Every second e-mail I get suggests to download Adobe Acrobat reader, but adobe.com doesn’t provide a Linux version.

Which PDF Viewer are there available for Ubuntu?
I’m fine with partial solutions, a perfect match however would not only display PDF files, but also be able to:

  • stageless zoom (not just predefined steps)
  • open files in tabs
  • display comments added with other PDF software
  • add and save comments
  • display forms filled in with other PDF software
  • fill in and save PDF forms
  • create and save bookmarks
  • have a presentation mode
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    I often find these questions very useful. Just because it is not a clear cut answer I don't think they need to be closed. Its hard to give an unbiased opinion but you often get a quick survey with such type of Q&A. – simgineer Jul 1 '15 at 23:25
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    Maybe move to the software recommendation forum instead of closing? – joelostblom May 23 '16 at 13:32
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    Pdf.js works fine in Firefox. I was able to view and print document in Russian language which used Microsoft fonts. I was not able to do same from other viewers native viewers. – dzmitry.lahoda Sep 13 '16 at 15:10
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    Please stop closing questions as non-constructive, if they get hundreds of upvotes. – Dr_Zaszuś Dec 21 '17 at 10:39
  • Foxit is a good and feature-rich PDF reader. Moreover Foxit is available for Windows too. You can connect the software to the cloud to sync your changes to a document accross multiple devices, be it Windows or Ununtu. I'd suggest going with it. You can download it from the official website: foxitsoftware.com/downloads If you need help installing it, here's a guide that might help: ubuntuhandbook.org/index.php/2015/09/… Hope it helps. – xeon Feb 20 '18 at 18:26

10 Answers 10


Here are some well known PDF readers:

  • Foxit Reader - View, create, convert, annotate, print, collaborate, share, fill forms and sign.
  • xpdf - Install xpdf "Xpdf is a small and efficient program which uses standard X fonts". Lightweight, but with outdated interface.
  • evince - Install evince Evince is a document viewer for multiple document formats. Used by default on Gnome.
  • kpdf - Install kpdf KPDF is a pdf viewer based on xpdf for KDE 3.
  • gv - Install gv - an old lightweight pdf viewer with an old interface. Size of the package is only 580k. gv is an X front-end for the Ghostscript PostScript(TM) interpreter.
  • okular - Install okular - KDE pdf viewer, requires many KDE prerequisites. Can easily copy text and images.
  • Master PDF Editor - good for reading as it provides a dark theme, can change the background color and has a full screen mode.
  • acroread - Adobe Acrobat Reader, no longer supported for Linux by Adobe, seems to be no longer supported by Ubuntu.

Note that most Linux PDF viewers don't provide the advanced capabilities of PDF.

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    Imho the list is useless without description what product has which benefit. For example xpdf loads pretty fast and allows to mark columnwise for copying content. – user unknown Apr 7 '12 at 21:50
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    evince sucks. Try searching some words in it and you'll see it eating upto 1 GB memory. – xyres Dec 9 '15 at 16:20
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    okular allows you to zoom at 1600%. Great for inspecting graphics. – Raffi Mar 15 '16 at 14:40
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    I tried xpdf - it displayed then dumped core. Then tried evince which couldn't find files it was looking for and didn't display anything other that messages to stderr. Then tried gv which worked fine. Give me old that works to new that doesn't any day of the week. – Tom Ekberg May 16 '16 at 14:47

In my opinion, qpdfview is the best PDF viewer for Ubuntu. Some of its attractive features are:

  • Fast opening of PDF files.
  • Great rendering of graphics.
  • Low memory consumption.
  • Tab browsing.
  • Annotations.
  • Support RTL (Right-to-Left) language with dual page view.

qpdfview is available via a Launchpad ppa.

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    This one gets my vote for not only being incredibly customizable, but especially for offering an outline of the PDF chapters on the left. A side panel of links to the various chapters in the PDF, that is. OS X's default PDF reader does this, and I wanted it on Linux. i.imgur.com/vnslr3J.png – jared Apr 14 '15 at 13:26
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    The best imo too. It's fast, there are plenty of shortcuts and they're quick to setup, it uses tabs, supports annotations and links to pages (e.g. from the index to the beginning of a chapter). For highlights and annotations I use PDF XChange Editor under Wine, but for reading this one's a very good all-arounder. I've tried also Evince, Okular, xpdf, MuPDF and Zathura but none of these I've found as complete and fast as qpdf (even though I liked Zathura..). Thanks for the suggestion! – Arch Stanton Oct 3 '15 at 10:22
  • Very good one, but it misses an important feature when working with big pdfs: Find with whole-word-only option. AFAIK, Only FoxitReader has it, but unfortunately it is quite bad on many other points. – calandoa Apr 6 '16 at 12:36
  • I was using Foxit, it is pretty powerful, but it shows super big bold font on a pdf file I am reading and I could not find a way to change the text font size (Since we are not supposed to change the font size in pdf files anyway). The qpdfview works fine on that file. Thanks for your suggestion. – r0ng Oct 11 '17 at 22:21
  • You had me at great rendering of graphics. Some of my tech books look awful on other readers – Wudang Dec 21 '17 at 6:45

I'm going to mention some lesser-known options: MuPDF and Zathura.

These are not feature rich, but they are super-fast, lightweight, and keyboard-driven. It's hard to believe how fast MuPDF is.

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    Unfortunately Linux "community" still didn't pick up MuPDF render engine to make fast and modern PDF viewer interface on top of it like Windows "community" did - SumatraPDF – zetah Dec 16 '11 at 23:59
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    MuPDF is really fast! – Chenming Zhang Mar 23 '14 at 15:30
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    I had to see how fast is MuPDF, and it is pretty much instant. Very impressive. Thanks for the suggestion. – nana Nov 1 '14 at 19:41
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    Zathura shines for those, who like vim-like key-binding. It took me a year to find it. – Jan Vlcinsky Apr 10 '15 at 17:07
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    If anyone else is looking for a PDF viewer for opening large graphics/scientific plots, I have had a much better experience with PDF-XChange and Sumatra via wine than with mupdf or zathura. I tested this with a ~3 MB file with thousands of individual objects (many scatter plots). For the linux native viewers, okular was the fastest ahead of qpdfview and the refreshed evince. Still, nothing comes close to Sumatra in speed, and you can run the portable version directly via wine, highly recommended! – joelostblom May 23 '16 at 13:32

Try okular. It's a KDE/Qt application, and it has some of the most awesome features of any reader.

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    It will also install a bunch of dependency of KDE..... – Ravi Apr 17 '12 at 14:20
  • That's right, but if you have or plan to have other KDE apps (and there are good ones) they will be needed anyway. And okular is so much better than evince (what cannot be?) that it's worth it! – Ring Ø May 31 '14 at 9:29
  • it is too slow while opening and scrolling big pdfs, finally i had to shift to qpdfviwer – Nithin Aug 13 '16 at 11:10

Google Chrome can render PDFs, has a zoom feature, and you might already have it installed.

I have seen some PDFs that give evince trouble (large sections of the document will be blacked out), but Chrome displays them just fine.


Foxit is a free PDF document viewer for the Linux platform, with a new streamlined interface, user-customized toolbar, incredibly small size, breezing-fast launch speed and rich features. This empowers PDF document users with Zoom function, Navigation function, Bookmarks, Thumbnails, Text Selection Tool, Snapshot, and Full Screen capabilities.

  • Very fast viewer which I am using on Windows desktops at university. – Vincenzo Dec 22 '10 at 19:52
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    Not as good as windows version. – user May 2 '11 at 12:07
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    Unfortunately the last version 1.1 (as of 2013-08-08) was released in 2009-08-13. foxitsoftware.com/company/… – pabouk Aug 8 '13 at 10:50
  • But it's still faster than some of linux viewers (on large pages) – Gtx Mar 7 '16 at 14:54
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    The Linux version doesn't have full screen mode somehow :-/ The Windows one does – Louis Maddox Jun 19 '16 at 21:55

Nobody mentioned wine + PDF-XChange Viewer? This is a great solution if you want to annotate pdf files under Linux. Detailed discussion can be found here.

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    i use wine+foxit . that works great too. in my experience foxit handles annotations in some scanned+OCRred PDFs better. – Abhishek Anand Jun 19 '14 at 15:48


As of Ubuntu 18.04, Firefox 62 is, in my opinion, the best PDF viewer available on Linux.

It's PDF support is based on the PDF.js project which is maintained by Mozilla itself and integrated in to Firefox out-of-the-box.

Firefox comes pre-installed on Ubuntu 18.04, which makes it specially convenient.

You can open a PDF simply as:

firefox ~/path/to/my.pdf

and it opens the PDF on a tab in the browser.

Or it will open by default if you click a PDF web link with Firefox.

Opening new documents on tabs is great, as it makes it easier to switch between multiple documents, given Ubuntu's clunky tab switching.

Furthermore, as in most browsers, you can start writing the document name on the address bar to find it easily with auto-complete.

As a test case, test it out with the humongous 5k page Intel x86 manual:

enter image description here

I consider Firefox the best due to the unacceptable downsides of other viewers I've tried so far for reading technical documents:

Other more acceptable viewers with less important downsides:

  • Okular:
    • on 16.04 clicking on internal PDF links did not work. Fixed on 18.04, but my trust was lost.
    • requires downloading a lot of KDE stuff, but that's OK
    • jump to previous page default shortcut is Alt-Shift-Left instead of the saner Alt-Left :-) Haha, I'm OK, this is just a pet peeve.

PDF Studio Viewer is a free PDF reader for Linux. It's easy to install as it is packaged as a single file with no dependencies, etc.... It has advanced viewing options (pan and zoom, screenshot, rulers & grids, thumbnail tab, digital signature tabs, bookmark tab, layer tab), printing options (preview, booklet) and search options (search within fields, annotations, recursively into folders, etc..). It can annotate PDF documents with graphical, text and markup annotations. It can fill & save interactive forms.


Try Adobe's own Adobe Reader 9

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    Adobes acrobat is very good on linux though, it even has tabs! – RolandiXor Dec 22 '10 at 15:19
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    It's incredibly, almost unbelievably slow. – frabjous Dec 22 '10 at 21:51
  • It's also 32-bit only and unlikely to ever be updated again by Adobe. – pgoetz Aug 27 '15 at 11:24

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