Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Viewing PDFs – Week 9

Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Software Information and Versions

Here’s a table summarizing the available software.

PDF ViewersVersion in RepositoryCurrent release
PDF Presenter Console4.


I’ve given my thoughts of this viewer on page 1.



Besides viewing PDFs, Evince supports a wide range of formats including PostScript, DJVU, TIFF, DVI, XPS, SyncTeX support, Comic books (cbr, cbz, cb7, and cbt), and others. It offers integrated search, page thumbnails, document indexes, printing, and encrypted document viewing.



okular is another universal document viewer, this time developed by KDE. Like Evince, it supports a lot of documents besides PDF. At the time of writing, the Raspbian repositories’ version of okular misses out on about 12 months development.



Zathura is a highly customizable and functional document viewer based on the girara user interface library and several document libraries. It offers vi-styled keybindings, with a minimalistic and space saving interface and easy usage that focuses on keyboard interaction.



If you’re a keen Vim user, you might initially be interested in this PDF viewer. But it hasn’t seen a new release since January 2015.



Atril is the document viewer of the MATE Desktop Environment. Besides PDF files, it can display and print PostScript, Encapsulated PostScript, DJVU, DVI, and XPS formats. The software is a fork of Evince.



This is a simple no-frills PDF viewer that’s not under active development with its last release back in April 2017. One to avoid particularly as it’s by far the slowest to navigate PDFs. The only saving grace is its reasonably modern interface.



This is another fairly vanilla PDF and PostScript document viewer. It hasn’t seen a new release since 2013. Again another program that’s best forgotten.



This is a basic PDF viewer offering 3 layouts: a single layout which only support scrolling on a per page basis. There’s also a grid layout which offers continuous (smooth, per pixel) scrolling. Finally, there’s a presenter layout, where you view a single page at a time, scaled to fit the screen. That’s designed for people giving a presentation.

Unusually, CPU-intensive operations like rendering and searching are performed in parallel, making better use of the RPI4’s quad core CPU.

There’s no official website, but there’s a GitHub repository.


MuPDF is a document viewer that can show PDF, XPS, EPUB, XHTML, CBZ, and various image formats such as PNG, JPEG, GIF, and TIFF although there are a few other programs offering an even wider range of formats. MuPDF can open encrypted PDF files. It’s the fastest viewer out of the group to load PDFs, with very useful keybindings such as jumping to a specific page (say 78) with the keypresses 78g.



PDF Cube is an OpenGL API-based 3D PDF viewer that adds a compiz/Keynote-like spinning cube transition effect to your PDF presentations. You can also zoom on 5 predefined areas of any presentation page with a smooth zooming effect. This program is not intended as a generic PDF viewer but as a specific presentation tool. This software isn’t under active development.

Visit GitHub Repository

PDF Presenter Console

pdfpc is a GTK-based presentation viewer which uses Keynote-like multi-monitor output to provide meta information to the speaker during the presentation. There’s also video playback support. It’s under active development.



pqiv (powerful quick image viewer) offers a minimalist user interface. There’s support for animations, slideshows, transparency, VIM-like key bindings, automated loading of new images as they appear, external image filters, image preloading, and much more.



This PDF viewer is built for GNUstep. It’s badly in need of some love and attention.

This software doesn’t have an official homepage.


Sadly, Raspbian provides a legacy version of this PDF viewer. The current release (not included in Raspbian) provides Qt support.


Pages in this article:
Page 1 – qpdfview
Page 2 – Charts: Features, Navigation, Memory Usage
Page 3 – Software Information

Read all my blog posts about the RPI4.

Raspberry Pi 4 Blog
Week 36Manage your personal collections on the RPI4
Week 35Survey of terminal emulators
Week 34Search the desktop with the latest version of Recoll
Week 33Personal Information Managers on the RPI4
Week 32Keep a diary with the RPI4
Week 31Process complex mathematical functions, plot 2D and 3D graphs with calculators
Week 30Internet radio on this tiny computer. A detailed survey of open source software
Week 29Professionally manage your photo collection with digiKam
Week 28Typeset beautifully with LyX
Week 27Software that teaches young people how to learn basic computing skills and beyond
Week 26Firefox revisited - Raspbian now offers a real alternative to Chromium
Week 25Turn the Raspberry Pi 4 into a low power writing machine
Week 24Keep the kids learning and having fun
Week 23Lots of choices to view images
Week 22Listening to podcasts on the RPI4
Week 21File management on the RPI4
Week 20Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio) on the RPI4
Week 19Keep up-to-date with these news aggregators
Week 18Web Browsers Again: Firefox
Week 17Retro gaming on the RPI4
Week 16Screen capturing with the RPI4
Week 15Emulate the Amiga, ZX Spectrum, and the Atari ST on the RPI4
Week 14Choose the right model of the RPI4 for your desktop needs
Week 13Using the RPI4 as a screencaster
Week 12Have fun reading comics on the RPI4 with YACReader, MComix, and more
Week 11Turn the RPI4 into a complete home theater
Week 10Watching locally stored video with VLC, OMXPlayer, and others
Week 9PDF viewing on the RPI4
Week 8Access the RPI4 remotely running GUI apps
Week 7e-book tools are put under the microscope
Week 6The office suite is the archetypal business software. LibreOffice is tested
Week 5Managing your email box with the RPI4
Week 4Web surfing on the RPI4 looking at Chromium, Vivaldi, Firefox, and Midori
Week 3Video streaming with Chromium & omxplayerGUI as well as streamlink
Week 2A survey of open source music players on the RPI4 including Tauon Music Box
Week 1An introduction to the world of the RPI4 looking at musikcube and PiPackages

This blog is written on the RPI4.

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Tim H
Tim H
4 years ago

Another piece of software that I find very useful, esp. when scanning to pdf, is PDF-Shuffler. It allows you to sort, delete, move, add etc. by the page. With one document open in one window, and another in a second one, you can drag and drop single pages from one to the other.

Karl K
Karl K
3 years ago

I use PDF Arranger daily, mostly cropping music pdf to fit on my tablet properly, and to combine, delete or re-arrange pages. It’s good, stable and fast.