Aug 24, 2011

Open Source PDF reader for windows as an alternative to Adobe reader


With the latest javascript vulnerabilities in Adobe reader and bloat it has aquired over the years, I’ve been thinking of moving the network I’m in charge of to a different product for PDF reading on Windows.

The ideal PDF reader should be something that is:

  • Small in size (Adobe reader is more than 200MB these days after installation).
  • As secure by default as possible (For example, javascript disabled by default).
  • Nice looking and easy to use interface.
  • Not bloated with features (I just want to read PDFs, that’s it).
  • Does not install any toolbars/unwanted add ons/spyware.
  • Does not display any ads while viewing PDFs.
  • Preferably Open Source. (this pretty much ensures no ads).
  • Full Unicode support.

Idealy , something like evince from gnome, will be the best option, but unfortunately that’s not available on Windows.

Foxit is an option, as it is small, and has a nice interface. But it still has javascript enabled by default which might lead to vulnerabilities – and it installs a toolbar , and displays ads while reading PDFs which is distracting.

There is a site dedicated to Open Source PDF readers,, however, the Windows pdf readers each have their problems, mostly the interface is not as convenient (as evince, adobe or foxit).

Here’s a list of all PDF software from WikiPedia. There’s a “Viewers” section for each OS.

What Windows PDF reader would you recommend ?


Evince is working on Windows now, but there’s no binaries yet, so you’ll have to build it yourself.

Related posts:

  1. Adobe Reader – How to disable automatic updates on a computer that is offline?
  2. Adobe Reader hangs on Citrix
  3. Adobe Reader keep uninstalling when deployed via Group Policy
  4. How to automate PDF printing
  5. Can’t Print Oracle Reports Using OraRRP and Adobe Reader

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