List of Adobe alternative, free PDF Readers for Windows 7 / 8

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 for document exchange. Formerly a proprietary format, PDF was officially released as an open standard on July 1, 2008.


Alternative free PDF Readers

While the Adobe PDF Reader is widely used, there are other freeware alternatives to Adobe Reader too, that you may like to consider, for your Windows operating system:

Sumatra is a slim, free, open-source PDF viewer for Windows. Portable out of the box. Sumatra has a minimalistic design. Simplicity has a higher priority than a lot of features. It’s small and starts up very fast. It’s designed for portable use: only one file, so you can run it from external USB drive. Doesn’t write to registry. It’s the  one I currently use on my Windows 7!

Primo PDF lets you create PDF files faster with the only free PDF creator to support one-click, drag-and-drop PDF creation. Also lets you convert to PDF from any file you can print, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint formats.

CutePDF Writer is the free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a “printer subsystem”. This enables virtually any Windows applications to create professional quality PDF documents – with just a push of a button! FREE for commercial and non-commercial use! No watermarks!  No Popup Web Ads!

PDF ReDirect is a fast, free, and easy-to-use PDF creator. Features include encryption, full merging and PDF preview. Available in English, Deutsch, Portugues, Czech, Espanol, Francais, Norwegian, Nederlands, and Italiano.

Evince Evince is a document viewer for multiple document formats. Supports pdf too.

Foxit is a No-bloat PDF Reader. Small download, fast, accurate rendering. If option unchecked, installs Ask toolbar, etc.

MuPDF is a lightweight PDF viewer and toolkit written in portable C. MuPDF has a small footprint. A binary that includes the standard Roman fonts is only one megabyte.

Okular is a universal document viewer based on KPDF for KDE 4.

Universal Viewer is an advanced file viewer with a wide range of formats supported including pdf.

Yap, formerly GPSText, is a PostScript/PDF previewer and front end to the a2ps text formatting tool. Harness the full power of a2ps to beautifully format source code (C, Objective C, Scheme, Perl, etc.) and many other kinds of text files. PostScript/PDF rendering is done using GPL GhostScript.

You might also find this post on The Underdogs In Adobe vs. Foxit PDF World interesting – it also lists a couple of more PDF Viewers.

Comments? Observations? Know of any more freeware PDF readers? Pls do share the freeware & its link!

Posted by on , in Category Downloads with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software, be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware & read the entire post & the comments first.
  • Tu
  • blue

    You missed the best of the lot, STDU Viewer

  • Only

    I use PDF-X Change Viewer and I love it, Adobe Reader, Sumatra and Foxit ain’t to the level.

  • Wojciech

    PDF Split and Merge
    A free open source tool to split and merge pdf documents

  • Stephen

    I use PDF-XChange viewer. I use it to fill in forms and mark up files.

    PDFill offers free tools to split, merge, rearrange, etc. PDF files. It also includes a virtual printer for PDF and other image formats.

  • Clara
  • Heyricardo

    Definitely agreed..PDF-XChange rules..

  • Paul

    Thanks blue, i have just got that STDUviewer, 2Mb download and does the job. I like it better than foxit, which opened slow in windows 7 and wouldn’t display the pdf until i clicked on the page where the pdf was supposed to be. And i don’t like bundled with it even though you can uncheck it at install. If i want an ask toolbar i’ll download one, not that i would though.

  • Corrine

    Here’s another: (They offer a licensed version as well.)

  • Sandeep Kumar

    Hi, I want to ask why the application are slow when opened in native program e.g .pdf file are slow in Nitro as compared to Adobe.
    Microsoft office files are also slow when opened with other native program.

  • Caleb
  • Lisa Foster

    PDF X-Change Viewer rocks!! Why haven’t you mentioned about it?

  • Lukas Fenz

    Yes, PDF-XChange Viewer is the best alternative to Adobe. I can use all necessary features for free for read/edit pdfs (OCR include) and comes in portable version too.

  • Creme

    Nuance PDF Reader is a superb free viewer also. … Anything to escape the Adobe product vulnerabilties and need for frequent patching.

  • Sach28

    PDF-XChange is my choice. I found it’s the best not only for view but also for edit pdfs.

  • iiah

    I use mostly haihaisoft pdf reader. very light, minimalistic, not a lot options, but most files are ok and its FAST. only two issues are little troublesome- occasionally it bothers with a feedback popup- less than once a month. and I cant use fillable forms, for those I use another software. but adobe and foxit- never again!

  • Rodolfo

    I used Adobe PDF Reader and recommend a good PDF reader.
    thanks for the aportacion as it is a very good list of PDF readers.

  • swathi

    pdf security software, try it..

  • Wulf Nesthead

    What the devil…
    “Foxit is a No-bloat PDF Reader.”
    Umm, no it’s not.

  • Wulf Nesthead

    Oo, so it’s like that, is it?
    I’ll keep my findings to myself. Say hi to your capitalist masters.

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