Best alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader to read and open PDFs

PDF reader
Acrobat Reader and the Portable Document Format” (known as PDF) have been a blessing for Internet communications. Thanks to this file format it was possible to share documents, preserving the formatting and modification of the same, regardless of the word processing software that was used to create it. Over time, the PDF format has become a worldwide standard for disseminating documents, both in the workplace and company, and in the home and school.Adobe still allows now to download Adobe Acrobat Reader as a PDF reader program, although over time other free programs have appeared that can read this document format even without the software developed by Adobe.

In the guide that follows we will show you in detail le alternative ad Acrobat Reader, so you can read PDF files without having to download the Adobe program, thus keeping the system clean and fast, especially if the computer has more than 4 years on its shoulders and not too much RAM.

READ ALSO -> How to edit and fill out PDFs from Android and iPhone

1) Browser web

Modern web browsers can read PDF files without any software, thus making the download of Adobe Acrobat Reader completely unnecessary. The best browsers we can use for reading PDFs are Microsoft Edge (built into Windows 11 and Windows 10) and Google Chrome, which can also be installed on other operating systems such as macOS and Linux.

After downloading a PDF with one of the browsers mentioned, click on the file to open it with the default browser; if the PDF file is not opened with the browser, right-click on it, select Property, click on the button Change next to the item Open with and select one of the browsers compatible with the PDF format, so as to open all future documents with the browser.

To learn more we can also read our guide on how to use google chrome to open pdfs. <br />

2) LibreOffice Draw

If we are looking for a complete program to open and edit PDFs, we recommend that you download LibreOffice, the open source office suite alternative to Microsoft Office and available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

The suite program that we can associate with PDF files is LibreOffice Draw, that is the program dedicated to vector graphics. By opening PDF files with Draw we will be able to both read the content of each PDF page and edit writings, images and graphics, so as to be able to save a new edited PDF.

To discover other tools dedicated to editing PDFs, we recommend reading our guide on how to edit PDF files (free programs and sites).

3) PDF24 Creator

If we are looking for a valid alternative to the paid version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (which can also modify documents) the best suite is PDF24 Creator, available from the official website.

Inside this suite we will find a simple PDF viewer but also a advanced PDF editor flanked by various quick work tools to compress, cut, merge, add, remove any element from PDFs, thus being able to work on PDFs without having to spend a penny. The PDF24 tools are also accessible online without installation, using the web apps created for the occasion.

4) Nitro PDF Reader

Those looking for a simple PDF reader to view documents can also point to Nitro PDF Reader, simple and free software downloadable from the dedicated site.

This reader presents all the elements seen also on Adobe Acrobat Reader, thus offering a valid alternative for mark, highlight, print and add signature to PDFs, using a very simple graphical interface that can run smoothly even on slower computers.

On this program we can also read our guide Nitro PDF Reader: program to read, modify and create pdf files.

Other programs for reading PDFs

In addition to the programs seen above, we can download and use many other valid software to read PDFs, so as not to always have to depend on the software released by Adobe.

1) Sumatra PDF it is the most recommended as it is also the lightest. This PDF reader is portable, does not need to be installed but works right away and is open source, ad-free and free to use.

2) Foxit Reader it is very light software similar to Adobe Reader and has many of the same features. You can add notes, zoom in, search text, view the document without images, and more.

3) SlimPDF is a small 1.4 MB software that allows you to read PDF documents quickly, with buttons for print, zoom and rotation. Very basic, maybe a little less good than Sumatra but still a comfortable better choice than the heavy Adobe player.

4) PDF-Xchange Viewer is a more powerful software and without add-ons of advertising bars. Overall, the download has the size of 17.9 MB while after you install it weighs about 25 MB. There are several options for improving or decreasing the visual quality of a document and images. The most important function is that of enter text and fill out forms of PDF documents.

5) Perfect PDF Reader for Windows 11 and Windows 10 is a great program for those who want to install everything from the Microsoft Store without downloading anything from the web. If you choose this reader to open pdf files then remember to deselect everything except the Reader during the installation procedure. The interface this time is reminiscent of Office 2007, indeed it is practically identical in graphics with the icon on the top left and the menu with the mixed items.

6) Cool PDF Reader it is small, very light, portable and fast, it works without installation, it does nothing but read the pdf files by opening them in a moment as if you were surfing the internet. The only options are the zoom to zoom in or out and the buttons to change pages forward and back.

7) For Linux and Ubuntu instead the best PDF reader is Evince, already integrated in the system and convenient to use to read any PDF file.


With the programs seen above we will be able to read and open PDF files even without using Adobe Acrobat Reader, using in most cases much lighter programs, often already integrated into the system or small enough to boot even on computers with low RAM memory.

We also remind you that Google Docs allows you to open PDFs directly using the internet browser, taking advantage of this possibility even when we open the PDFs directly into the mail attachments received via GMail (which then opens PDFs on its own).


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