Best PDF Viewer Options in 2022

Updated February 17, 2022

PDF documents have become a standard file type in today's workplace. They are often used for projects, presentations, and reports. Knowing which type of Adobe Acrobat PDF file you are working with is essential in order to be able to view it correctly. There are two PDF file formats: text-based and image-based. Text-based Adobe Acrobat PDF files have text that can be edited and viewed on any computer with a PDF reader. Image-based PDFs have images that cannot be edited or viewed on computers if the correct software is not installed.

There are many different PDF viewer apps we can use to view PDFs. But which is the best? To answer this question, we need to consider the following:

  • Which application is free?
  • Which application has the best features or UI?
  • Which application will best suit your needs?

This article will help you decide which is the best PDF viewer app for you. We have compiled a list of both online and offline applications that we think are the best on the market today.

Offline PDF viewer applications

Sometimes we may not have access to the Internet for various reasons and we may want to view PDF files at that critical moment. If you are concerned about the security of your pdf files, then offline PDF viewer applications may be the best solution. We will show you some free PDF readers available offline, and you can download and use them on your operating system with just one click.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free PDF viewer that allows you to read, search, and print PDF documents, but you can not use it as a PDF editor. The Adobe Acrobat Reader software has been around for over 25 years and has been continuously updated to keep up with the latest technologies. It is a lightweight application that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems. Adobe Acrobat has a free reader for Windows that includes many features that make it easy to edit and view pdf files. These include highlighting, noting, filling forms, stamps, and digital signatures. It also supports tabs — meaning that you can open multiple PDFs simultaneously.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Foxit PDF Reader

Foxit PDF Reader is a free PDF reader, pdf editor, and pdf creator that lets you open, view, create, encrypt and share PDF files. Foxit Reader can be used for many different purposes, including reading books, editing scanned documents, filling out PDF forms, creating interactive eBooks that include video, audio, and images, in addition to text. It can annotate PDF files and sign documents. You can also use it as a daily replacement for heavy desktop-based document-reading apps.

The free Foxit reader is fast and offers many features. The app also provides powerful tools and impressive functionality for managing your PDFs.

Foxit PDF Reader

Slim PDF

Slim PDF is your best option if free and highly-efficient applications are your priority. The download size is tiny, so we recommend it if you have limited hard drive space. This also means that it can open and load your documents faster than most of its competitors! The downside to this small size is that there are limited features. You can search and rotate documents. Aside from that, there are no additional PDF tools for editing, commenting, or highlighting documents. It is possible to convert a PDF to a Word document, but this involves downloading additional software.

Slim PDF is a great piece of software because it is just a plain-text pdf reader, and therefore there are no distracting toolbars. This makes it easy to focus on what you are reading. If you have frequent need to print PDFs, Slim PDF is one of the fastest and most simple options available.

Slim PDF

Online PDF Viewer Tools


Smallpdf is a free PDF converter and pdf editor that allows you to convert PDF files to many other file formats. Smallpdf is a web-based tool that converts PDF documents into different forms, such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and more. It has all the tools you need to perform actions on PDFs. The software is entirely free to use, and it can be access files from any device with internet access. Smallpdf also comes with an intuitive interface that makes the reading process easy. Users have complete control over the PDF files to both read and customize it according to their needs. Sign in to your free account to store and access pdf files across devices

Some of the benefits of using SmallPDF are:

  • It is free for both personal and commercial use.
  • It has an easy-to-use interface for reading PDFs.
  • It has an easy-to-use interface for creating PDFs.
  • It has an easy-to-use interface where you can upload multiple documents, choose how much you want them compressed, and download them in just a few clicks.
  • The service is available in many languages, making it accessible for everyone.

You need to open the SmallPDF website and select "PDF File", or drag and drop the file to open and view PDF files.



Smallpdf Output


DocFly is a fast, online, free PDF reader that allows you to read, share annotate PDF files on the web. It is a quick and easy way to view PDF file on the web without downloading anything. The DocFly team has been working on this project for the past three years, and it was officially launched in July 2018. DocFly has a simple and intuitive interface that can be used by anyone who is looking for online free PDF readers.

You can use DocFly to create PDFs as new documents or open an existing one from your computer. If you need to annotate documents with sticky notes or highlighting, DocFly provides several tools for you to do so. You can also add audio annotations and voice recordings if the need arises. DocFly also allows you to share your documents with others by sending them via email or embedding them into any website — perfect for collaboration!


Soda PDF:

Soda PDF is a free PDF reader and pdf editor that allows users to create, edit, sign and share PDF documents on the Internet. The software is available as a desktop application for Windows, macOS, and Linux or as a browser-based version on the web.

Soda PDF's features include:

  • The viewing of PDF documents on the Internet.
  • The editing of PDF documents with advanced editing tools such as text selection, text replacement, text formatting, and images insertion.
  • The signing of PDF documents with digital signatures for secure distribution.
  • The sharing of the edited or signed documents via email or instant messenger.

Soda PDF

IronPDF: C# Library

If you are a software developer, IronPDF is the perfect choice for PDF-related operations. IronPDF is a productivity suite for PDF documents that provides developers with the tools to convert pdfs into images, extract text and multimedia content, make searchable PDFs, and search for specific items. Extracting text from PDF files has never been easier with our new OCR technology. Sure, previously you needed to deal with whitespace, formatting, or UTF-8 characters, but these are issues no longer.

If you want to view and edit a PDF file in your software, you can use the IronPDF library. It offers you many types of PDF-related operations including document signing. You can create pdfs, edit pdfs and convert PDFs using IronPDF. It provides all the vital documentation necessary to see the related codes that enable you to understand the process. You can use the free trial to test it thoroughly according to your needs.


Let's see how we can use IronPDF to view PDF existing documents:

  • Create a C# or VB Project in Visual Studio.
  • Download IronPDF using Packet Manager or add IronPDF assembly in the project.
  • Use the IronPDF library in your project file - using IronPdf;
  • Create a PDFDocument object and give the PDF file path to open. If the PDF file is encrypted, then provide the password too - PdfDocument PDF = PdfDocument.FromFile("encrypted.pdf", "password");
  • Next, get all the text from the PDF using the ExtractAllText() function - string AllText = PDF.ExtractAllText();
  • Next, if the PDF contains images, then get these images using ExtractAllImages() function. - IEnumerableAllImages = PDF.ExtractAllImages();
  • You can also use a for loop to extract text and images page by page.

To understand this process more thoroughly, please take a look at this official tutorial.

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