Today we do not think when installing Adobe Reader for reading PDF documents. But there are plenty of free and paid alternatives available to choose, ranging from super light weight, quickly starting applications to feature packed programs. Below we review four of the best free alternatives we could find to read, edit and annotate PDF files. Do comment with the application you use.
Sumatra PDF (Windows, Free)
Lightest of all, Sumatra PDF loads very quickly and has a very simple interface. It is an open-source portable application which can be carried anywhere. Not packed with any editing options or advanced features, it has its main focus on speed and not on extraneous capabilities. It just allows you to read PDFs and that too very quickly. It comes with keyboard shortcuts to make your experience more fast. This omits every feature that we perhaps never use. It also allows you to print PDF files and not only PDF, it also supports many other formats like ePub and Mobi formats for eBooks, CBZ and CBR formats for Comic Books and other miscellaneous formats like XPS and DjVu .
Nitro PDF Reader(Windows, Free/Pro:$119.99)
Nitro Reader has some unique features and has a ribbon interface like that of Microsoft Office 2007 and newer versions. With its QuickSign feature you can capture and apply your digital signatures to PDF documents instantly. It allows you to covert your PDF files to text and also extract images from PDF files. Microsoft Word, Text and other file formats can also be converted to PDF through Nitro PDF Reader. It also gives you in-application help which allows you to get through any problem you face at ease.
Foxit Reader (Windows/Linux, Free/Pro:$39.99)
Foxit is both, fast as well as feature packed application. It loads quickly and images and charts also render amazingly fast. It comes in two versions, free and Pro, both of which allows you to annotate text, insert links, graphics and drawings but the free version adds a Foxit branding on each page you annotate, but the Pro version removes the stamp. It also is available as a portable application. One of its unique feature is that it lets you save your progress when filling out PDF forms and you can come back and finish it any time in the future. Foxit was one of the first PDF readers that became popular is still the best option for many. One thing annoying is while installing it asks to install a toolbar and to change your default web browser’s home page. It also allows you to share your files on social networking sites through the application itself.
Adobe Reader (Windows/Mac/Linux, Free/Pro:$299)
It is the best, but not the fastest and takes much more time to load, than applications shared above. But it is the standard PDF reader and the only one that opens and handles every kind of PDF file. Above applications works great with almost every file but this is the last option if you have a file which is not working in your default PDF application. There will be some occasions when you will have to run Adobe Reader because your favorite application is not able to run the complex PDF file. Adobe Acrobat is itself offered by the company that created PDF. The advanced features of creating and merging PDFs, and converting it to other formats are only available in the Acrobat Standard that costs you $299.These were the best free options to read and edit PDF files we could find. Do tell us which one you like in the Comments section below.