PDF is one of the most important formats for storing digital documents in the technology industry. As with any format, it needs applications that can work with it, and there’s no shortage of options, as you’ll see in this post where we highlight some of the best free PDF readers in 2023 for Windows and other platforms.
You should know that PDF was originally developed by Adobe as a document format and later approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an open standard. It has since grown in popularity thanks to advanced features such as the ability to include any combination of text, multimedia, or hyperlinks; cross-platform support, because its structure or appearance does not change when used on fuzzy systems (Windows, Mac, Linux…) or security features such as the ability to encrypt and digitally sign.
SwifDoo PDF is a type of software that allows you not only to view, but also print, sign and annotate PDF files. It is a famous offline PDF Reader. With this program you can do more than just open and view PDF text editor files. Editing PDF documents is easy using its full suite of editor tools.
SwifDoo provides a wide range of solutions (free and commercial) capable of working with PDF files, although it should be noted that handling them differs significantly from simply reading the contents on the ability to create, edit and convert them to and from other formats.
In addition to the basic ones, the program offers other advanced features such as encryption, OCR and protection.
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
Start with the app from the company that originally developed the format. Transformed into a standard, it is characterized by a clear and elegant interface and the highest performance.
Generally speaking, if PDF doesn’t work with Acrobat, it won’t work with any of the alternatives. In addition to reading, you’ll find many advanced options for editing, merging, exporting, and signing documents in the tools tab, but they won’t work unless you purchase a commercial license.
Available on Adobe’s website in free and commercial PRO versions with free trial. It also offers extensions for use in browsers such as Chrome.
It was one of the first alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader and its main interface contains many editing tabs covering various advanced options, text markup, typewriter options, form support, digital signatures and much more.
Unfortunately, some of the more advanced options will be grayed out because they are only available with a paid commercial license. However, it may be the free reader with the most features and settings. In addition to Windows, it supports the other major platforms, Linux, Mac and mobile systems, in a very complete offer that also includes browser add-ons.
Smallpdf is a well-known online PDF editor as well as viewer. This website interface is simple and beautiful. The simplified interface is designed to make document viewing and editing easier for anyone. In addition to viewing a PDF for free, you can further modify the PDF file by adding different shapes and drawings.
If you use the Microsoft Office collaboration suite, you’ll feel right at home because its interface is almost an exact copy with a ribbon in front of it. It has everything you might need in an app of this kind, plus advanced features for forms or signing documents with your digital identity.
You can also add notes, extract images, or convert a PDF to a plain text document. Although Nitro PDF Reader is free, you cannot download this version directly. You need to download the trial version. After the trial period, you will lose many options, although there are other basic ones that you can still use for free.
The main web browsers on the market, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge, have built-in support for the PDF format and it is a good way to view these types of documents due to its speed and low resource consumption.
Moreover, they work on any platform, be it Linux, Mac or mobile. On the other hand, not all PDF files are compatible, and they do not have access to any of the editing features and/or advanced features mentioned in the previous dedicated applications.
Chrome’s PDF interface is very similar, while Firefox’s PDF support is equally good. The truth is that for most consumers, web browsers can compete (in read-only mode) with free PDF viewers.
If you’re looking for something different, any of the apps listed above will do. If you need to create these types of documents, edit them, combine them, export them, and use other advanced features, you will need to rely on an advanced PDF editor such as SwifDoo PDF.