When it comes to distributing forms and other information over the Internet, the file type of choice tends to be PDF. This file type is popular because it has decent compression rates, can prevent editing, allows for interesting visual elements, and allows interactivity (especially when it comes to filling out forms on the computer).
Thankfully, there are plenty of applications all over the web which can read these files. However, they all have different feature sets as well as other pros and cons. So, what are the best Linux PDF viewers?
Evince is the default PDF viewer which comes with the Gnome desktop environment. Therefore, it is automatically included with distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE when Gnome is chosen over KDE. This PDF viewer excels in being extremely lightweight and quick to load. It is also very easy to navigate around in, as there is just a left panel which shows small snapshots of each page of the PDF or a small index listing of all sections in the PDF (if it has been formatted correctly to do so), and then the rest of the window goes towards displaying the actual document.
Besides very small features like bookmarks, it only has view control functions such as zoom and fit to window.
On the other side of the spectrum is Okular, the default PDF viewer for the KDE desktop environment. It is included in distributions which come with KDE, such as Kubuntu, Fedora’s KDE spin, and openSUSE when KDE is chosen over Gnome. While Evince may have specialized in being lightweight, Okular is much heavier but includes a good number of useful features.
Okular also boasts support for a number of other file types, including Postscript, DjVu, CHM, XPS, ePub, TIFF, DIV, FictionBook, ComicBook, and others.
If you want to use a PDF viewer which comes from the developers who defined the PDF format in the first place, then you should take a look at Adobe Reader. It is essentially what you’ve come to expect from the Windows version: feature-filled, but not as lightweight as the other available solutions. However, you do get plenty of features that you’ll definitely not see in other PDF viewers, such as the ability to sign and configure security preferences, have it read out loud, and more.
There are also some useful features which are included in some applications like FoxItReader (see below), such as automatic scrolling.
Last but definitely not least of all Linux PDF viewers is FoxItReader. This PDF viewer is known for being quick, fairly feature-filled, and cross platform. It’s also the PDF viewer of choice for those who like to have portable apps on their flash drives. Thankfully there multiple options available for Linux, downloadable in a DEB, RPM, and Bz2 package, so it can be installed on most distributions.
You’re never out of options when it comes to PDF viewers. Of course, there are still others which you can choose from, but from Linux’s smaller list of viewers (when compared to Windows), these are definitely the most popular and outstanding choices available. Of course, it all depends on your own preferences as to which one is best for you, but you can’t go wrong with using any of these solutions.
What Linux PDF viewer do you use, and why do you like it the most? Let us know in the comments!