to Upgrade: Foxit Phantom PDF Standard 9 is available for Rs 5,628. The software can be used by both large and small organizations without any hassle.

Platform Supported: Windows, Mac, iOS and Android

Pros:

  • One of the best PDF editors, Foxit can be used for appending individual pages or entire PDF document
  • Free trial and excellent customer support 
  • File encrypting for confidential and sensitive documents
  • Has an intuitive user interface

Cons:

  • Using the graphics import option is inconvenient at times
  • Text often gets unaligned when filling out forms
  • Gonitro PDF Reader for Windows

PDF viewer and editor
#4 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Gonitro software eases the process of working digitally by providing quick and easy PDF file reading and creation option. The software creates PDF files and documents for reading, editing, signing and security purposes. Gonitro PDF reader and PDF viewer has Microsoft Outlook plugin for creating PDF files from email.

You can make use of the floating toolbar for easy access to editing/revision tools. Gonitro also offers the advantage of batch processing through which you can easily print and convert several documents together, all in one go. The ‘Add Tools’ feature is available for customizing the Home tab. It also provides the integration feature so that you can save PDF files into Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Key Features of Gonitro Software:

  • PDF Editor

You can use the online PDF Editor option for inserting pages, modifying texts, swapping images and adding a logo, if required. You can try the PDF Editor free option to try its basic features.

  • PDF Converter

Use the PDF Converter for converting files into doc, excel or PowerPoint formats.

  • Merge PDF Files

The Merge PDFfiles option lets you combine or merge PDFs into single PDF file.

  • PDF Annotator

To ensure coordination amongst teammates over a project, you can use the PDF annotator for tracking comments and reviews.

  • Digital Signature

Create profiles based on digital signatures for one-step application of these signatures.

Price to Upgrade: Nitro Pro Basic Plus plan starts at Rs 14630 and is available on Techjockey.

Platform Supported: Windows

Pros:

  • Efficient collaboration tools for review and markup
  • As one other best PDF editor software, Gonitro offers multiple security options.
  • Task based tabs for better organisation
  • Create PDF files quickly from different file formats

Cons

  • Option for adding watermarks is unavailable
  • Multilingual support not provided
  • Sumatra PDF Reader for Windows 10

Open source PDF reader
#5 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Sumatra is one of the best free PDF reader available in the market. This free PDF software is lightweight, simple and provides a friendly user interface. This open source PDF reader supports other document formats, such as EPUB, MOBI, XML and DjVu as well.

One of the most unique features of this free PDF software is that it is portable in nature,thus requiring no special installation process. You can easily install it through an external USB drive. This free PDF software is portable and requires no additional space for storage. Simplicity of the software Sumatra PDF makes it an ideal choice for navigating, searching and organising PDF files.

Key Features of Sumatra PDF:

  • Minimalist Toolbar

The minimalist toolbar of this free PDF software lets you access basic features such as search, print, zoom in/out and skipping pages back and forth.

  • Search Box

You can easily locate the text you are searching for within a PDF document with the help of search box option.

  • Hotkey Commands

Use the hotkey commands, also called short cut keys, to easily surf through the document.

Price to Upgrade: This a free PDF reader software.

Platform Supported: Windows

Pros:

  • Sumatra free PDF editor software is portable in nature
  • You can run this PDF software from any USB device
  • Helps search for a text within PDF easily
  • It allows viewing PDFs in the presentation mode
  • This PDF viewer also helps select facing page, single page or book views.

Cons:

  • Does not have browser plugins
  • Annotation tools missing
  • SmallPDF Reader for Windows & Mac

PDF Converter
#6 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

SmallPDF is an online PDF converter for transforming files from PDF into word, excel and powerpoint formats. All you need to do is drag and drop files into the application for performing tasks related to conversion.

You can merge, split and rotate documents with the help of SmallPDF application. The application also provides a compression tool for attaching PDFs to emails. Quality of the compressed document doesn’t change, and you can also decompress the document if need arises.

Key Features of SmallPDF:

  • Optical Character Recognition

Make use of OCR feature to identify characters and texts from PDF scanned documents, multimedia and multipage files.

  • Electronic Signature

Add e-Signatures to your PDF documents for creating contracts and official documents.

  • Offline Access

Click on the offline access option available in the settings menu for making files available even when you are in offline mode.

  • Collaboration Tools

Select collaboration tools such as instant messaging, group messages and file sharing options for better coordination amongst members of your group.

  • PDF Converter

You can use the PDF Convertor to transfer files from PPT, JPG and Excel format into PDF one. Further from a PDF file, you can change it into Excel and PPT. 

Price to Upgrade: For pricing details, please connect with our experts.

Platform Supported: MacOS X and Windows

Pros:

  • Shrink heavy files for viewing in this PDF editor software
  • Use the best online PDF editor's drag and drop interface for fast distribution
  • Easy to use
  • Gmail integration available

Cons:

  • File compression leads to blurry images
  • Document conversion process is long at times
  • ABBYY FineReader PDF Reader for Windows & Mac

PDF Converter
#7 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

ABBYY FineReader is PDF and OCR software designed especially for scanned and PDF documents. You can optimize the documentation process by digitizing, retrieving and sharing documents with the help of ABBY FineReader.

This PDF editor software lets you edit the sentences and paragraphs as well as adjust the layout. You can add paragraphs, pictures, delete texts and rearrange the layout to edit your PDF document.

You can use ABBYY FineReader viewing mode to merge documents, browse through pages and even select a more convenient reading mode. The software has an in-built optical character recognition option to find information in PDF documents.

Key Features of ABBY FineReader:

  • Digitise Documents

Its AI-based OCR technology simplifies the workflow by digitising documents.

  • Hot Folder

Hot Folder processes several pages in one go. You can use Hot Folder option to automate document conversion process for work groups as well as individuals.

  • Compare Documents

This is one of the most interesting features of ABBY FineReader where you can compare documents in different formats including scanned ones. You can even share the comparison results.

  • Collaboration Tools

You can use a range of marking and drawing tools to share ideas and comments amongst different collaborators of a document.

  • Simplified License management

Use the automated deployment offered by simplified license management processes to lower your workload related to IT.

Price to Upgrade: The software is priced at Rs 14,222. At this price, you can enjoy features such as collaboration tools, digitization option and file scanning.

Platform Supported: Mac and Windows

Pros:

  • OCR function for identifying texts in a document
  • Multiple language support
  • Optical character recognition
  • Screenshot feature attached for capturing graphics

Cons:

  • Doesn't work well with documents in older versions
  • Installing the software may take longer in some cases
  • Movavi PDF Reader for Windows & Mac

Doc to PDF converter
#8 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Movavi offers PDF management utility to alter content of a PDF file. The PDF Editor provides a tab-based interface layout for opening multiple documents in one go. You can also open multi-page PDF pages, PNG, JPG and JPEG with Movavi PDF Editor.

The Edit Objects option within the PDF Editor lets you add/extract pages, rotate and append them with ease. You can also add pictures and blank pages to the document with the help of this software. An important featureof this PDF software provides is that it displays every page in separate panels.

Key Features of Movavi PDF Editor:

  • Save on Notary Fees

You can use a pre-built template library to create legal documents without spending extra money on legal consultation.

  • Scale PDF Pages

Scale PDF pages to make them fit the screen’s resolution and individual preferences. This option also lets you search for phrases and keywords with ease.

  • Merge PDF Files

Movavi PDF Editor combines and merges PDF files into one single document. You can create complete and precise business and legal documents with the help of this software.

  • Informative Tools

Add informative tools in the form of chart or data to create neat and well-organised presentations.

  • File Converter

Choose the Doc to PDF converter or PDF to doc converter to change file formats. Similarly you can also convert PDF files into HTML, TXT and EPUB formats.  

Price to Upgrade: The compact and easy to use software is available at a price of Rs 1265.

Platform Supported: Windows and Mac

Pros:

  • Installation and set up is easy. Free trial version also provided to check for the software's flexible features.
  • Simple PDF file editing process
  • Page extracting feature is convenient for selecting parts of a file
  • Legal form library for creating forms

Cons:

  • Converting large PDF files is slow sometimes
  • Batch functions missing
  • Systools PDF Unlocker

Merge PDF files
#9 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Systools PDF Unlocker is used to unlock PDF file. With the help of this software, PDF files with password security lock can be easily unlocked. The software also helps in removing both owner and user passwords.You can also check the status of a document in the before and after columns. Once the password gets unlocked, you can easily print, share, edit and review files.

Furthermore once the password gets unlocked, you can use this PDF file for commenting, extracting, copying and editing. You can make use of the software panel available to save both unlocked and unrestricted PDF files.

Key Features of Systools PDF Unlocker:

  • Maintains File Integrity

After unlocking a file, the software ensures that there is no discrepancy in the new, unlocked data.

  • Removes Document Assembly

You can remove restrictions associated with assembling documents with Systools PDF Unlocker.

  • Unrestrict PDF Files in Batch

Special restrictions or common PDF restriction, you can remove all these from multiple files in batches.

  • Preview Permissions of PDF File

Systools Unlocker lists the permissions associated with locked documents after PDF documents have been uploaded by the software. You can view these permissions in a separate column.

  • Remove Form Restrictions

Use the software to end restrictions associated with form filling. You can fill details in PDF forms to enable form filling feature.

Price to Upgrade: You can unlock PDF files as well as remove file restriction with the software available at a price of Rs 2099. File transfer, preview and report generation are some of the other key highlights of the software.

Platform Supported: Windows and Mac

Pros:

  • Advanced scanning options for capturing graphical images and texts
  • Feature attached for recovering PST files is fast
  • SysTools, as one of the best PDF editors for Windows helps preview emails and attachments 
  • No formatting or other kinds of changes done to files once they have been unlocked

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work for corrupted PDF files
  • Print option may not function in some owner protected files
  • PDFescape PDF Reader for Windows

Free PDF editor Windows
#10 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

PDFescape is a free PDF editor Windows offering editing and pdf file viewing functioning. It is also one of the best PDF online editor free online that supports multiple browser extensions such as Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer. 

The pdf software is preferred for form filling, publishing, organising pages and printing. You can thus use the software for opening directly the files or importing the same from web interface for editing and modifying.

Key features of PDFescape:

  • Whiteout tools

With whiteout tools create new fields for forms and insert links into PDF files to enhance the reading experience.

  • Annotation tools

With the free PDF editor software you can add content and notes to the content for improved viewing.

  • Security

PDFescape allows users to password protect their files for all their confidential documents.

  • Scan documents

Scan as well as print pdf documents for extracting sensitive or important information from the text content.

Price to upgrade: PDFescape is one of the best online PDF editors. There are two paid plans available premium and ultimate. The starting price is Rs 218 and you can contact our sales team for more information about paid plans. Do some ad free content reviewing and editing with paid versions of the best PDF editor software.

Platform Supported: Windows

Pros:

  • Simple interface that makes PDFescape PDF editor easy to use
  • Desktop version provides cross platform support
  • You can use this pdf file viewer and editor as both desktop and online application
  • Possible to convert into PDF over a hundred different types of file formats

Cons:

  • Too many advertisements
  • This PDF editor is a bit expensive compared to other platforms that support the same features.
  • Inkscape

Free PDF editor software
#11 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Inkscape PDF editor software is used as vector graphics tool for editing text and images in a pdf file. The lightweight editor offers a range of quick tools for editing and let you save your documents as PNG files.

Along with robust drawing tools, this PDF editor has equally powerful tools for editing texts. Bezier and Spiro curves also attached for creating stunning vector imagery.

Key features of Inkscape:

  • Calligraphy tool

Calligraphic strokes for free hand drawing within pdf files using filled paths.

  • Rendering

Anti-aliased display support for PNG export and transparency.

  • Command line options

Export and convert into OpenDocument drawing, Postscript, EPS, PNG, etc.

  • Text in shape/on path

Multiline text support wherein you can fill shapes/strokes into editable path and text. 

  • Transformations

Group and ungroup objects using transformations such as scaling, skewing, rotating and moving.

Price to upgrade: Inkscape is basically a vector graphics software that can be used as a free and open source PDF editor for editing pdf documents.

Platform Supported: Linux, MacOS and Windows

Pros:

  • Inkscape is one of the best PDF editors for drawing and designing within pdf files
  • Quickly converts bitmap images into vectors for attaching into PDF documents
  • SVG file support that makes the software handy in nature
  • File compression available for exported PNG files

Cons:

  • Slow with large files
  • Lags on desktop/PC
  • PDFelement PDF Reader for Windows & Mac

Best online PDF editor
#12 of 12 Best Free PDF Software

Solve the hassle of editing and converting pdf documents with one of the best PDF editors, PDFelement. Recommended for creating, editing and signing pdf documents, this PDF editor also allows the end user to convert and add comments to such files. Additionally you can use the pdf editor for compressing, watermarking, protecting and converting PDF documents.

The basic task of reading, printing and searching through PDF files is offered by PDFelement PDF viewer software. Designed for tasks like reading PDF documents and filling in forms, you can use this best PDF editor for its simplistic features and a friendly user interface.

Key features of PDFelement:

  • Forms distribution

Use the platform for preparing forms, combining the forms for analysing and exporting such data into spreadsheets.

  • Convert

Easily convert PDF files into tables, different rendering formats and office files with one of the best PDF editor for Windows.

  • Full featured word processor

A fully featured word processor for easy viewing and editing of all pdf content.

  • Redact information

With redacting you can remove all sensitive and confidential information from files, texts as well as illustrations

  • Digital signature

Make all the pdf documents verifiable and authentic by adding to them digital signature of the concerned authorities.

Price to upgrade: It’s available for free trial. The starting price of paid plan is Rs 4830 at Techjockey. With the paid plans, you can access batch process documents, perform scanning and OCR for files and expect dedicated technical support services.

Platform Supported: Windows and Mac

Pros:

  • You can resize the documents for sending them to third parties
  • Batch processing available for pdf files
  • Print directly from the application without worrying about additional installation processes
  • You can easily remove watermarks from the files with PDFelement

Cons:

  • Edited files sometimes don't get saved
  • Pages keep getting refreshed every time you add comments to them.

Summary

PDFs have been specifically designed for easing workflow and improving productivity at work. You can select any of the PDF software for creating, reading, sharing or downloading files. Irrespective of the purpose, personal and professional, various add-ons that the software provide serve as convenient reminders of how organised PDF management can be.

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