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.

Suggested Read: 10 Best Markdown Editors for Linux

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.

Suggested Read: 9 Best File Comparison and Difference (Diff) Tools for Linux

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.

Best Affordable Linux and WordPress Services For Your Business
Outsource Your Linux and WordPress Project and Get it Promptly Completed Remotely and Delivered Online.

If You Appreciate What We Do Here On TecMint, You Should Consider:

  1. Stay Connected to: Twitter | Facebook | Google Plus
  2. Subscribe to our email updates: Sign Up Now
  3. Get your own self-hosted blog with a Free Domain at ($3.45/month).
  4. Become a Supporter - Make a contribution via PayPal
  5. Support us by purchasing our premium books in PDF format.
  6. Support us by taking our online Linux courses

We are thankful for your never ending support.

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.

Your name can also be listed here. Got a tip? Submit it here to become an TecMint author.

RedHat RHCE and RHCSA Certification Book
Linux Foundation LFCS and LFCE Certification Preparation Guide

You may also like...

51 Responses

  1. Marcos says:

    I have just tried evince, okular and foxitreader, no doubt, foxitreader is much better for study purposes and easy way to highlight and making notes…

  2. Mario says:

    After a probed many options, found Master pdf editor, a very nice option to read and modify pdfs. They have a free options, for me, it’s a must have. Very complete.

    • Aaron Kili says:

      @Mario

      Many thanks for mentioning, we will check it out.

    • Albin says:

      Had been using Master PDF, which is a very polished and complete editor. I only use rarely and for basic marking, and after an update today the free version is forcing a watermark “Created with Master PDF” which is not acceptable for the purpose. I’m looking to replace it.

  3. Jacob says:

    Actually, I didn’t even know before that Foxit supports unix distros so far. But I’ve tried out its features when I was on Windows and hands down, it’s a splendid tool to read documents, but not the best one in order to edit them.

    Sure, it recognizes text, but doesn’t allow you to replace or delete some, just to draw something over. Thus I prefer to use this thing in order to work with pdf-documents. It’s pretty nice solution for Linux, because it works very fast despite it’s online tool, and they have applications for all the common systems as well

  4. Chris says:

    I have found DocHub to be very useful and similar to AdobeReader – a good alternative for people on Linux is. No need to install, and is able to read and sign documents.

  5. Anandesh says:

    FoxIt is no longer supported for Debian systems.

  6. Joe says:

    is there a decent multi threaded PDF reader that can use all CPU cores. I need to search within files a lot. MuPDF doesn’t seem to be well maintained.

  7. Alexandre says:

    Very helpful list! Thank you for this, it saved my college homework today!

  8. Edo says:

    I needed a PDF app to sign and complete forms: LibreOffice’s viewer is the best so far (given you have a jpg image of your signature and don’t need a digital signature).

  9. David says:

    Add/verify digital signatures and many more is one of the most important features that lack this programs.
    I tried Foxit and wasn’t able to find the feature in the “free” version.

  10. Mikkle says:

    Usually use Okular but didn’t want to pull in all these Qt4 dependencies so I’m trying out qpdfview. Very nice! Even the ability to add bookmarks and annotation (highlighting and notes). A bit less feature-complete than Okular, but way fewer dependencies, lean, and works great.

    • Aaron Kili K says:

      @Mikkle

      Yap, dealing with a lot of dependencies can be so nagging at times, i actually use Okular as well but now i have to give Qpdfview some time and find its strong points comprehensively. Thanks for stopping by and for the wonderful feedback.

Got something to say? Join the discussion.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.