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Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader | Gizmo’s Freeware Archive


This category includes desktop programs that can be used for reading and annotating PDF documents, other than the slow and bloated Adobe Reader. While I will admit that the Adobe product has improved in both speed and features in recent years, it still lags behind some of the products reviewed here.

My personal criteria for rating the PDF reader include the following factors:

[Doakio Editor's Note: This article was restored from Gizmo's Freeware archives as a service to the freeware community. Gizmo's Freeware provided high-quality, volunteer freeware reviews for decades. They shut down in July of 2021.]

Rated Products



PDF-XChange Editor It serves as a PDF viewer plus basic editing requirements


License: Free (Limited features)

Loads reasonably fast; can print PDFs; extensive annotation; allows filling and saving of Adobe PDF forms; can extract text and images, magnify text, manage document properties and security; Can OCR image based PDF documents.
Some advanced features are included but not free. When such features are used, resulting PDFs will be watermarked.

Read full review…



Foxit Reader  A worthy contender to open and accurately render pdf files


License: Free

Fast, modern user interface, can fill and save both forms and form data, provides extensive annotation and review features. Social media interface. Can insert and validate electronic signatures.
No OCR capability. Users need to take great care during the install process to avoid a variety of unwanted components and system changes, the make-up of which is changed regularly. User manual must be downloaded separately.

Read full review…



Sumatra PDF  A simple and light pdf reader


License: Free (Open source)

Small, fast, source code available.
Few features – it's basically just a viewer, image quality is not the best.

Read full review…

More PDF Readers

Check out more PDF readers reviewed and rated with Software Finder at our site.


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