The Best PDF Readers

To fully benefit from all the forms available here, you need a decent PDF reader. By default, Windows opens these files with Microsoft Edge web browser, and OS X does with its Preview utility. Both let you view files – and, basically, that’s it.

To enjoy the entire array of features PDF format supports, you need a third-party reader. Here is the list of the PDF-reading apps, both paid and free, we consider the best. Any of these lets you view and read files, but there are also more extras.

PDFLiner

If you got used to opening PDF files in your browser, you can do it via online editors like PDFLiner. You only need to drag the file onto the marked area (or select it with your file browser) and wait until it’s uploaded and rendered.

Features:
  • PDF filling and signing
  • Text editing
  • Support for text, Word, and PowerPoint files
  • Quick Fill menu if you’re here for filling only
Pros
✔️ Available online
✔️ Great for filling and signing
✔️ Lots of forms available on the official site
Cons
❌ Free trial is time-limited
❌ Offline editors are richer in features
❌ Drag’n’drop feature sometimes fails

Acrobat Reader

The most popular reader is the original one by Adobe, the company that introduced PDF as a versatile document format. It’s completely free unless you want more with a Creative Cloud subscription.

Features:
  • Native support for reading and annotating
  • Full-fledged editor
  • 10 GB cloud storage
  • Cross-platform syncing
Pros
✔️ The most native support
✔️ Free to use
✔️ Cross-platform versions that can be synced
Cons
❌ Takes a lot of space
❌ Requires strong performance
❌ Advanced features are still paid

PDFElement

One of the best alternative PDF readers is said to be simpler than Acrobat. With an advanced text layer editor, image resizer, a built-in file converter, and an OCR utility, it can save a lot of time. It’s subscription-based, with a free trial period, so if you want a free or a single-payment piece, you better search elsewhere.

Features:
  • Simple if you only use one
  • Full-fledged editor
  • 10 GB cloud storage
  • Cross-platform syncing
Pros
✔️ Easy to use
✔️ File converter built-in
✔️ Rich filling, commenting, and signing functionality
✔️ Advanced privacy and security features
Cons
❌ Takes a lot of space
❌ Requires strong performance
❌ Advanced features are still paid

Sejda

It’s yet another online editor that operates within your browser as you upload PDF files into it. The great thing about Sejda is that it has easy special menus for the most popular operations you may need to perform.

Features:
  • Easy access to single operations
  • Large files support
  • Fill and sign easily
  • Cross-platform syncing
Compressing a document? Filling and signing it? Merging multiple documents or splitting a single one? General editing? There are menus for that.
Pros
✔️ Easy to make the simplest operations
✔️ Can process large files
✔️ Rather an advanced online editor
✔️ File converter
Cons
❌ Subscription-based
❌ No desktop client
❌ Not the best for complex editing

PDF Filler

This service is meant as the easiest online editor for PDF files. The special thing about it is that it tends to integrate as many side services as it can around it. The service pays special attention to security and privacy, as well as to copyright protection with watermarks, branding features, and so on.

Features:

  • Cloud drives integration
  • Rich editor
  • Integration with Xero, Slack, and other teamwork environments
  • Cross-platform syncing
Pros
✔️ Easy to make the simplest operations
✔️ Home and business plans
✔️ Cloud storage services supported
✔️ Various pricing options
Cons
❌ Subscription-based
❌ No desktop client
❌ Not the best for complex editing

PDF Escape

This free editor is available as both a Windows application and a cloud-based service. Differences are not crucial, except that files over 10 MB or 100 pages are not supported by the web version. If you only work with lightweight document forms, this is a perfect option. If these are large, though, you may have to find something else.

Features:
  • Text editing, annotating, page operations
  • Lightweight desktop client
  • Online version for smaller files
  • Premium desktop editor for an acceptable price
Pros
✔️ Easy to make the simplest operations
✔️ Various pricing options
✔️ Cloud storage services supported
✔️ Online version always free
✔️ Great performance
Cons
❌ The free desktop version is just a viewer
❌Online version supports files up to 10 MB only
❌ Not the best for complex editing

Dochub

If you need to sign or edit PDF documents rarely, this one is what you need. With it, you can sign up to 5 documents and request up to 3 signs monthly for free. In addition, it’s a functional web-based editor. Instead of a full-fledged desktop application, Dochub offers you a free extension for Google Chrome (and other Chromium-based browsers).

Features:
  • Rich PDF editor online
  • Signing and sign requesting
  • Rich forms and templates library
  • Cloud storage for your documents
  • Chrome extension
  • Fax features (for extra price)
Pros
✔️ Offers some free signatures and requests
✔️ Easily loads
✔️ Built-in form publishing feature
✔️ Reasonable pricing
Cons
❌ No mobile application
❌The number of signs and requests is limited when free

DocFly

It’s another online PDF editor that lets you edit rather large files for free, even without registration. If you use it rarely, your limited number of export credits will not be an obstacle. Otherwise, you better opt for a subscription.
Features:
  • Rather functional editor
  • Form creator
  • Security features like passwords and encryption
  • Cloud storage for your files
Pros
✔️ Offers some free signatures and requests
✔️ Easily loads
✔️ Built-in form publishing feature
✔️ Reasonable pricing
Cons
❌ No mobile application
❌The number of signs and requests is limited when free

PDF Expert

This application is a decent alternative to Acrobat client – it means, it’s a standalone desktop editor for PDF, with an interface as elaborate and performance as high as Apple users always require.

Features:
  • A full-fledged desktop client for reading, editing, filling out, and creating forms
  • Intuitive interface
  • High-quality rendering
  • Great design for both Mac and iPad/iPhone
Pros
✔️ Performs better than Acrobat
✔️ Cloud syncing
✔️ Seamless switching across devices
Cons
❌ It’s for Mac and iOS only
❌ You need to buy the license for at least 3 Macs

FormSwift

FormSwift is a web service for creating and editing PDF’s. This is a perfect tool if you need to create a typical PDF document for a frequent purpose. No need to waste time for creating them from scratch. This time-saving feature, though, is priced rather high.

Features:
  • A powerful online editor for PDF files
  • Hundreds of sorted templates
  • You can download templates or edit them with a step-by-step wizard
  • Electronic signatures supported
Pros
✔️ All the necessary tools available
✔️ Lots of forms and templates
✔️ No registration required for a single editing
Cons
❌ Functioning not guaranteed on mobile devices
❌ The pricing is rather high

Please, Drop Favorites!

In the comments, we mean. If you name which of your services you consider the best, or, on the contrary, the ones that disappointed you and for what reasons, we’ll be grateful. Let’s find which of these is the best for your purpose!
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