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.
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.
|Universal document viewer supporting advanced document features
|Lightweight PDF and XPS viewer
|Document viewer for a wide variety of file formats including PDF
|Designed for viewing research papers and technical books
|Multi-page document viewer
|A simple multi-page document viewer for MATE
|Highly customizable and functional document viewer
|Tabbed document viewer. It uses Poppler for PDF support
|Simple multi-page document viewer
|PDF and image viewer for the Linux framebuffer
|PDF viewer and toolkit
|Fast and featureful PDF, EPUB, XPS and CBZ viewer
|Read 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.