Monday, March 1, 2010

Five Free PDF viewers for Ubuntu.

Portable document format is one of the most popular file formats on the web. Of course Adobe is the market leader for PDF. However, there are lot of free alternatives around. Here are some free pdf viewers for ubuntu.

a) Evince
Home Page

Evince is a document viewer for multiple document formats. It currently supports pdf, postscript, djvu, tiff and dvi. The goal of evince is to replace the multiple document viewers that exist on the GNOME Desktop with a single simple application.
Evince is installed by default on the ubuntu desktop.

b) xpdf

Home Page
Xpdf is an open source viewer for Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Xpdf project also includes a PDF text extractor, PDF-to-PostScript converter, and various other utilities.

On ubuntu you can install xpdf as
$ sudo apt-get install xpdf

c) Okular

Home Page

This is from the kde stable . Okular is a universal document viewer based on KPDF for KDE 4.
On ubuntu you can install okular as
$ sudo apt-get install okular

d) epdf viewer

Home Page

epdf viewer is lightweight pdf viewer based on poppler libs. The aim of ePDFView is to make a simple PDF document viewer, in the lines of Evince but without using the GNOME libraries.

On ubuntu you can install epdfview as
$ sudo apt-get install epdfview

e) Gv

Home Page
gv allows to view and navigate through PostScript and PDF documents on an X display by providing a user interface for the ghostscript interpreter.

On ubuntu you can install gv as

$ sudo apt-get install gv


Anonymous said...

What makes these particularly 'for Ubuntu' ? This is general open source software that will run on any linux distribution and has not been written for Ubuntu, most existed before Ubuntu existed.
Would not "Five free PDF viewers for Linux" be a better title?

Anonymous said...

Hi! :-)

I tested them some months ago (so I'm not sure, for the very latest versions), but at that time, Okular was the only one leting you choose a different background color than the default bright white (eg. a more eye-friendly light grey).

Greets!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Some U.S. tax forms are available in pdf format that allow the user to fill out the blanks and save the form using Acroread. The saved form can be reloaded and editied. Is there a FOSS alternative that allows saving and editing?

Anonymous said...

Being that Ubuntu brought linux to the mainstream better than any distro before it; it should be a surprised that it is synonomous with linux. And while we're talking about linux...why not call it Gnu+Linux since Gnu was there before linux and is an important part of the FS world.

Maciej said...

i think okular is the best

Anonymous said...

I'm running Okular on Kubuntu and it is running really slow. Don't know why...

Anonymous said...

evince can also
1 deal with cbz, cbr comic archives
2 Ignores the "don't copy" flags in pdfs
3 Runs on windows (for those who don't have a choice at work)


Anonymous said...

I just did a check as Acrobat 9 doesn't open my tax forms (new not at all and old filled ones saying some features are no longer available). The default Ubuntu viewer (evince) doesn't save forms.

Okular seems to do the job can open my old filled forms, and can edit & save the current ones.

oub said...


using Hardy none of the pdf viewers was able to display correctly a PDF document which had
That PDF file uses embedded CMap streams (encoding information for
16-bit fonts). The xpdf author told me that xpdf 3.03 which do this, but I was surprised that non of the other pdf viewer could not display the document neither.

Uwe Brauer

Anonymous said...

I have a pdf document that is around 280 pages long. I was surprised to see that NONE of these pdf viewers were able to view the document reasonably. The file was large enough that it completely choked the program, and in short was unusable.

Needless to say, I was very disappointed. I ended up having to use adobe, which is always slow. but I am at least able to view the document.

These programs have done a great job being quick and light. However, there needs to be better support (IMHO) for larger files. I do not like being forced to use adobe on my linux system.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with first poster ... why is this
particular to Ubuntu? Should have been titled,
"Five free PDF Viewers for Your Linux Distro"

regards, mjt, author, "Inside Linux"

luddis said...

Foxit software has released a linux version of their foxit reader. It's small, fast and has a very good print setup. The best I've found for linux. It's not open source, but it's free and very nice to use.

speje said...

If you use Okular and want it to run faster (and have enough) memory go to:

configure -> performance

and set it to aggressive, and see if that helps you.