10 Best PDF Readers Free for Windows and Macintosh Users [2023]

Anju Chaudhary
Anju Chaudhary | Updated On - January 11, 2023 |

Read time: 10 minutes

PDF (Portable Document Format), developed by Adobe, is a file format basically meant to store and transfer documents which may consist of text, images, and video. In the present scenario when most things have gone digital, PDF format has become indispensable to store, carry and transfer documents in paperless virtual form. Further, it can be opened on any operating system and can easily be attached to emails, messages, websites etc. Moreover they cannot be altered easily, and so are used widely to save confidential information. In the present blog we are going to discuss about 10 best free PDF Reader software to help you chose the best one fitted for you. Following PDF readers also consist of 5 best PDF repair tools of 2020 which have maintained their position in the year2021.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is one of the most popular applications meant for PDF reading for free. It supports Windows and Mac besides iOS devices and Android, and helps you to view, comment and print the PDF.


  • Most reliable.
  • You can directly login and get access to PDF files in Adobe Document Cloud, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, or SharePoint.


  • You can sign, track and send PDF files with limitations only.
  • Following features are not supported by free version:
  • No editing of PDF text & images.
  • No scanning of the PDF.
  • No conversion of PDF into other file types like Word, PPT, Excel etc.
  • No features to add digital sign to documents, highlight or cross out words, or add customized stamp, time stamp or digital certificate.
Microsoft PDF Reader

Microsoft PDF Reader
Microsoft PDF Reader supports Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It helps you to view, comment and print PDF documents.

  • You can view, comment and print PDFs.
  • You can change background color of PDF.


Following pro features are absent in free version:

  • Filling and editing PDF forms.
  • Merging multiple files into one PDF and split large PDF files into many small PDFs.
  • Editing pages by rotating, deleting, adding and rearranging besides extracting pages from PDFs.
  • Ability to sign and write on PDFs.
  • To create and manage signatures from within the library.
  • Adding handwritten notes to PDFs.
  • Creating new blank PDFs and new PDFs from images.
  • Converting PDF to Word, Excel, PPT, text, image & eBook.
  • Ability to annotate PDFs by highlighting, underlining, striking out the text etc., adding pre-designed or customized stamps, inserting hyperlinks to external websites, email address etc, inserting images etc.
  • Ability to zip and unzip files.
  • Ability to share the PDFs easily within the App.
  • Ability to add and remove passwords to lock and unlock PDF respectively.
Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader
Foxit Reader supports Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web and Linux and it is cloud based. It helps you to create, share and protect PDF documents with ease. You can read and print the PDF documents using this. You can also annotate and add images/videos/attachments. Besides you can sign documents with customized signature or e-signature and verify the status of digital signatures.


  • It is light weight.
  • You can fill PDF form and add signature.
  • You can highlight when you annotate.
  • You can merge and split PDFs (you need to download free add-ons for this purpose).
  • It helps you annotate, and add images, videos & file attachments.
  • You can sign documents with customized signature or e-signature and verify the status of digital signatures.


  • While opening PDF files, occurrence of random errors have been reported.
  • Comment layout is not satisfactory.
  • Absence of OCR (optical character recognition) of scanned documents in free version.
  • Latest update does not support creating PDF.
Nitro Reader

Nitro Reader
Nitro Reader supports Windows and helps you to view, print and create PDFs from any Windows applications and file format. It supports annotation and sharing of PDFs.

  • You can annotate PDF like highlight the text, add sticky notes, add comments etc.
  • You can sign the documents with customized signatures or e-signature
  • You can share PDF easily.


  • It has a simple menu.
  • You can view and print and can create PDF easily using ‘drag & drop file’ method.
  • It has a touch screen mode and is thus, suitable to work on tablets and proves perfect to read e-books.
  • You can annotate with underlining, highlighting, strike through text, add sticky notes and comments etc.
  • You can sign the documents with customized signatures or e-signature.
  • You can add comments which appear as sticky notes to the document and makes easier to distinguish the comments from the whole document.
  • You can convert the PDF to other formats and vice versa.


  1. To download the software you need to register first.
  2. Does not consist of features present in Nitro Pro version like:
    • Absence of OCR to help you search documents.
    • You cannot insert, remove or re-order pages.
Sumatra Reader

Sumatra Reader
Sumatra Reader supports Windows Vista 10/8/7 and is easy to use. You can run it from any USB device.


  • It is light weight.
  • It is available in many languages.
  • You can view pages of PDF in different modes like single page, book view & presentation.


  • Absence of anti-aliasing, thus, some fonts are not smooth.
  • Primary menu options are put inside another menu, thus one has o search more.

SmallPDF is a cloud based tool which supports Windows 10/8.1/8/7, Mac, Android, iOS. SmallPDF is a browser add-on which gives access to wide range of PDF editing tools.

  • You can view, create, convert, merge split and edit PDFs easily.
  • You can convert PDFs to Word, PPT, Excel & vice versa.
  • You can merge multiple PDFs into one document.
  • You can transform JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF &TIFF images to PDF.
  • You can annotate by adding text, shapes, images etc to your PDF.
  • You can sign your document with customized signature or e-signature.
  • You can compress the PDF and reduce the size of it without compromising with the quality.
  • You can print and share PDFs.
  • You can lock and unlock the PDF by adding and removing password respectively.
  • You can extract, rotate and delete PDF pages from your files.


  • Easy to use.
  • Supports conversion for many file formats.


  • You need to sign-up before use.
  • Has a lot of pop-ups.
  • Does not support copy and paste.
ABBYY FineReader

ABBYY FineReader supports Windows 7 and later versions, Mac OS 10.12 Sierra or later, and Linux.


  • You can convert image documents (photos & scans) and screen captures into file formats which can e further edited like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Rich Text Format, HTML, PDF/A, searchable PDF, CSV, and txt(plain text) files.
  • Version 11 helps you to save files in the DjVu format.
  • Version 15 supports text recognition in 192 languages and has built-in spell check for 48 of them.
  • You can compare documents.
  • You can annotate and add comments and can also schedule batch processing.
  • Version 15 has been rated “Highest-quality OCR in the market” by PC Magazine in February 2020.
  • You can create, edit, and organize PDFs easily.
  • You can create PDF forms which can be filled.
  • You can sign PDFs; thus it is helpful in collaborating and entering agreements.
  • You can lock and unlock by adding or removing password to the PDF.
  • You can identify texts in a document using OCR function.


  • You can access all the above-mentioned features for free only for trial period of 7 days, after which you cannot get those features for free.
Movavi PDF Editor

Movavi PDF Editor supports Windows Vista/7/8/10, Mac and OSX. It works as PDF reader only, but you can have the features of Pro version for free through this version for 7 days only.

  • You can view, create, edit and manage PDF documents.
  • You can convert PDFs to various file formats like HTML, TXT, DOC, EPUB, JPG, PNG, BMP images.
  • You can add digital signatures to the document.
  • You can add text, images to the PDF.
  • You can merge multiple DPF files into a single document.


  • Easy to work.
  • Completely secure.
  • Has sleek interface.
  • Completely safe.


Free version does not consist of advanced features of pro version PDFChef by Movavi. These features are accessible for free for 7 days’ trial only, which are given below:

  • Edit presentations
  • To view, create, edit and manage PDF documents.
  • To convert PDFs to various file formats like HTML, TXT, DOC, EPUB, JPG, PNG, BMP images.
  • To add digital signatures to the document.
  • To add text, images to the PDF.
  • To merge multiple DPF files into a single document.
  • To create new projects and combine files in different formats.
  • To convert PDF into DOC file, EPUB, TXT e-book format, JPEG, PNG image, HTML.
  • To convert DOC X, XLSX, PPTX to bitmap graphics into PDF format.
  • To make PDF from EPUB, DjVu e-book fie and helps you to read them on any device.
  • To convert many files into one PDF irrespective of formats of files while retaining the quality.
PDF XChangeEditor

PDF XChangeEditor
PDF XChangeEditor supports Windows XP or later versions and using this tool, you can view, create, edit PDF document.


  • Adding and placing the text is very easy.
  • You can annotate the PDF document.
  • You can add digital signatures to the PDF files.
  • You can create dynamic stamps.
  • You can create and edit PDF Forms which can be filled.
  • You can search PDF document using advanced OCR plug-in.
  • You can add notes, attach files, add strike through to words, highlight text, and record and attach audio.
  • You can split and merge PDF files.
  • OCR present thus making you easy to search document.


  • PDF you create will have watermark.
  • When creating PDF forms, it does not detect fields automatically.

PDFescape is an online PDF reader which helps you to view, edit and create PDF. It supports Windows.


  • You can create new PDF Forms which can be filled.
  • You can annotate your PDF documents
  • You can lock or unlock your PDF document by adding or removing passwords.
  • Available in English, French, German and Italian languages.
  • Does not add any logo, watermark or other tag to your file.
  • If you are PDFescape user then, PDFescape Premium including PDFescape Desktop app is available to you free for 7 days trial evaluation.


  1. Internet connection is required to perform actions.
  2. Advanced features are absent in free version as compared to pro version, like:
    • Merging multiple PDFs.
    • Convert PDF to text like Word and image formats like .jpg and .png.
    • Attaching files, extracting pages and compressing PDFs.
    • Password protection.
    • Adding page numbers, headers & footers and watermarks.
    • Adding electronic signatures and signing certificates.
    • Redact (permanently erase) content from a PDF.
PDF files inaccessible in all PDF readers?

If your PDF files are not accessible, in different PDF readers, it is possible that the file is corrupt. You need to repair it with a good PDF repair tool like Kernel for PDF Repair. It fixes PDF file issues and helps you open the PDF files in a few steps. You can access text, images, and other data of the PDF file after repairing it with Kernel for PDF Repair. Also, it supports PDF files created by all PDF creators.


We hope this blog proved helpful to you in finding and deciding the appropriate PDF reader best fitted to your requirement and need. Also, through this blog, we endeavored to bring forth the basic yet essential features of a good PDF reader one should be aware of while selecting one for self. Besides just reading, viewing, sharing etc. as discussed above in the blog, you may also need to have some knowledge about errors confronted during reading of PDF files. These are some common PDF file errors which vary from inaccessibility, inability in downloading, printing and editing etc. which can be combated using efficient, strong yet easy to use third party tool like, Kernel for PDF Repair, irrespective of the reasons for the errors. Kernel for PDF Repair can easily repair Adobe PDF files.

Kernel for PDF Repair