Top 10 Best Open Source PDF Readers in 2024

Open source PDF readers used to be simple applications for viewing content, but are now more versatile solutions for making essential changes to documents. Their significance lies in their ability to simplify document management tasks and enhance productivity for regular PDF file users.

Using an open source PDF viewer offers a significant advantage in terms of time-saving features. With instant access to view and read PDFs without the need for online conversions, your workflow becomes streamlined, allowing for better focus and efficiency. Additionally, these readers excel in offline reading, ensuring accessibility to PDFs anytime, anywhere, even without an active internet connection.

Part 1. Top 10 Best Open Source PDF Readers

Sometimes, people find numerous free PDF readers, but it is crucial to state that not all are handy and efficient. After very rigorous searching, we are now listing out the best available open source PDF readers.

1. Afirstsoft PDF

Afirstsoft PDF is one of the best open-source PDF readers that is used for viewing, editing, converting, and organizing documents. It is an AI-driven software that provides advanced features like PDF summarization and document discussions.

afirstsoft pdf download button

Features of Afirstsoft PDF

  • PDF pages Organization:This software allows you to manage your content by organizing the pages.
  • OCR (Optical Character Recognition):Converts scanned papers to editable and readable PDFs.
  • PDF Conversion: Converts PDFs into other forms like Excel, Word, etc.
  • PDF Editing:Lets you edit PDFs as you like.
  • Split PDF Documents:The splitter tool enables you to reduce large PDFs into smaller, easily accessible portions to minimize complexity.
  • Crop Pages:Crops PDF pages to remove unwanted areas and make the content suitable for presentation or to meet some particular requirements.
  • Delete Pages:This option is useful when you want to remove irrelevant pages that appear between the important ones.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • AI-integrated PDF reader
  • OCR
  • Free tool

Cons:

  • PDF-supported only

Pricing

  • Free Software.

Compatibility

  • iOS, Windows, Mac, Android.

How to Use the Afirstsoft PDF?

Step 1. Open the Afirstsoft PDF app on your computer and open the PDF file you want to work on.

click on open option

Step 2. Choose "Read Mode" under the "View" option at this point. The PDF can be set to have a single or double-page layout.

read mode feature of afirstsoft pdf

Step 3. To improve reading efficiency, make sure you use the PDF annotation capabilities provided by the Afirstsoft PDF.

utilize annotation option

 

2. WPS Office

WPS Office, as well, falls among the best open source PDF viewers with reading, editing, and highlighting features. You can edit the text, add notes/comments, draw, print, and convert PDFs to different formats. It protects your file with signatures and content copying restrictions.

wps office interface

Features of WPS Office

 

Cloud Drive: Easily access and edit office documents directly synced with Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, with automatic cloud saving.

Advanced Editing Tools: This software offers advanced editing tools for document edits, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Merge PDFs: Users can combine files in the order they want.

Pros:

  • Cloud storage integration
  • Easy-to-use
  • Documents sharing features
  • Compatible across Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux

Cons:

  • Some features require Premium subscriptions
  • Limited Cloud Storage (1GB max)
  • Ads in the free version

Pricing

  • WPS Premium: $29.99/year
  • WPS Student/Home/License: $44.99/year

Compatibility

  • Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS.

 

3. Soda PDF

Soda PDF is an efficient platform offering different services like converting and managing PDFs, text editing, and many more. This reliable software ensures an easy and healthy experience for all and has millions of users.

soda pdf interface

Features of Soda PDF:

PDF Conversion: Soda PDF allows you to convert PDFs to Word, RTF, Excel, and other formats.

Authentication:  Verify user/device identity for secure access to create, edit, and recover PDF files.

Edit Text and OCR: Allows you to edit text in a PDF file and converts scanned documents to editable and readable PDFs.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive features like creating, editing PDF documents.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Processes in batch.
  • Supports cloud integration with Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive.

Cons:

  • The free version has limited features.
  • Performance may suffer when dealing with large and complex files.

Pricing

  • Home Plan: $10/month
  • Premium Plan: $15/month
  • Business Plan: $20/month

Compatibility

  • Windows, Linux, MacOS.

 

4. LibreOffice Draw

Millions of people use LibreOffice Draw due to its powerful features and free availability. You can edit images and text without any restrictions without purchasing this tool, as it is free to use.

libre office interface

Features of LibreOffice Draw

Vector Graphics: LibreOffice Draw uses mathematical vectors to create vector images by defining curves and lines.

Grids and snap lines: You can use grids and snap lines to position your elements in the drawing. You can choose whether to snap an item to a grid line, a snap line, or the edge of another object.

Dimensions display: Dimensions are displayed for the objects in the drawing which can be used to compute and display linear dimensions.

Graphics File Formats: LibreOffice Draw can export several graphics file types including JPG, PNG, BMP, and GIF.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source PDF editor.
  • It can import almost every type of d0cument.
  • Portable format support.

Cons:

  • Less reliable than competing suites on Macs.
  • Absence of Internet tools for collaboration.
  • Unorganized and complex user interface.

Pricing

  • Free software.

Compatibility

  • MacOS, Windows, Linux.

 

5. PDFAgile

PDF Agile is an open-source PDF viewer for Windows that swiftly creates, edits, converts, compresses, and secures PDFs, and enhances the workflow with user-friendly features. No credit card is needed to download this Adobe Acrobat alternative, which operates akin to a word processor.

pdf agile user interface

Features of PDFAgile

Powerful OCR feature: With this feature, you can extract text from any scanned PDF or image.

Arrange PDF: Organizes PDF documents to help you streamline your processes.

Enhanced reading experience: You can switch between Read Mode, Slideshow Mode, and Full-screen Mode to improve the way you read.

Pros:

  • Works as a PDF converter, editor, and creator.
  • Simple to Use Interface
  • Maintains full safety for your PDF

Cons:

  • Only works for Windows.

Pricing

  • $4.9/month

Compatibility

  • Windows only.

 

6. Qoppa PDF Studio

With full PDF standard regulation, Qoppa PDF Studio is a complete platform for all your PDF needs and is often seen as the perfect substitute for Acrobat. It is one of the best open-source PDF readers since it makes creating, converting, reviewing, modifying, and modifying PDFs simple.

qoppa pdf studio software

Features of Qoppa

PDF files optimizer: Reduce the size of large PDF files by optimizing them, removing unnecessary stuff, and even fixing or repairing PDF files.

Create PDF Forms: Create and update responsive forms on old or new documents, including support for all form field kinds.

PDFs Removal: Remove sensitive PDF files securely before publishing or distributing them.

Pros:

  • Completely Functional PDF Solution.
  • Additional help in creating the PDF Library
  • Process PDFs more quickly using file workflows.

Cons:

  • Not attractive in appearance.
  • Difficult to use.

Pricing

  • Standard Pricing: $99 as a one-time fee
  • Pro Pricing: $139 as a one-time fee.

Compatibility

  • Windows, Linux, MacOS.

 

7. PDFsam Basic

PDFsam Basic is a universal software that can mix, merge, and divide PDFs. It is one of the best open source PDF readers for everyday users.

pdf sam software

Features of PDFsam Basic

PDF Merge: The most used feature of PDFsam Basic that allows you to merge multiple files together.

Table of Contents: Adds a Table of Contents to the top part of the merged PDF to make it easier to move through the different pages.

Add Bookmarks: It allows you to place bookmarks wherever you think would be important to have by simply clicking on a particular bookmark of the webpage.

Pros:

  • Simple to utilize.
  • PDF pages are easy to rearrange.
  • Enhanced visual arrangements.

Cons:

  • Java installation is important.
  • Unpredictable errors.

Pricing

  • Free software.

Compatibility

  • MacOS, Windows, Linux.

 

8. Okular

Okular is a fast, cross-platform application for reading e-books, PDFs, pictures, and other media. It's a well-liked open source PDF reader for individuals and businesses.

okular pdf editing interface

Features of Okular

Format Compatible: Okular supports different file formats like PDF, JPEG, PNG, JPG, and many more.

Select and view text: Users can easily copy and paste text from one place to another place within the file. You can use the magnifier tool if the text sounds very small.  

Signature: Digital signatures may be seen, verified, and altered. You can even sign PDFs directly.
Bookmarks: You can add bookmarks of important file pages for easy access.

Pros:

  • Multiple language options.
  • Readily accessible touch interactions.
  • Lightweight software.

Cons:

  • Only for PDF reading.
  • Cannot edit PDFs.
  • You can copy or paste comments individually.

Pricing

  • Free software.

Compatibility

  • Windows, Linux, Unix-like.

 

9. Scribus

Although Scribus is primarily known for desktop publication and magazine creation, many also utilize it as an open source PDF reader for Windows to edit PDF files, allowing users to add new content without replacing the old.

scribus pdf editor

Features of Scribus

File Format Support: Scribus supports major bitmap formats such as, TIFF, JPEG, PSD, and vector drawings like EPS, SVG, AI, and XFIG.

Professional Features: It has the additional professional tools including the support of the CMYK color model, ICC color profiles, and native Python scripting engine.

Language Support: Scribus is available in 60 languages, supporting font embedding and sub-setting with TrueType, Type 1, and OpenType fonts.

PDF Support: It supports PDF features such as transparency, encryption, layers (OCG), PDF/X-3 compliance, interactive forms, annotations, and bookmarks.

Pros:

  • Compatible with major bitmap formats.
  • Easy to use.
  • Capable to import large number of files.
  • Supported on multiple platforms.

Cons:

  • Unsatisfactory user-interface.
  • Inability to edit existing text.

Pricing

  • Free software.

Compatibility

 

 

10. Sumatra PDF

At the end of the list, here comes Sumatra, which is also an open source PDF viewer for windows. It is a light-weight, customizable software and processes documents swiftly with high performance.

 

Sumatra pdf user interface

Features of Sumatra PDF

Portable PDF reader: It is a portable software, which means that it does not require any installation. You can just save it in a USB and plug the USB to use this software

PDF Rendering: For PDF rendering, Sumatra PDF uses the MuPDF library.

Easy-to-use: Sumatra PDF enables keyboard shortcuts.

Lightweight Software: Sumatra is a lightweight PDF reader but still delivers high performance and speed.

Pros:

  • Simple to use.
  • Processes documents with speed.
  • Offers multiple customizing options.

Cons:

  • Not made for advanced editing.
  • Difficult to change settings.

Pricing

  • Free software.

Compatibility

  • Windows only.

Part 2: How to Choose a Free Open Source PDF Viewer?

When choosing the best open source PDF reader, a number of factors and aspects need to be considered and compared. If you take the following factors into account, you will be sure to find the best PDF viewer for your needs and customize your document workflow.

  • Compatibility:Check to confirm that the PDF viewer supports your operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux).
  • User Interface:First, ensure the interface is intuitive and motivating. Fewer distractions and a clear information structure are always a plus.
  • Features:Evaluate text editing, annotation, form completion, digital signatures, and encryption. Choose a viewer with all the functions you frequently use.
  • Performance:Consider the tool's ability to handle large files and multiple documents for the workplace. A lightweight but capable mobile viewer increases workplace efficiency.
  • Security:Consider security features like password protection, encryption, and safe sharing, as well as other necessary safeguards.
  • File Compatibility:Make sure that the viewer is compatible with other formats besides those limited to PDF format such as eBooks, images, and more.
  • Community and Support:To have a lively user base and many support channels (forums, documentation) might be helpful for difficulties and features evoking.

Part 3. Comparing the Top 10 Best Open Source PDF Readers with Afirstsoft PDF

Website/Software Name

Compatibility

Pricing

User-Interface

File Formats

Enable Editing

Afirstsoft PDF

iOS, Windows

Free Software

Easy-to-use

PDFs only

Yes

WPS Office

Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS.

Premium:$29.99/year

Student/Home/License: $44.99/year

Easy-to-use

WPS, DOCX, RTF, TXT, HTML, ET, XLSX, CSV, DPS, PPTX, PDF, XML

Yes

Soda PDF

Windows, Linux, MacOS

Home Plan: $10/month

Premium Plan: $15/month

Business Plan: $20/month

User-friendly

PDFs Only

Yes

LibreOffice Draw

Windows, Linux, MacOS

Free software

Complex

DOC, DOCX, PDF, RTF, CSV, TXT, SXW, HTML

Yes

PDFAgile

Windows only

$4.9/month

Easy-to-use

JPG, PNG, Excel, Word, CAD, Image, PPT, Text

Yes

Qoppa

Windows, Linux, MacOS

Standard Pricing: $99 as a one-time fee

Pro Pricing: $139 as a one-time fee.

Difficult to use

IMGS, PDF, DOCS, EXCEL, PPT, TEXT

Yes

PDFsam Basic

Windows, Linux, MacOS

Free software

Easy-to-use

PDFs Only

Yes

Okular

Windows, Linux, Unix-like

Free software

Easy-to-use

PDF, JPEG, PNG, JPG, and many more

No(reading only)

Scribus

Windows

Free software

Easy-to-use

TIFF, JPEG, PSD, PDF, EPS, SVG, AI, XFIG

Add new text but cannot edit existing text

Sumatra PDF

Windows

Free software

Easy-to-use

PDF, eBook (epub, mobi), comic book (cbz/cbr), DjVu, XPS, CHM, image viewer

Not for advanced editing.

Part 4. Conclusion

Choosing the best open source PDF reader can significantly enhance your productivity and document management capabilities. Whether you need advanced features like OCR and digital signatures, or simply a lightweight viewer for fast and efficient reading, there is a solution to meet your needs. From the versatile Afirstsoft PDF to the lightweight Sumatra PDF, each tool offers unique benefits.

Consider factors like compatibility, user interface, features, performance, security, file compatibility, and community support to find the perfect PDF viewer for your requirements. By leveraging these powerful open-source tools, you can streamline your workflow and handle PDF documents more effectively.

Emily Davis

Editor-in-Chief

Emily Davis is one of the staff editors of Afirstsoft PDF Editor team. She is a dedicated staff editor with a keen eye for detail and a passion for refining content.

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