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Best PDF Reader tools

Best Windows PDF Reader Tools

Whether you're a student, a professional, or someone who frequently deals with PDFs, finding the best Windows PDF reader can make your life easier, boost your efficiency, and let you take control of your digital documents. 

In our digital age, where information is exchanged faster than ever, having the right PDF reader can be your gateway to seamless document management and productivity.

Whether you're a student, a professional, or someone who frequently deals with PDFs, finding the best Windows PDF reader can make your life easier. Get ready to streamline your document handling, boost your efficiency, and take control of your digital documents. 

Let's explore the top Windows PDF reader tools that can empower you to achieve more in the digital realm. 

11 Top Windows PDF Reader Tools

  1. Truly PDF
  2. Adobe Reader
  3. Small PDF
  4. PDF Extra by Mobisystems
  5. Foxit PDF Reader
  6. PDF XChange Editor
  7. Sumatra PDF
  8. Nitro Reader
  9. MuPDF
  10. Slim PDF
  11. Microsoft Edge

Benefits of Using Windows PDF Reader Tools

Using specialized PDF reader software designed for Windows can bring numerous benefits, making your digital document experience smoother and more efficient. Let's break down the advantages in simple terms: 

  1. Compatibility with Windows OS: When you use a Windows PDF reader tool, it's tailored to work seamlessly with your Windows operating system. Think of it like a perfectly fitted glove – it works without compatibility hiccups.
  2. Enhanced Document Viewing and Editing: These specialized PDF readers go beyond the basics. They provide a user-friendly interface that makes reading and editing PDFs a breeze.
    You won't have to struggle with clunky or limited features.
  3. Improved Productivity and Efficiency: Imagine having a tool that lets you read PDFs and offers extra functionalities. Take PDF Reader Pro, for example. It allows you to:
  • Create PDFs from scratch: You can do it easily if you need to make a new PDF document.
  • Merge Multiple PDFs: Combine several PDF files into one, which can be handy for keeping things organized.
  • Split PDFs: Need to break a large PDF into smaller parts? It's a piece of cake.
  • Insert and Extract Pages: You can take pages from one PDF and put them into another.
  • Compress PDFs: Reduce the file size of a PDF, which can help share or store files.
  • Convert to Other Formats: You can convert your PDF to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or various image formats.

Top Features to Look for

When looking for the right Windows PDF reader, knowing which features to keep an eye on is crucial. Let's simplify it and break down the essentials:

  1. User-Friendly Interface: Think of this as the "ease of use." A good PDF reader should have a simple and intuitive layout, making it a breeze to navigate through your documents.
  2. Annotation and Commenting Tools: If you're reading a PDF and want to highlight important parts or add notes, look for a PDF reader that allows annotations and comments. It's like having digital highlighters and sticky notes.
  3. Search and Indexing Capabilities: This is like having a superpower. A strong PDF reader can quickly find specific words or phrases within your PDFs. It's like having a built-in search engine for your documents.
  4. Security and Encryption Options: You want protection when dealing with sensitive documents. A good PDF reader should offer security features like password protection and encryption to keep your data safe.

Now, let's dive into the core features you should seek:

  • View and Edit PDFs: Of course, you want to be able to read your PDFs, but editing them is equally important. A reliable PDF reader allows you to make changes when needed.
  • Merge or Split PDFs: Sometimes, you have multiple PDFs that you want to combine or divide. A good reader should offer tools for both tasks.
  • Watermark or Annotate PDFs: It can be handy to add watermarks or annotations to your PDFs, especially for branding or providing extra information.
  • Convert to and from PDF: Versatility is key. Look for a PDF reader that converts various file types into PDFs and vice versa. It's like a file format chameleon.
  • Compress PDFs: Large PDFs can be a hassle to share. A PDF reader that can shrink their file size without compromising quality is a lifesaver.
  • Secure and Sign PDFs: Protect your documents with encryption and add digital signatures for authenticity.

Comparison of Leading Windows PDF Readers 

Here is a comparison of the top 11 best Windows PDF reader tools:

Truly PDF

Truly PDF

Truly PDF is a sleek and efficient PDF viewer designed to handle large documents seamlessly.

  • Effortless PDF Viewing: Truly PDF offers a hassle-free experience when opening large PDF documents, ensuring a smooth and glitch-free reading experience.
  • Conversion and Editing Ease: This tool acts like a magical transformer for PDFs, allowing users to convert PDFs into editable formats like Word or spreadsheets, make changes, and convert them back to PDF when done.
  • Annotation Toolkit: Truly PDF functions as your digital highlighter and sticky note combination, enabling users to underline, highlight, add notes, and draw on their PDFs for effective document management.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader: PDF viewer

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader: PDF viewer

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a robust PDF viewer that sets the standard for comprehensive document viewing. 

  • Comprehensive PDF Viewing: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is akin to a pair of specialized glasses for your computer screen. It offers a top-notch PDF viewing experience across various devices and operating systems.
  • Annotations and Forms: A virtual highlighter and notepad facilitate user-friendly annotation and form-filling capabilities, ensuring efficient collaboration and document completion.
  • Seamless Cloud Integration: This software seamlessly connects with popular cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, allowing users to conveniently store and access their PDFs in the cloud.


Small PDF .com

SmallPDF is a versatile web-based PDF solution offering convenience and flexibility. 

  • Web-Based Convenience: SmallPDF operates within web browsers, allowing users to work on PDFs from anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating the need for software installation.
  • Comprehensive Conversion: It excels in PDF conversion, supporting a wide range of file formats for flexibility in repurposing PDF content.
  • Basic Editing Tools: SmallPDF provides essential PDF editing functions, such as merging files, adding watermarks, and making minor text and image adjustments, ideal for customization.

PDFExtra by MobiSystems


PDFExtra by MobiSystems is a comprehensive PDF toolkit designed to meet diverse PDF needs on Windows platforms.

  • Viewing: Effortlessly view PDF documents with a user-friendly interface.
  • Editing: Make changes and modifications to PDF content for easy customization.
  • Annotation: Add highlights, comments, and drawings to collaborate effectively.

Foxit PDF Reader

Foxit pdf editor suite

Foxit PDF Reader is the go-to solution for users seeking simplicity and efficiency in handling PDFs.

  • User-Friendly Operation: Foxit PDF Reader is akin to a friendly librarian. Its straightforward interface makes PDF handling effortless, enabling users to open, read, and make notes on PDFs easily.
  • Annotate and Cloud Storage: Just like highlighting a book or jotting down notes, Foxit lets users underline, comment, and even modify text in PDFs. It also provides seamless integration with cloud storage for convenient file access.
  • Pro Version Benefits: The pro version offers advanced features, including form filling and enhanced editing, taking PDF capabilities to the next level.

PDF-XChange Editor

PDF-XChange Editor

PDF-XChange Editor is a versatile toolbox for users looking to wield powerful tools for PDF management. 

  • Versatile PDF Toolbox: PDF-XChange Editor functions as your comprehensive toolbox for working with PDFs, allowing users to mark up, annotate, and fill out forms with ease.
  • OCR Superpower: Its Optical Character Recognition (OCR) feature empowers users to transform scanned documents into searchable text, enhancing PDF usability.
  • Text Editing: This tool lets users make changes to the text in PDF documents, similar to using a digital eraser and pen for easy corrections and updates.

Sumatra PDF

Sumatra pdf reader interface

Sumatra PDF is the epitome of minimalistic efficiency in PDF viewing.

  • Lightweight and Open-Source: Sumatra PDF is a free and open-source PDF viewer tailored for Windows users, designed to be minimalistic and efficient regarding resource consumption.
  • Broad File Format Support: Besides PDFs, it handles formats like ePub and Mobi, catering to diverse reading needs.
  • Speed and Simplicity: Sumatra PDF excels in rapid document rendering and delivers a clutter-free reading experience focused on essential functions.

Nitro Reader

Nitro PDF

Nitro Reader is a feature-rich PDF solution tailored for professionals seeking advanced functionality. 

  • Versatile PDF Creation: Nitro Reader empowers users to effortlessly create PDFs from various formats, ideal for professional reports and documents.
  • Annotate and Collaborate: It offers annotation features for enhanced collaboration, allowing users to add comments, feedback, and highlights to PDFs.
  • Page Manipulation and Security: Nitro Reader enables the insertion and extraction of pages from PDF files and offers advanced security options, including password protection and encryption.



MuPDF is a cross-platform PDF viewer known for its speed and simplicity.

  • Cross-Platform Accessibility: MuPDF caters to a broad user base with compatibility across multiple platforms, ensuring seamless document access on various devices.
  • Swift Performance: Known for its exceptional speed in rendering PDFs, MuPDF offers a responsive and efficient reading experience focusing on simplicity.
  • Open-Source Foundation: Being open-source ensures continuous development and adherence to industry standards, guaranteeing reliability and up-to-date functionality.

Slim PDF

Slim PDF

Slim PDF is the perfect choice for users looking for a lightweight and efficient PDF viewer.

  • Compact and Lightweight: Slim PDF lives up to its name, being one of the smallest PDF readers available, ensuring minimal resource consumption for swift PDF opening.
  • Windows-Centric: Designed for Windows users, it seamlessly integrates with the operating system and provides a straightforward PDF reading experience.
  • Streamlined Viewing: This PDF viewer prioritizes simplicity, offering fundamental features for distraction-free PDF reading.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge seamlessly integrates built-in PDF reading capabilities within the Windows 10 web browser.

  • Integrated PDF Reading: Microsoft Edge, the default Windows 10 web browser, integrates built-in PDF reading capabilities, enabling users to open and view PDF files directly within the browser.
  • Annotations and Form Filling: Users can annotate PDFs with highlights, comments, and drawings, as well as fill out interactive PDF forms, streamlining tasks like applications and surveys.
  • Seamless Integration: Since Edge is integrated into Windows 10, it offers a seamless experience for users working with PDFs alongside web browsing or other tasks on their Windows devices.

How to Choose the Right Windows PDF Reader

Choosing the perfect Windows PDF reader can be like finding the right pair of shoes – it has to fit your needs and feel comfortable. Here's a simple guide to help you pick the one that suits you best:

  1. Assess Specific Requirements: Consider what you'll use it for. Do you need advanced editing tools, or is simple viewing enough? Consider the size of the PDFs you'll be handling. Some readers handle large files better than others. Check if you require specific features like annotation, text search, or conversion abilities.
  2. Budget Constraints: Decide if you want to invest in a paid PDF reader or prefer a free one. Paid versions often offer more advanced features, but excellent free options exist.
  3. Reading User Reviews and Expert Recommendations: Read what others are saying. User reviews give you real insights into a tool's performance. Look for expert recommendations from reputable sources or tech forums.

Remember, the "right" PDF reader varies from person to person. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be perfect for some, while others might prefer the simplicity of Sumatra PDF. 

The key is matching your needs and budget with a comfortable reader. So take your time, try a few out, and find the one that makes handling your PDFs a breeze.

PDF Installation and Setup

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Step 1: Download the PDF Reader Software:

  1. Visit the official website of the PDF reader tool you want to use.
  2. Look for the "Download" or "Get it now" button on the website.
  3. Click on the button to start the download.

Step 2: Run the Installer:

  1. Locate the downloaded setup file on your computer. It's usually in your "Downloads" folder. 
  2. Double-click the setup file to run it.
  3. If Windows asks for permission to make changes, click "Yes."

Step 3: Follow the Installation Wizard:

  1. The PDF reader's installation wizard will appear.
  2. Read and accept the terms and conditions if prompted.
  3. Choose the installation location (the default location is usually fine).
  4. Click "Next" or "Install" to begin the installation.

Step 4: Wait for Installation to Complete:

  1. The installer will copy files and set up the program. This may take a minute or two.

Step 5: Launch the PDF Reader:

  1. Once the installation is finished, you'll likely see an option to launch the program.
  2. Click "Finish" or launch the program manually from your desktop or Start menu.

Step 6: Initial Setup (if required):

  1. Some PDF readers may ask you to customize settings or create an account.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the initial setup.

You've successfully installed and set up your Windows PDF reader tool. You can now start opening, viewing, and working with PDF documents on your computer. It's a handy tool for managing your digital paperwork with ease.

Tips and Tricks for Efficient PDF Management

Let's dive into some tips and tricks to make your PDF management a breeze:

  1. Master Keyboard Shortcuts: Learning keyboard shortcuts can save you a lot of time. For instance, in many PDF readers, pressing "Ctrl + S" is a quick way to save a file, and "Ctrl + F" helps you find text within a document. Look for a list of keyboard shortcuts in your PDF reader's documentation or online guides.
  2. Customize Your Settings: PDF readers often allow you to customize settings to suit your preferences. For example, you can set the default zoom level, choose how links are opened, or change the appearance of text. Explore the settings or preferences menu to make your PDF reader work just how you want it to.
  3. Organize and Categorize Documents: Organizing your PDFs is key to efficiency. Create folders for different types of documents and give them clear, meaningful names. Many PDF readers let you add tags or labels to your documents, making finding what you need later even easier.
  4. Use Bookmarking and Highlighting: Most PDF readers allow you to bookmark pages and highlight text. Use these features to mark important sections in your documents for quick reference.
  5. Optimize for Mobile Use: If you use PDFs on mobile devices, explore mobile-friendly features like touch gestures and screen rotation options. Some PDF readers offer mobile apps for smoother reading on smartphones and tablets.
  6. Explore Cloud Integration: Many PDF readers offer cloud integration, allowing you to save and access your PDFs from cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive. This ensures your documents are accessible from anywhere and on any device.
  7. Stay Updated: Keep your PDF reader software up to date. Developers often release updates to improve performance security and add new features. Regularly checking for updates ensures you use the latest and most efficient version.

By incorporating these tips and tricks into your PDF management routine, you'll find yourself handling digital documents more efficiently and effectively, saving time and enhancing productivity.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right Windows PDF reader tool is essential for optimizing your digital document experience. Remember that the choice should align with your specific needs and preferences, whether for simple viewing, extensive editing, or seamless organization.

It's crucial to explore the diverse features and functionalities offered by different PDF readers to make an informed decision. Use user reviews and expert recommendations to narrow down your choices. 

Truly PDF stands out among the rest as a reliable PDF reader that enhances productivity and ensures a seamless and hassle-free journey through digital documents.

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