2022-09-06 10:19:44 • Filed to:
Top List of PDF Software
• Proven solutions
Data and information are the new currency of the digital age. Every single day, nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are sent over the Internet alone. Although a large chunk of this is in the form of videos, images, and other rich media, a massive amount is just plain text, and much of that is sent in PDF format. That’s why a PDF reader is such an important part of anyone’s collection of software applications.
In order to keep your information safe, you should also have a powerful data wiping software like DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke), an open-source application to permanently remove data from your device. This is especially useful when you’re selling your device or giving it away because the information cannot be retrieved. Back to PDF readers, do you know which one is the best PDF reader for Windows for 2021? To help you wade through the maze of PDF readers and PDF editors, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 15 PDF solutions for Windows. Let’s jump right in.
Wondershare Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is a full-featured PDF editor that can also be used as a simple PDF reader. Features such as easy navigation, jump to page, etc. make this an ideal tool to read PDF books and large PDF documents. In addition, it offers PDF creation, editing, conversion, annotation, form-filling, optimization, e-signing, handwritten signature, encryption, data extraction, and a host of other useful features to manage PDF workflows.
PDFelement is a highly versatile and award-winning application for PDF and document management. It has been acknowledged by top sites such as TrustRadius, Capterra, and G2 Crowd in various categories on a consistent basis.
Adobe Acrobat DC is full-featured during the free trial period. After that, however, if you do not upgrade to a paid subscription, it reverts in functionality to become a PDF reader. Note that this is different from the free Adobe Reader DC, which is a dedicated PDF reader. That’s why it can be confusing. Adobe is the creator of the PDF format, and its tools are designed to make it easy to read PDFs no matter what size they are. So, whether it’s a small document or an eBook with hundreds of pages, Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader make it easy to handle and navigate through the document.
Foxit PDF Reader is a dedicated PDF reading application with similar features to most PDF readers. The interface is simple and the app is available for desktop, mobile, and web use. The key selling feature here is that the app looks quite similar on any platform, giving the reader a seamless experience as they move from one device to another.
This is purely a document viewer for technical and scientific documents. It supports a wide range of file formats including PDF, Image files, ePub, MOBI, and more. It also allows you to extract selected text or all text into a new file. It’s free to use and available for all Windows versions from XP to Windows 7. Although it doesn’t officially support Windows 10, it should work without any issues.
Although this product has been discontinued in terms of active support, the same features are now available in PDF-XChange Editor. The older version is still a great PDF reader application for Windows. Apart from viewing and annotating PDF files, users can also use the free OCR feature for scanned documents. It’s not highly accurate but it works to a good extent with clear or typed text that is in the form of images.
Sumatra PDF is a free utility for reading PDFs, eBooks, digital comics, and other file types. It’s small, portable, and quite powerful. It is also loaded with PDF reading features that give you a pleasurable reading experience.
SmallPDF is an online collection of PDF tools, each with its own dedicated web page. The Small PDF Reader is available to use on your browser or as a Chrome extension. Simply upload your file and it will open in your browser. The reader comes with a rich set of features, as listed below:
One of the most powerful PDF tools around is ABBYY FineReader. Although the name suggests that it is a PDF reader, FineReader is a full-fledged PDF solution with features like editing, conversion, compare PDFs, create forms, Split PDF, redact, OCR, and more. It also allows you to automate certain tasks such as file conversion and scan to PDF. It’s also a great tool for collaboration, offering multiple signature collection, comment search, comment status, etc.
The newly released PDF Manager from Microsoft is intended to help large corporations with their PDF workflows. It has essential tools like trim, merge, extract and split, but also features a full-screen PDF reader. It’s not strictly a PDF editor but you can also reorder, rotate, and delete pages with this useful utility. Moreover, it is available for enterprise-wide deployment, which makes it an attractive tool for larger companies.
One of the first ever applications in this category is the market leader’s core PDF reading product, Adobe Reader DC. Unlike Acrobat DC, it is simply a tool to read PDFs, sign forms, and do other basic tasks. If you need to edit or convert PDFs, you’ll need either Acrobat DC or Adobe Document Cloud PDF Services. The core features of this PDF reader are exactly the same as what you get with Acrobat DC once the free trial expires and you don’t upgrade to a paid subscription plan.
Movavi is known widely for its video editing software but not many people know about the Movavi PDF Editor. It’s a fairly decent PDF reader but the real benefit is that it comes with tools for editing PDFs, converting to and from PDF, creating PDF files from a blank page, merging PDFs and so on. Movavi is a well-respected name in the software industry, and they’ve brought their expertise and finesse into this product as well.
If your PDF is locked for editing and you want to make changes, a traditional PDF reader isn’t going to help. That’s why we listed this particular product. Using Systools PDF Unlocker, you can remove editing and copying restrictions on any protected PDF file without having to know the password. Of course, you will need to use it judiciously and not for any illegal or prohibited actions, such as unlocking a PDF that you are not authorized to access.
PDFescape is a free PDF reader and form-filling application that you can access from your browser. It’s completely free and it comes with extra features for editing, protection, form-filling, annotation, and PDF creation. As a web application, it allows users to work on any system regardless of the operating system, making it highly accessible from anywhere.
Now that we have an overview of the best PDF readers on the market in 2021, how do you decide which one to finally go with? That question needs some consideration because it all depends on why you need one in the first place. Here are some important factors to think about:
Whatever tool you finally decide on, it’s important that the application have a user-friendly interface with clear iconography, a legible layout, and easy navigation. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending a lot of time on going through help resources just to figure out the various features and how to use them. In that respect, PDFelement is one of the best tools around. It offers literally a zero learning curve so new users can jump right in and be comfortable with the interface. On the other hand, something like Acrobat DC is a powerful tool but the interface is cluttered and some important features are buried deep within the Tools menu.
This is an important factor to consider because most PDF readers are incapable of creating or editing PDFs. If you need something more robust, then a full-featured PDF editor like PDFelement, Acrobat DC, or ABBYY FineReader would be perfect for you. Such applications not only offer PDF editing and PDF creation features, but also useful tools like file conversion, PDF protection, file and page organizing, OCR, and more.
If you regularly work with physical documents and need to digitize your workflows, an OCR feature is absolutely essential. It can help you convert existing electronic files into editable PDFs and also scan documents directly into editable files. PDFelement Pro comes with a powerful OCR plugin that can convert image-based text into editable PDF format in over 20 languages in an accurate manner. Another great utility for this is Acrobat Pro DC but PDFelement is far more affordable and offers nearly all the same features as Acrobat Pro DC.
Easy file-sharing is a pre-requisite for most organizations that have employees working remotely or in various locations. For that reason, choose a tool that is also integrated with a dedicated cloud service for PDF files. That leaves you with Acrobat DC and PDFelement as one of the obvious choices. Wondershare Document Cloud complements the rich PDF tools of PDFelement with secure cloud storage and electronic signature features. You can edit a file on your desktop, upload it to the cloud, and simultaneously send it to several others to sign. The documents are electronically tracked so you have a real-time update on who has signed and whose signature is still pending. In addition, you can now make global annotations that other authorized viewers can see and respond to.
Security is a very important part of business workflows because sensitive and confidential information is often distributed externally for various purposes. To safeguard your data, you will need a PDF reader/editor that can also encrypt your files and protect them from unauthorized access. A tool like PDFelement can give you enterprise-grade protection with the most advanced encryption algorithms.
Another very important consideration is whether to choose a desktop application or a web-based one. While web-based tools are very attractive because of the accessibility they offer, they’re not as secure as a standalone software application protected by network security features, firewalls, and other failsafe measures. But what if you could have the best of both worlds? PDFelement, used in tandem with Wondershare Document Cloud, is exactly the solution you may be looking for. It offers the security and isolation of the desktop environment (as well as the powerful resources your system brings to the equation), and also the benefit of having a cloud storage service with a built-in electronic signature platform. It’s the ideal combination of convenience, security, and powerful features all rolled into one package. And the best part is that it can save your organization a minimum of 60% when you switch from a more expensive set-up like Adobe.
Now that you have a clear picture of the tools available and what to consider when choosing one, the answer should be obvious. Why pay more money when you can get nearly all the same features plus cloud integration at a fraction of what you’re currently spending?