Portable Document Format (PDF) files had become the global standard for document exchange by the time the format became ISO standardized and was released as an open format in 2008. Soon PDF became a standard export function of software programs, and standalone readers soon appeared on the market. It did not take long for free mobile device PDF readers to appear.
The format was originally developed simply to encapsulate the layout of a document and included the fonts and graphics required to present it. Today, PDF files generally contain many more elements, including interactive elements allowing annotation, form-filling, video content and 3D objects and provide for encryption, attachments, and digital signature. There are many applications available now for viewing PDF files. The ones discussed here are five of the best free PDF readers to download and use on Android devices.
Xodo PDF Reader & Editor
Fast all-in-one PDF reader with real-time annotating capability
Xodo lets you read, edit, annotate, fill out forms, sign, and share. A powerful free Android PDF reader from Xodo Technologies, it provides for real-time annotating and auto-syncs the edits you make with Google Drive, Dropbox, and oneDrive.
- Using Xodo as a PDF Reader you can:
- Re-flow text to a size convenient to you
- Display table of contents
- Crop page to fit screen
- Open multiple PDF documents in tabs
- Bookmark pages
- Open, read and annotate Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files and save as PDF
- Fill out forms and sign documents
- Annotate PDFs in real time with others using Xodo Connect
- Use Night Mode in dark situations
- Scroll vertically in two pages and cover mode
As a PDF Editor and Annotator, Xodo enables you to:
- Write directly on the document
- Highlight, strikeout and underline text
- Insert shapes – lines, arrows, circles, etc.
- Navigate to an annotation by tapping it in a summary
- Merge or split files and rotate pages
- Use a number of select styluses
- Use thumbnail browser to change, insert and delete pages
In addition to filling out forms, and saving and sending them, the free Android PDF reader provides for signing by hand and saving the signature. It can also scan and open image files to create new PDFs, and you can use a blank PDF to take notes. It includes a file manager which provides thumbnails and allows copying, moving and deleting files and folders. Xodo is compatible with most other PDF readers and is available in Chinese, Italian and Polish in addition to English.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
The free, trusted leader for viewing PDF documents
For many people, the Adobe name is synonymous with the Portable Document Format. They may even have started using Adobe Acrobat way back when the format was first developed. Adobe Acrobat Reader is still possibly the most trusted reader for reliably viewing, annotating, and signing PDFs.
Adobe’s free Android PDF reader lets you quickly open PDF documents from both email clients and web browsers with your choice of view. Sticky notes, as well as drawing tools, allow you to annotate and you can complete forms and e-sign documents as well as open, sign and review scanned PDFs. You can store, share and print PDFs from your device. Adobe Acrobat Reader comes with a free Adobe Creative Cloud account and you can also connect with Dropbox.
Access to Adobe’s various online services provides many additional features including the ability to create PDF files, convert Microsoft Word and image files to PDF, save PDFs as Word and Excel files. Adobe Acrobat Reader is available in a wide variety of languages.
Google PDF Viewer
Automatically load Google’s free Android PDF viewer whenever you open a PDF
As part of Google’s Android for Work strategy, the Google PDF Viewer is a free application optimized for use on Android phones and tablets. It uses the entire screen to display a document with just a removable Search bar at the top. It also opens automatically to accommodate any PDF file whether it’s a file already on the device or one being downloaded. It is strictly a viewer providing reading, searching and copying functions, and enables printing from your device. Consequently, as a lightweight application, it is fast loading and can quickly and easily handle almost any size file. Both portrait and landscape view are available.
While it is designed chiefly for reading PDFs when Google Drive (where PDF viewing and more is directly available) is not accessible, it is also very useful for reading confidential documents and for other off-line PDF document viewing.
Convenient for everyone reading and writing on the go
Create with Microsoft Word, and read, edit and share with the Word PDF reader. For anybody working on a documentation project, whether writer, journalist or student, the ability to read and write quickly and easily anywhere can save a huge amount of time. Having the interaction between creating, saving to PDF, viewing and sharing a document all with Word is an even greater convenience.
You can read a PDF, convert it to Word to make changes, edit it and then save it PDF. In addition to all the other reading and writing functions Word accommodates, being able to quickly share and collaborate on a project makes using the Word free Android PDF reader a great time saver. You can share ideas and everyone involved with the project can stay informed on the changes made and those being discussed. It’s possible to review all previous versions of the document and to manage permissions.
PDF Viewer – PDF File Reader & Ebook Reader
A great looking interface on a fast, lightweight PDF Reader
PDF Viewer is a very fast free Android PDF reader from Tapi LLC. It has a very distinct, great-looking interface where pages are viewed full screen. It’s design-for-reading format provides for an excellent reading experience beyond reading business or school documents. It supports eBooks and Comic files, XPS and DjVu files, in addition to PDF.
- Simple, easy to use interface
- Optimal viewing portrait or landscape
- Highlighting and book-marking capability
- Search function with intriguing thumbnail display
- Support for reading eBooks and comics
- Attractive interface design
PDF Viewer is a very user-friendly utility that has been designed well to meet the requirements for viewing PDF files and other reading formats on Android devices.
Interested in various PDF Tools for your PC? Check out our Free PDF Readers and Tools for Windows software category.