Software

Five free Adobe Reader replacement PDF viewers

Evince 2

Evince feature-list is short, but useful: View PDFs, view thumbnails, search, view document indexes, print documents, and encrypted document viewing. What more do you need from a PDF viewer? How about speed? Evince is one of the fastest viewers you'll find on the market.

Image credit to Jack Wallen for TechRepublic.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

47 comments
Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra

I use PDF-XChange Viewer, I have tried Adobe, Nitro, Foxit and a few other PDF readers, but PDF-XChange Viewer is by far the best. It allows you to open PDF files that other PDF readers can't open for some reason. I was so pleased with the free version that I purchased the "Professional Edition". It's money well spent. This from the software publisher's website: The No.1 rated BEST PDF Reader - as voted by Life Hacker Readers by a 2-1 margin for the 2nd year in a row! Those wishing to View/Modify or perform simple editing and even OCR Image based PDF files on their Windows PC's now have a FREE pdf reader alternative to the Adobe Reader! The PDF-XChange Viewer is smaller, faster and more feature rich than any other FREE PDF Reader/ PDF Viewer/ PDF Editor available. This free pdf viewer download also allows users to try the extended functionality offered by the PDF-XChange Viewer 'PRO' in evaluation mode - for free. No PDF reader or Viewer offers more features than PDF-XChange - or does so without compromising performance and quality, checkout the feature list below and save $100's in unnecessary expenditure on your PDF software today. Also included are the very powerful PDF-XChange Shell Extensions and iFilter. http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-viewer

barryhound38355
barryhound38355

I just will never like ant adobe product they are all a pain to use correctly

swampwiz
swampwiz

Foxit is nice, but there seems to be one aggravating feature - if there is more than 1 file open, I get an advertizement on the document tab bar. Is there anyway to get rid of this?

ccampbell12345
ccampbell12345

PDF-Xchange viewer by Tracker software is great for annotations, particularly the dimension tool.

rsbvn
rsbvn

Are there any free PDF writer / editor ?

Leegmoser
Leegmoser

Before the introduction of Adobe Audience X, there were a number of explanations to use a alternative for Adobe's PDF reader—it was slowly to fill and vulnerable. This motivated a bungalow market of different PDF audiences such as Foxit Audience and Nuance PDF Audience. While Foxit was actually a tad quicker in my examining than Adobe Audience, the real reason to get this alternative is if your sources are seriously restricted, as it requires up significantly less storage and hard drive space than the Adobe choice. To that, Foxit contributes a attractive interface, the capability to discuss PDFs straight to Facebook or myspace or Tweets, and a number of papers markup resources.

333239
333239

I used Foxit for many years as the Adobe one was so slow to load. However recently Adobe has got much faster to load and I noticed some text quality issues on Foxit, especially when printing out so now I'm back on Adobe.

Leegmoser
Leegmoser

PDF - exchange audience has many functions, plenty quick, and performs well.

dkiehl777
dkiehl777

Over the years, I've used Nitro and Sumatra, and although good alternatives to Adobe (I don't even have that installed on my PCs), the best alternative I've found is PDF-XChange Viewer. It provides functionality to add comments, highlight text, add and format text boxes, and use the Typewriter function to complete PDF forms. It also includes a "Snapshot Tool" that lets you select a portion of, or an entire page, and then paste into another program, i.e. Word. I've run the program under Vista and Win7, on a variety of PCs, and it has always worked like a champ. I recommend it to my family, friends, and colleagues as a much better, quicker, and more robust alternative to Adobe. And you just can't beat the price ... FREE.

bcline3078
bcline3078

Ditto "I hate clicking 10 times to read techrepublic articles" Also left out my favorite on Windows: Tracker Software's PDF-XChange.

JR_K
JR_K

Im missing the reading experience with this layout. Blog layout did good to read completely.

esennett@att.net
esennett@att.net

Seems to me, that the term "free", when used to describe Foxit is not entirely true. I do believe that there is a yearly fee (not free) required to get updates.You don't pay the fee...you don't get updates! This fee is mention in section 5 of Foxit reader terms. Of course, this fee may be minimal compared to the really great features of this reader, but all in all I don't really see that one should use the word "Free" without adding a side note that fees are required for updates.

jess_wundring
jess_wundring

I'll second Caladan's preference. There's a free version of Nitro that is feature rich and it rocks. And the premium version is way more capable and better in almost every way than Acrobat Pro...

gpachello
gpachello

I use XPDF on my FreeBSD laptop.

techrepublic
techrepublic

I have one ebill I get from my power company that I pay with a secure form in the PDF, and Foxit doesn't support it, so I have to open it in Acrobat Reader. Although, that same bill, I can't print from Acrobat, so I have to print it from Foxit. Foxit for everything else.

SysAdminII
SysAdminII

I just wish Foxit would create a 64 bit version of the Reader so I could use it on Debian Squeeze.

finny
finny

Ok, I see the links now, but only after a second loading. I don't know why. tom

finny
finny

Where are the links? Where are the links? Where are the links. tom

Leegmoser
Leegmoser

The scariest thing about the adobe audience is that it needs a throwing upgrade before each use.

halfey
halfey

With the newer Firefox comes with built-in PDF viewer I've become less relying on other non-Adobe PDF viewers. After all Firefox is the most used software in my PC. However if I had to name one standalone PDF viewer of my choice I'd say Nitro or PDF-XChange (I have Nitro installed for additional features not found in the Firefox's built-in viewer). I used to use Foxit and Sumatra but after some time I got disappointed with them.

rkegel
rkegel

Nitro seems to be left out a lot. You'd think it was a bad product, but it isn't. I use to use Foxit, but found Nitro much nicer. Now I'm using Windows 8 so I don't need a PDF reader because one if built in.

ejmfoley
ejmfoley

PDF - XChange viewer has many features, loads fast, and works well.

Caladan607
Caladan607

I use Nitro as I can add text to forms and add a digital signature. Adobe Reader is indeed bulky, clumsy, unreliable and Adobe should be embarrassed to even put it on the market. Their Flash player is equally weak and disappointing.

mtoub
mtoub

I realize you are doing this to increase your hits, but it's really annoying.

michael.kregel
michael.kregel

I agree that Adobe reader is a pain....but why is it so bulky and slow? What is Adobe putting in it that we would be missing by switching to a different application?

ccampbell12345
ccampbell12345

LO Writer does a pretty good job at creating PDFs, including PDF forms. Editing - not so much. Scribus has some nice features if you need real power (javascript, etc). PDF-Mod works well to add/remove pages, rotate pages, or edit metadata, but AFAIK it only works on Linux.

wolsonjr
wolsonjr

you don't like 'evince'? It's my main reader.

kneff
kneff

I have been using this app for about 2 years now. Great app!! download it from tracker-software.com

mrpekarik
mrpekarik

I too like PDF X-Change. I've been using it for several years and have recommended it to my customers that are experiencing issues with Adobe Reader X.

ibmtech
ibmtech

I find this program suits my needs to a Tee. Fast loading and as many features as I require, such as the ability to fill in forms, typrewriter tool etc. Program also has fast search built in.

molly_dog
molly_dog

Nitro does everything I need PDF for, especially editing, converting from excel/word, etc., and filling out forms. It's extremely fast, robust, has great support and it's FREE!

Rob C
Rob C

Have you tried PDF Exchange Viewer (which I use ) ? Can you tell me why Nitro is better ?

kj_easy
kj_easy

"This photo gallery is also available as a post in the Five Apps Blog". If you click this link one time, you can read the whole article without any more clicks.

MWatch
MWatch

This entire "article" could have been wrapped up in 5 very short lines by listing the product names and the platform. Nothing else of importance or interest was provided.

jwronski
jwronski

I hate it too, and I hate trying to find the "This photo gallery is also available as a post in the xyz blog" link.

Bob in upstate NY
Bob in upstate NY

It's not just ten clicks. It's adjusting the window size and text size, and waiting for pages to load. I am a moderate speed reader. But not when reading these silly click-heavy "slide shows."

catchacold
catchacold

Super annoying!!!!!!!!! I never read there articles unless its something I am I really interested in. So, in fact it is lower the hits.

GSG
GSG moderator

If you'll read the first line below the first slide, you'll see a comment that this is available as a post and it gives a hyperlink to the article. When they do that, the article many times gives a link back to the slide show.

swampwiz
swampwiz

Look, if I have to buy one, that defeats the purpose of getting the software for free!

wolsonjr
wolsonjr

although they have provided the link in the past, this one has no link

lunchbeast
lunchbeast

Then put the article here and give people a link to that stinking carousel if they're all that mouse-happy.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

The only way to get rid of that ad is to buy the license. Believe me, I know.

GSG
GSG moderator

I clicked on it when I created my post several days ago and clicked on it again. Just click on "5 Apps Blog" that's in Blue.

kj_easy
kj_easy

If you had read the first lines of the first page of this article, instead of musing, you could have found what you desire just one mouse click away.