8 Best PDF Document Viewers for Linux Systems

This article is the continuation of our ongoing series about Linux Top Tools, in this series we will introduce you most famous open source tools for Linux systems.

With the increase in use of portable document format (PDF) files on the Internet for on-line books and other related documents, having a PDF viewer/reader is very important on desktop Linux distributions.

There are several PDF viewers/readers that one can use on Linux and they all offer related basic and advanced features.

Suggested Read: 20 Free Open Source Softwares I Found in Year 2015

In this article, we shall look at 8 important PDF viewers/readers that can help you when dealing with PDF files in Linux systems.

1. Okular

It is universal document viewer which is also a free software developed by KDE. It can run on Linux, Windows, Mac OSX and many other Unix-like systems. It supports many document formats such as PDF, XPS, ePub, CHM, Postscript and many others.

It has following features:

  1. Embedded 3D model
  2. Subpixel rendering
  3. Table selection tool
  4. Geometric shapes
  5. Adding textboxes, and stamps
  6. Copy images to clipboard
  7. Magnifier and many more

To install Okular PDF reader in Linux, use apt or yum to get it as shown:

$ sudo apt-get install okular
OR
# yum install okular
Okular Linux PDF Reader

Okular Linux PDF Reader

Visit Homepage: https://okular.kde.org/

2. Evince

It is a lightweight document viewer which comes as the default on Gnome desktop environment. It supports document formats such as PDF, PDF, Postscript, tiff, XPS, djvu, dvi, plus many more.

It has features such as:

  1. Search tool
  2. Page thumbnails for easy reference
  3. Document Indexes
  4. Document Printing
  5. Encrypted Document Viewing

To install Evince PDF reader in Linux, use:

$ sudo apt-get install evince
OR
# yum install evince
Evince Linux PDF Reader

Evince Linux PDF Reader

Visit Homepage: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Evince

3. Foxit Reader

It is a cross platform, small and fast secure PDF reader. The latest version as of this writing is Foxit reader 7 which offers some security features that protect against vulnerabilities.

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It is features-rich with features including:

  1. An intuitive user interface
  2. Support for scanning documents into PDF
  3. Allows shared viewing of documents
  4. Commenting tools
  5. Add/verify digital signatures and many more.

To install Foxit Reader on Linux systems, follow below instructions:

$ cd /tmp
$ gzip -d FoxitReader_version_Setup.run.tar.gz
$ tar -xvf FoxitReader_version_Setup.run.tar
$ ./FoxitReader_version_Setup.run
Foxit Linux PDF Reader

Foxit Linux PDF Reader

Visit Homepage: https://www.foxitsoftware.com/products/pdf-reader/

4. Firefox (PDF.JS)

It is a general-purpose web based PDF viewer built with HTML5. It is also an open source, community driven project that is supported by Mozilla labs.

To install PDF.js in Linux systems, follow the below instructions:

$ git clone git://github.com/mozilla/pdf.js.git
$ cd pdf.js
$ npm install -g gulp-cli
$ npm install
$ gulp server

and then you can open

http://localhost:8888/web/viewer.html

Visit Homepage: https://github.com/mozilla/pdf.js

5. XPDF

It is an old and open source PDF viewer for the X windows system that is supported on Linux and other Unix like operating systems. It additionally includes a text extractor, PDF-to-PostScript converter and many other utilities.

It has an old interface, therefore user who care so much about nice graphics may not enjoy using it so much.

To install XPDF Viewer, use following command:

$ sudo apt-get install xpdf
OR
# yum install xpdf
XPDF Linux PDF Reader

XPDF Linux PDF Reader

Visit Homepage: http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/home.html

6. GNU GV

It is an old PDF and Postscript document viewer that works on an X display by providing a graphical user interface for the Ghostscript interpreter.

It is a improved derivation of Ghostview developed by Timothy O. Theisen, which was originally developed by Johannes Plass. It also has old an graphical user interface.

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To install Gnu GV PDF viewer in Linux, type:

$ sudo apt-get install gv
OR
# yum install gv
Gnu GV Linux PDF Viewer

Gnu GV Linux PDF Viewer

Visit Homepage: https://www.gnu.org/software/gv/

7. Mupdf

Mupdf is a free, small, lightweight, fast and complete PDF and XPS viewer. It is highly-extensible because of its modular nature.

A handful of its notable features include:

  1. Supports a highly quality anti-aliased graphics renderer
  2. Supports PDF 1.7 with transparency, encryption, hyperlinks, annotations, searching plus many more
  3. Reads XPS and OpenXPS documents
  4. Written modularly to support additional features
  5. Importantly, it can also handle pdf encoded with Chinese GBK well
MuPDF Viewer for Linux

MuPDF Viewer for Linux

Visit Homepage: http://mupdf.com/

8. Qpdfview

qpdfview is a tabbed document viewer for Linux that uses Poppler for PDF support. It also supports other document formats as well, includin PS and DjVu.

Below is a list of its features and components:

  1. Uses Qt toolkit for interfaces
  2. Uses CUPS for printing purposes
  3. Supports outline, properties and thumbnail panes
  4. Supports scale, rotate and fit functions
  5. Also supports fullscreen and presentation views
  6. Enables text search
  7. Supports configurable toolbars
  8. Supports configurable keyboard shortcuts and many others
qpdfview for Linux

qpdfview for Linux

Visit Homepage: https://launchpad.net/qpdfview

Summary

Many people these days prefer using PDF files because many on-line documents and books now come in form PDF files. Therefore getting a PDF viewer that meets your needs is vital.

Suggested Read: 6 Best PDF Page Cropping Tools For Linux

I hope you find this article useful and if we’ve missed any tool in the above list, do share in the comments and don’t forget to share your additional thoughts, you can leave a comment in the comment section.

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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51 Responses

  1. Derek says:

    I very much enjoy using PDF Studio. PDF Studio is a versatile tool for manipulating and annotating PDFs. This is the perfect replacement to Adobe Acrobat(I use Ubuntu). There is a slight learning curve. However the installation is very simple. I use it to edit my notes as a college student.

  2. Lurkin4pdf4Linux says:

    Could you please add whether the above viewers support fillable forms. Thank you.

  3. senthil says:

    does anyone knows PDF editor tool for centos 6 or 7 supported application ???

  4. mgundogdu says:

    qpdfviewer default on Manjaro and its work everything with pdf files.

  5. Mauro says:

    qpdfview is the best I’ve come around. FOSS, nice rendering, nice annotations. However for everyday things I stick with eVince.

  6. nsynet says:

    OKULAR /Evince / xpdf all based on poppler, and have problem when handing GBK charset, for Chinese people we suggest not use these pdf reader.

  7. Luiz L. Marins says:

    Greetings … Is there any software in Linux to convert pdf to odt (or docx)?

  8. ac says:

    At the moment Foxit is the most reliable PDF viewer (I mean – it will render all documents without any issues and have good support for annotations/comments and highlighting).

    Evince has problems with annotations/comments, more advanced PDF’s (not always are rendered as intended) and it’s quite slow for larger documents.

    PDF.js works well with smaller docs – it’s quite good to preview downloaded PDF’s in the browser, but is very slow).

    Didn’t tried Okular since it has too much dependencies for GTK based environments.

    MuPDF is missing in this list – it’s very fast so I use to quick preview documents…

  9. Aaron Kili K says:

    Sure will collect all info and update you with that

  10. sony K Sunny says:

    Could you add any repository details for yum?

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