Top 10 PDF Readers for Linux: Enhance Your Document Viewing Experience

Last updated on March 17, 2023

Summary :

Linux users often struggle to find the perfect PDF reader for their needs. In this article, we will explore the best PDF readers for Linux by checking their overview, pros, and cons.

Best PDF Readers for Linux

Regarding accessibility and opening of documents, PDF is the go-to file type. PDF which stands for portable document format became synonymous with documentation after it got launched by Adobe. Linux as we know hasn’t been the popular choice amongst OS considering there are many visually appealing OS that has come to us as of yet. In this writeup, we will look for 10 PDF readers, of which PDF Gear and Adobe are front runners by the way for our Linux-based OS. Let us start exploring this software:

# 1. Zathura PDF Viewer

Zathura PDF Viewer is an amazing Linux/Ubuntu system software that can be easily used for the installation of PDFs. It is lightweight and has a fair utilization advantage over others. It has a clean interface and is almost like all PDF Viewers, but runs on a combination of keys or a key. It is very easy to use and responds directly when they had to deal with updates. It does require some extra learning, the UI also needs to happen again.

To install use the following command to install Zathura through the terminal window:

  • Sudo apt-get update -y
  • Sudo apt-get install -y zathura

PROS

  • It is lightweight
  • Can open itself after any update
  • Navigation through options and features is easy.

CONS

  • Cannot open all PDF files.
  • Have a probability of no thumbnail.
  • Embeds have a much higher learning curve compared to other apps.
Zathura PDF Viewer UI

Zathura PDF Viewer UI

# 2. Any Web Browser

The best option however will be any web browser. It does the needful. If you just have a requirement of just viewing any document, You do not need sophisticated software for this. Your web browser can do that for you. It saves you needless time and money and you do not have to worry about getting another software. Chrome, Chromium for example allows you to open PDF files on their browser.

PROS

  • Limits the possibility of new software installation for PDF viewing and reading.
  • Does not require any RAM to run it.
  • Mostly all PDF readers have the ability to open PDFs without much issue.

CONS

  • Lack of specialized viewing and reading.
  • No manipulating the textual flow appearing on the screen.
Google Chrome Linux PDF UI

Google Chrome Linux PDF UI

# 3. Evince PDF Viewer

The Linux-based OS PDF opener by Gnome, Evince PDF Viewer is an amazing add-on, you can easily download it from the repositories of any Linux-based OS including Ubuntu and Pacman to name a few.

It does not only help in opening documentary files in PDF format but it also has the capability of opening different types of file which includes: PDF, Postscript, djvu, tiff, dvi, XPS, SyncTex support with gedit, comics books (cbr,cbz,cb7 and cbt).

To install Evince on any Linux-based platform, paste the following command into a terminal window as per your OS:

  • Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian:$ sudo apt install evince
  • Fedora: $ sudo dnf install evince
  • Arch Linux and Manjaro: $ sudo pacman -S evince

PROS

  • Easy to use.
  • Supports multiple file openers.
  • From a trusted Linux Partner GNOME.

CONS

  • Too general and basic if you like customization.
  • Hard to use as usual with any Linux system software.
  • Complicated UI.
EVINCE UI for PDF Viewing

EVINCE UI for PDF Viewing

# 4. Atril PDF Viewer

Atril is another amazing PDF Viewer app that you can use. It is developed by MATE and integrates very well with MATE OS. That being said you can always use Atril for other Linux-based OS. In Linux, every use of any particular function is monitored by keys and commands, hence the basic functionality of the commands and keys is available along with the version of the software available there. Atril has some amazing functions to enter full screen and print a section of the webpage among its other functions.

To install Atril, type in the following command on the terminal window:

  • Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian: $ sudo apt install atril 
  • Fedora: $ sudo dnf install atril Arch Linux and 
  • Manjaro: $ sudo pacman -S atril

PROS

  • Good and simple to use and navigate.
  • Easy to use.
  • Provides specialized functions just like presentation mode.

CONS

  • Tad bit complex like any Linux OS System.
  • Has easy functions but still no customization to an extent of Windows or MAC PDF readers.
Atril PDF Viewer UI

Atril PDF Viewer UI

# 5. Okular

Okular is another amazing tool that you can utilize for your PDF needs. It’s an OS of Unix developed by KDE systems. One of the first OS to feature document opening file types of PDF, EPUB, PostScript, etc. It can embed 3D models, enhances optimization with subpixel rendering, have inbuilt textboxes, magnifiers, and other amazing tools that are often included as a by-product of the software.

To install use the following command on the terminal window:

  • Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian: $ sudo apt install okular
  • Fedora: $ sudo dnf install okular
  • Arch Linux and Manjaro: $ sudo pacman -S okular

PROS

  • Able to perform highly advanced functions.
  • Easy to install from the terminal window
  • The command is clear to connect repositories and servers.

CONS

  • Can be hard to navigate functions.
  • Time lag occurs between function switches.
Okular PDF Viewer UI

Okular PDF Viewer UI

# 6. Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is another amazing Linux-based PDF reader which has other platform-oriented PDF Viewers for Windows and MAC. It has an appealing UI and easily alterable system commands. It also supports the scanning of files and documents.

It allows for commenting functions and enables users to use digital signatures to ensure paramount authentication. It’s an intuitive UI-based platform that has high reliability on precision among other things that need consideration.

For all Linux-based systems, type the following words in order to install Foxit Reader through the terminal window:

  • $ cd /tmp
  • $ gzip -d FoxitReader_version_Setup.run.tar.gz
  • $ tar -xvf FoxitReader_version_Setup.run.tar
  • $ ./FoxitReader_version_Setup.run

PROS

  • Easy to use from a standard PDF opening software of Linux-based software.
  • The design and accessibility of options are intuitive.
  • You also get an additional feature of adding digital signatures.

CONS

  • The “Sales” window will pop up when opening PDF
  • Lack of the textual processing interaction flow.
Foxit Reader UI for Linux

Foxit Reader UI for Linux

# 7. Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe is a brand in its own right. They can never go out of vogue. Adobe will always remain relevant. With the Linux OS, Adobe does not release any updates of Linux OS here. For any person who wants to use it, they can access it pretty much for basic editing and viewing rights. It has all the basic annotation, digital signatures, edit metadata, and changing basic structure of the headers footers, etc.

To install Adobe PDF reader, simply type in the following command on the Terminal Window making your system locate the file and install it on the OS:

  • Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian: $ wget ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/unix/9.x/9.5.5/enu/AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i386linux_enu.deb 
  • Fedora: $ wget ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/unix/9.x/9.5.5/enu/AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i386linux_enu.rpm

PROS

  • It is the original creator of the entire document model of PDF.
  • Very easy to install on Linux by running specific and limited commands.
  • Much easier on the device because of the lightweight Linux OS compared to other OS like Windows or any iOS platforms.

CONS

  • Lack of updates as Adobe has discontinued sending updates for this platform.
Adobe Acrobat Reader UI

Adobe Acrobat Reader UI

# 8. MuPDF

MuPDF is a lightweight PDF reader that does a great job of displaying and rendering PDF documents with high accuracy and fidelity. It is available as an Open Source and a commercial license agreement as well. It also supports multiple viewing modes, such as single-page, continuous, and facing pages.

Apart from these, MuPDF has some of the most advanced PDF rendering options as well such as color management, Gamma Correction, and so on. It is one of the good, reliable, and efficient PDF Reader available for Linux.

You can download the installer pack here.

PROS

  • Ability to perform high-end functioning.
  • Its modular nature makes it fast and agile.
  • Easily opens XPS files like it’s no joke.

CONS

  • Hard to navigate around like every other Linux-based software.
  • Cannot install from the Terminal Window like with other supportable software that can be instructed for installation in the Linux Terminal Window.
MuPDF Reader UI

MuPDF Reader UI

# 9. QPDF View

QPDF is another great application that is amazing and it often uses Poppler for any external PDF support. It also enables access to another form of documentary support and which includes PS and DjVu. QPDF also externally uses a very sophisticated sense of tools to do its work apparently. It uses the QT toolkit for interfaces, It also uses CUPS for printing purposes, It supports outlines, thumbnails, and planes.

It also enhances and lets you enable scaling enhancing and sorting the window as per your needs and requirements. It very generously supports full-screen as well as presentation views. It helps you in searching text and accessing sophisticated toolbars, and configurable keyboard shortcuts are easy to change and efficiently directed as per primary requirements.

You can download the product here and the source code is also available.

PROS

  • Uses a wide variety of tools to add glare to your PDF.
  • Has an easy-to-use UI.
  • Provides enormous potential to accentuate the contents and brand statement of your PDF.

CONS

  • Too many dependable variables to think about here.
  • Too dependent on Linux repositories to carry out any function.
QPDF View UI

QPDF View UI

# 10. GNU GV

GNU GV is an excellent PDF tool that reads PDF as well as postscript documents. Developed and enhanced by Timothy O Theisen in later stages, its original creation was concluded by Johannes P. Along with it it also included a Ghost script interpreter. You can avail of this amazing documentary reader of the GNU OS in very simple steps. It can be availed through HTTPS and FTP protocols. If it does not work you can avail it on mirror websites.

According to the protocol being used, here are the downloadable links.

PROS

  • Light on the system.
  • Included with GNU OS.
  • Acts as a postscript reader.

CONS

  • Uses less reliable protocol addresses for download.
  • Manual download for other Linux OS systems.
GNU GV PDF Reader

GNU GV PDF Reader

Best PDF Reader for Linux: FAQs

Does Linux Support PDF?

For the most part yes, Linux does support PDF but not so much beyond some rough edits such as merging, compression, and other similar changes.

What is PDF Format in Linux?

Going by the internal PDF software, Linux does have a lot of resources that offer PDF viewing. For instance, Red Hat has XPDF in its system which assists in opening PDFs as well as XPS files without any issues.

How to Make PDF on Linux?

You can simply open Open Office or Libre Office and access the basic software without any hindrance. And then use the conversion tool to save the file in PDF format.

Conclusion

PDF is the go-to file when it comes to dealing with documents. We all kind of know that, however many do not have any idea of having PDF on Linux-based OS which has a slightly different tangent to the story. A lot of the files even PDFs in a Linux-based OS can simply be derived from an installation done through the Terminal Window. In order to use any other file format to create PDFs you can use some noteworthy OS like Open Office.

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