Is there a pdf viewer in linux that can do all of the following:

  1. Deal with large pdf files easily
  2. Support annotations
  3. Support pdf forms
  4. Have a fullscreen reader mode that hides all menus and allows zooming in and has smooth scrolling

I have tried a lot of pdf viewers but none of them can do all four so I usually end up having to use two different viewers together. Right now, I am using foxit reader for annotations and evince for filling out forms. And I haven't been able to find any viewer that has a fullscreen read mode. Generally, either the menus are not hidden or the full screen mode is for pdf presentations with only one page visible at one time.


I have already tried foxit reader, qpdfview, okular, evince, xpdf and a bunch of other lightweight ones. I do not remember their names.

  • 2
    List ones that you have tried, or people will end up suggesting those. – muru Apr 20 '17 at 15:51
  • Possible duplicate of Which PDF Viewer would you recommend? – Anwar Apr 20 '17 at 16:43
  • I'm voting it to close because either it is duplicate or you asked about a very narrow usecase, which also falls under off-topic. Especially since you won't even tolerate the tiny toolbar shown in fullscreen. – Anwar Apr 20 '17 at 16:45
  • I have already tried all of those viewers and none of them fullfill the very specific need I have outlined above – yolo7398 Apr 20 '17 at 16:46
  • 2
    @Anwar I don't agree, the suggested dupe is much too broad, while this questions asks for a specific and clear set of qualities. Moreover, obviously the answers in the suggested dupe did not satisfy the question. – Jacob Vlijm Apr 20 '17 at 17:21

Short answer

Not that well known, but Master PDF Editor is one of the better "regular" Acrobat- like pdf options we have at the moment imo.

enter image description here

I don't have statistics on the speed, but compared to other pdf applications I have on my system, it performs remarkably well.


Possible downside is that it is propriety software, and the free version has some limitations. These limitations are irrelevant to me however:

Following functions are locked in free version:

- Optimizing PDFs.
- Function "Paste to Multiple Pages"
- Add/Edit Document Actions.
- Manage Document JavaScript.
- Page Properties options.
- Sign PDF document with digital signature.
- Add Headers and Footers to PDFs.
- Add Watermarks to PDFs.
- Add Background to PDFs.
- 256 bit AES encryption.
  • I think this is better than evince. The only problem I have is that since this is not in the default repositories, I will need to update it manually – yolo7398 Apr 20 '17 at 16:39
  • @yolo7398 partially true; the application notifies you on launch on important updates. – Jacob Vlijm Apr 20 '17 at 20:19
  • I have gotten rid of the other pdf viewers and have been using Master PDF for all of today. Will update in a few weeks time on how it works out. I like it so far – yolo7398 Apr 21 '17 at 11:29

Evince (called Document Viewer in Ubuntu) does all four of your requirements.

  1. Deals with large PDF files easily
  2. Supports annotations and highlighting
  3. Supports PDF forms
  4. Has a fullscreen reader mode that allows zooming in and has smooth scrolling, but Evince doesn't hide the toolbar at the top except for when using the Budgie desktop environment.

For step-by-step instructions about how to add highlighting and annotations to a PDF document in Evince see this answer. The annotations added with Evince can be also viewed in Windows by installing Evince in Windows, and there is also a portable version of Evince for Windows at PortableApps.com that can be run from a USB flash drive without installing Evince on your hard drive.

If Evince crashes when too many annotations have been added, you can partially ameliorate this by using the nice command to give the Evince process a more favorable scheduling priority. Niceness values range from -20 (most favorable to the process) to 19 (least favorable to the process). To show the Evince process ID (PID) run:

ps -aux | grep evince
  • I think I was not clear earlier but I need to be able to make annotations, I do not think it is possible to do that in evince. And it crashes if there are too many annotations on a page – yolo7398 Apr 20 '17 at 15:58
  • I found the add annotations thing but it still crashes if there are too many annotations. Evince is the best option I have found too but I was looking for something better – yolo7398 Apr 20 '17 at 16:02
  • The reader view I am looking for is something like what adobe acrobat has in windows. Since I read a lot of pdf ebooks, especially textbooks, I want to remove all possible distractions on the screen and just focus on what I am reading. That includes menus, icons, contents, thumbnail view, etc – yolo7398 Apr 20 '17 at 16:05
  • 1
    I changed my desktop environment to budgie recently. I do not not know if this is specific to budgie or if it exists in vanilla gnome too, but evince auto hides the bar at the top in fullscreen mode. This is better than masterpdf and also integrates well with other gnome applications – yolo7398 May 1 '17 at 5:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.