Sometimes you just need to view, edit, and markup a PDF on your phone or tablet. Whether you’re a student writing notes on your textbook or a businessperson electronically signing files, these apps can help you out.
These aren’t PDF readers meant for comic books or just simple readers – they’re made specifically for editing, highlighting, annotating, commenting, and signing. They’re much more than PDF viewers in that sense. For editing all kinds of office documents, you’ll want to check on these amazing office suites.
So what are your options for a great PDF reader and editor? Read on to find out.
Adobe Reader (Free)
Obviously, the biggest player in the room is Adobe, and their app certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s simple, and arguably the prettiest and most modern of the apps in this list. It isn’t exactly Material Design, but it’s nice and gets the job done.
It opened our test document quickly, as seen below. A small ribbon along the top allows for editing, and once you tap on an option, you get further options for customizing it like pen size, color, etc.
It’s relatively intuitive and easy to use. As a completely free and ad-free package, it’s a fantastic option for those on a budget. Add comments, text, signatures, and draw to your heart’s content.
For a simple, free, no-hassle experience, you can stop right here with Adobe Reader.
For an overload of features, you’ll want to go with ezPDF Reader. It has an older aesthetic, as you can see by the skeuomorphic bookcase view above. The action bar is also this odd red/orange color that just looks out of place.
Aside from the looks, though, it’s actually super useful. The top bar while viewing a PDF allows for making all sorts of annotations: adding text, commenting, drawing, creating shapes and so on. The controls are a bit less intuitive here, with some options having an undo button and some relying on an eraser. You can rearrange the top bar options with the X on the far right, which seems more like it should be an exit button.
The confusion doesn’t stop there – there’s also no clear way to Save or Save As. The Save As function is actually buried in the bottom of the menu accessed with the three dot button in the lower right, but no default Save option. The app just seems to save as you go along.
There is also a text reflow feature, a voice-reading function, automatic page-flipping, and the ability to export your annotations as an FDF. If there’s a feature you need, it’s probably here; it just might not be in the nicest packaging.
Unfortunately, ezPDF Reader is only free for 15 days before you’ll have to fork over $3.99. Still, that’s plenty of time to give it a try and see if it’s worth the money.
In the looks department, PDF Max is right up there in the “nearly modern” category along with Adobe Reader. Once you get into the reading and annotating, though, things start looking a lot nicer.
A bar along the side has a bunch of options for editing your document. Tap on one, and some functions appear along the top: change the color, change the thickness or size, undo, redo, and many more options. It’s surprisingly intuitive, and we found it to have the easiest-to-use editing tools of any apps featured here.
It’s got all of the usual features – filling out forms, signing, commenting, drawing – as well as some nice extras like a text reflow view, text-to-speech reading, and cloud storage syncing.
The biggest downside is that the ad-free version is a whopping $7.99. The good news is that the free version is fully functional, but supported by advertisements. Despite having used the free version of PDF Max for a few weeks now on and off, we have yet to run into any intrusive ads.
The Winner Is…
The most complete and intuitive option here is easily PDF Max.
If you don’t need all the features of PDF Max, Adobe Reader is a solid free option without the frills.
ezPDF Reader could be worth a look only if you find that PDF Max doesn’t have a feature you desire, or you don’t want to shell out $7.99 for the ad-free version.
If you’re going to be working with a lot of PDFs, don’t miss these incredible free online tools that could save you a lot of work.
What’s Your Favorite PDF Editor?
There are lots of other PDF readers and editors out there. We looked at SmartQ Reader [No Longer Available], Foxit MobilePDF, and iAnnotate [No Longer Available] (which has a great iOS version), but they didn’t quite stack up to those on this list.
What is your favorite PDF reader, editor, or annotator? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Using stylus pen Via Shutterstock