13 Best Free and Open Source Linux PDF Viewers

Last Updated on July 15, 2023

Over the years PDF has become an extremely important file format. If you want to create documents that can be viewed under all major operating systems, PDF is the ticket, as it maintains the overall look and feel of documents regardless of what platform they are viewed under. Businesses and consumers increase productivity using PDF documents and forms.

Besides offering universal compatibility, the format is reliable, ease of creation, security, and version independence. The format also supports annotations, and a very practical format.

Since late 2014, Adobe’s proprietary but useful Adobe Acrobat Reader DC has been no longer supported under Linux. Adobe’s website still only lists Windows, Mac OS and Android as supported operating systems. This is one of the many dangers of closed source software – at the whim of corporate bosses, development and distribution can simply disappear overnight, possibly never coming back.

Fortunately, there are some excellent open source alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. The software featured in this article offer more than displaying PDF files; many are versatile document viewers.

Here’s our verdict on the PDF viewers. We only include open source software here.

Ratings chart for PDF Viewers

Let’s explore the 13 viewers. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, an image of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources.

PDF Viewers
PDF.jsJavaScript library that renders Portable Document Format files
OkularUniversal document viewer supporting advanced document features
MuPDFLightweight PDF and XPS viewer
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats including PDF
SioyekDesigned for viewing research papers and technical books
EvinceMulti-page document viewer
AtrilA simple multi-page document viewer for MATE
ZathuraHighly customizable and functional document viewer
qpdfviewTabbed document viewer. It uses Poppler for PDF support
XreaderSimple multi-page document viewer
JFBViewPDF and image viewer for the Linux framebuffer
XpdfPDF viewer and toolkit
llppFast and featureful PDF, EPUB, XPS and CBZ viewer
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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5 years ago

Do any free/open-source PDF tools support adobe XFA forms?

Cameron Clyne
Cameron Clyne
5 years ago
Reply to  Zeeshan

Last time I tried okular didn’t support Adobe XFA forms. But I believe Foxit Reader has partial support.

3 years ago

Guess what, MuPdf is much better than Evice and Okular.

8 months ago

It would be good to test these for form filling as that is a common requirement these days. I found the tool tips for the fields did not appear in most of the readers I tried and in some it was not possible to choose an option (radio) button.