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That's why you don't need Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader is not only unnecessary, it has a history of being an application you wouldn't want on your system. From being extremely heavy and slow to having a long string of security flaws, Adobe Reader has never been a very good app for the average user. Adobe Reader speed and security recently improved Adobe Reader X adds Protected Mode for Windows users, Android gets new features [News] Adobe Reader X adds Protected Mode for Windows users, Android gets new features [News] Read more, but they haven't made it sufficiently improved.

You probably don't need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. In 2017, there's a good chance your browser or operating system (OS) already has PDF support built in.

Some people will appreciate some of Adobe Reader's lesser-used features, such as the ability to digitally sign documents. However, it can be said that Adobe Reader has too many features. Features like allowing PDFs to execute JavaScript code haven't been surprising in the past, and it's clear that most people would be better off with a faster, minimal, and more secure PDF reader.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome has a built-in PDF viewer. It has been included with Google Chrome since 2010. It makes opening PDF files extremely fast online, loading directly into your browser. Unfortunately, Chrome's PDF viewer doesn't have many features. Or rather, you basically have none, unless rotating your PDF files is an absolute necessity.

However, it is fast. Also, Google Chrome is now the most popular browser in the world, so there is a good chance that you already have it installed. Google Chrome can also act as your default local PDF viewer. Right mouse button your PDF, and select Properties . Select Change , followed by Google Chrome . Then select Apply .

Note that this process is the same for Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or any other PDF viewer you want to use as your default.


Like Google Chrome, Firefox has a built-in PDF viewer. In fact, Mozilla has included a PDF viewer since Firefox 19; we are now using Firefox 51. Who said Mozilla is not innovative?! Despite being ahead of Google Chrome, Firefox's PDF viewer offers just as many minutes of features.

The Firefox PDF viewer is not actually a browser add-on. It is written in JavaScript, the same scripting language used by web pages in your browser. This means that the Firefox PDF viewer is completely isolated, in the same way that web pages are, giving you additional security benefits. When you use a plug-in like Adobe Acrobat, your browser's built-in security doesn't necessarily apply, instead you trust the plug-in's developers.


Microsoft didn't introduce a built-in PDF reader until Windows 8. Reader It's still available for Windows 10, but it's a modern app. And there is another option. Let's take a quick look at both.


Reader is no longer included with your Windows installation. However, it's fast, free, and can display two pages at once. Reader opens your PDF files within its native Windows environment, without a browser. Other than that, Reader offers the same functionality as Chrome and Firefox.

Microsoft Edge

The native Windows 10 browser 5 reasons why you shouldn't switch to Microsoft Edge 5 reasons why you shouldn't switch to Microsoft Edge Is it worth using Microsoft Edge while Chrome, Firefox and Opera still exist? Is Edge good enough to be your main browser? Read More PDF files viewed while using Microsoft Edge will automatically open within the browser window, rather than opting into an external app (unless you've dictated otherwise).

Feature-wise, Microsoft Edge uses the browser's PDF viewer line and offers very little. Plus, the heavily armored annotation feature How to Stay Productive with Microsoft Edge How to Stay Productive with Microsoft Edge Microsoft Edge has some great productivity features. From built-in tools to time-saving extensions, here are a few that can help you stay productive. Read More However, it is quite a useful addition for those who have made Microsoft Edge their browser of choice.

Mac, Linux, iOS and Android

We assume that Adobe Reader is not required on other operating systems. Mac Users Have Preview 4 Best Free Mac Preview Alternatives to Read PDF Files 4 Best Free Mac Preview Alternatives to Read PDF Files If you are looking for a free preview replacement for your PDF reading habit PDF, here you will find the best free options available. Read more . Linux distributions come with Okular or Evince, the 7 best PDF viewers for Linux, and Adobe Reader is just one of them. 7 best Linux viewers for Linux, and Adobe Reader is just one of them. In Internet. Linux hasn't always had the best PDF support, however, times have changed. Let's see your options! Read more depending on the environment..

Android has a built-in PDF viewer, just like iPhones and iPads. While Adobe Reader is available for all of these operating systems, you don't really need to download or use it. Also, there are better options available for each OS.

Alternative PDF readers for Windows

We've Covered a Lot of PDF Viewers PDF Reader vs. Browser:Which PDF Viewer Is Best for You? PDFReader vs. Browser:Which PDF Viewer is Best for You? A PDF reader is often one of the first tools people install on their new computer. It's not glamorous or sexy, but it's a vital tool in your productivity arsenal. Or is that it? Read More Foxit Reader, Sumatra PDF, and Nitro Reader all offer free versions with good features that should be enough for most users. They are generally faster and lighter than Adobe Reader, losing some less-used features in favor of speed.

Alternative PDF readers have closed all Adobe spaces, with many free options still offering exclusive features. How to use Gmail and Google Docs instead of Adobe Reader How to use Gmail and Google Docs instead of Adobe Reader Read More after all. With this in mind, most people will find that the above solutions will provide a better experience.

In addition to this, alternative PDF readers are also usually more secure. 6 Light Alternatives to Open Office and PDF Files 6 Light Alternatives to Open Office and PDF Files Don't clog your system with superfluous bulk. For occasional viewing of PDF and Office files, you can use compact applications and may not need any additional software. Read More The additional features of Adobe Reader add up to a larger target for attackers to exploit.

What is your view?

We've looked at exactly why you no longer need Adobe Reader or Acrobat. In addition, we have explained why it is no longer necessary to insert an additional plug-in in your browser. Since most modern browsers now have PDF support, most people can eradicate that potential security vulnerability.

What is your favorite PDF viewer? Do you stick with the default viewer for your operating system? Or do you prefer an alternative? Let us know your thoughts below!

Originally written by Chris Hoffman on March 25, 2013..