8 Best PDF Readers for Windows/Mac

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PDFs are everywhere. You will meet PDF format in various situations. If you just need to read a PDF file occasionally, a web browser can satisfy your basic needs. However, the truth is that you may need to do anything more advanced than that. For example, annotation, digital signature, editing, merging PDF files require you to have a more dedicated PDF reader.

I looked around the internet and finally I have found the best and the most popular 8 PDF Readers for Windows/Mac that I'm going to share with you today in this post. It will help you decide which one suits you best.

See also: 5 Best PDF Readers for Android ; 7 Best PDF Readers for iPad/iPhone.

best pdf reader

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1. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (Windows/Mac)

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is the world's leading PDF reader, which is possibly the most powerful program on this list. It is a totally free PDF reader. Although Adobe Reader DC is not the most lightweight tool for download, yet this software does a lot of things well, which is designed not only for viewing PDF files, but also for editing and managing PDFs.

adobe reader DC

Available for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

Free Download Adobe Acrobat Reader DC


1. Easy to highlight text, add notes with all the annotation tools.

2. Multi-functional.

2. Works with Cloud storage services including Dropbox, OneDrive and Box.

3. Handles opening multiple files at once.


1. A large PDF document opens a little slower.

2. Sometimes it crashes especially when opening large files.

2. Foxit Reader (Windows/Mac)

Foxit Reader, just like Adobe, is a globally recognized name brand in the industry of PDF reader software. It's a small, fast and feature-rich PDF reader, allowing you to create, view, annotate, form fill and sign PDF files. It is an advanced, free PDF reader with all of the necessary features. This is also a great choice when you are looking for a PDF reader for your computer.

foxit reader

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux

Free Download Foxit Reader


Works with some leading storage services--Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and SharePoint.

Lightweight download.


Has some ads.

Some features require installing extensions.

3. Nitro Reader (Windows)

Nitro reader

Aside from Adobe Acrobat DC and Foxit Reader, Nitro Reader is another well-known brand name in the industry of office productivity software. If you want a free PDF reader that strikes a perfect balance between usability and multi-functions, try Nitro Reader.

Available for: Windows

Free Download Nitro Reader


1. Offers plenty of annotation tools like adding comments, highlighting, underlining.

2. Supports touchscreen mode.

3. Supports converting between PDF and other document formats.

4. QuickSign makes your files safe and secure.


1. Some features are only available for the paid Pro Version.

4. PDF-XChange Editor (Windows)

PDF-XChange Viewer has been discontinued and replaced by PDF-XChange Editor, which now includes all the features of the Viewer and much more. The biggest advantage of this PDF reader is that the annotation is super convenient. And if you need to create, edit, and share PDFs, PDF-XChange Editor could be the best PDF reader for you.

pdf X-change

Available for: Windows

Free Download PDF-XChange Editor


1. Lightweight and easy-to-use.

2. Provides many free features including text editing, OCR, annotations and markup tools.

3. Works with third-party storage servers like Google Drive & SharePoint.


1. Some features like add/reorder/remove pages, digital signing are only available in the paid version.

5. Sumatra PDF (Windows)

Sumatra PDF is a free open-source PDF reader for Windows. It not only supports opening PDF, but also supports ebook (ePub, Mobi), XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR). It is small in size, and very easy to use. If you just need to read PDF files for work, consider using Sumatra PDF.

Sumatra PDF Reader

Available for: Windows

Free Download Sumatra PDF


1. Powerful, small (no more than 5 MB), portable, and starts up very fast.

2. Supports lots of file formats.

3. Provides a portable version that can be run from a USB drive and doesn't write to the registry.


1. Lacks some advanced features like annotation, document signing and form-filling.

6. Skim (Mac)

Skim is a free open-source PDF reader and note-taker for MacOS. It was originally designed to help academics read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but it has improved a lot and now it's great for viewing any PDF file on your Mac. It's a small PDF reader, but powerful enough to let you highlight, taking notes, exporting notes, and taking snapshots.

Skim pdf editor's features

Available for: Mac

Free Download Skim


1. It's easy to view all your notes and highlights.

2. Supports Exporting notes as text.

3. Support for Apple Remote Control.

4. Integration with BibDesk and other third-party applications.


1. The software hasn't been updated since 2017.

7. PDF Expert (Mac)

PDF Expert is a fast, robust and beautiful PDF reader and editor. It allows you to read, annotate and even edit PDF files. With the editing function, you can change text and images, fill forms and sign contracts like never before.

PDF Expert

Available for: Mac, iOS

Free Download PDF Expert


1. Fast and easy-to-use.

2. Powerful for viewing, annotating and editing PDF files.

2. The fast search function allows you to find contents across multiple PDF files.

3. You can rearrange pages of your files, delete some sections, and add new blank pages to PDF documents.


1. Some features are only for the licensed version. (The lifetime license costs $79.99)

8. Preview (Mac)

Preview is the pre-installed PDF reader on every Mac computer. It allows you to view, annotate, print, and share PDF files. Besides PDF, it can still open files in PNG, PPT, GIF, JPEG, BMP and a host of other formats. Although it doesn't have so many functions as other PDF readers mentioned above, Preview can be your choice if you don't want to waste time downloading any tool online.


Available for: Mac


1. Pre-installed and totally free.

2. Supports viewing images besides PDF.


1. Lacks some advanced features like editing.


loves technology & reading very much. She seeks the methods to enjoy eBooks and audiobooks more freely and wants to share everything new she has got with you.

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