The 12 Best Free PDF Readers For Mac In 2022 [Updated List]

A PDF (Portable Document Format) reader is any software that will open a PDF file, probably the most recognizable document format in the world.

Your downloadable bank statements, company offer letter, credit card statements they’re probably all in PDF format. PDF is one of the most commonly used file types owing to its compatibility with different operating systems and the fact that it retains the formatting of the document most of the time.

PDF files are difficult to edit, which preserves the integrity of the document which is why most of the confidential documents are shared in PDF format.

Mac users can now easily view PDF files and documents using various software programs available online.

Users can benefit in numerous ways from these programs, as they not only allow users to view PDFs but also manipulate PDF documents and fill simple forms.

In this article, we’ll list the top 12 PDF readers for Mac and outline their various features.

1. Adobe Acrobat

Adobe not only invented the trusty PDF document in the first place, but the company has also created some top-notch apps to manage them.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a great example, and it supports both Windows and Mac devices. The software allows you to create, edit and convert PDF files with ease. Whether you happen to be using a desktop PC, laptop or tablet, Acrobat lets you turn any paper document into a PDF file.

You just have to snap a photo of the piece of paper and upload it to Adobe’s platform, then you can subsequently edit it.

Acrobat also lets you convert PDFs into any Microsoft Office file format, preserving all fonts and formatting. Thanks to integration with Excel, you can even edit data in scanned tables, making it easier to edit and analyze financial data.

Collaboration is also built in, so you can keep track of the changes you and your colleagues make to PDF documents. Acrobat is capable of detecting the differences between two versions of the same PDF, too. As usual with Adobe, though, pricing is relatively expensive for what you actually get.

2. PDFSam

PDFSam is a relatively new release that has been met with mixed reviews.

This free PDF reader for Mac is designed for splitting and merging documents. Hence, it is called SAM.

Some users report problems while using the application, though generally, it is reported to be user-friendly and quick for the average user.

Key Features:

  • Reorder pages when needed
  • Split and Merge
  • Compose documents by dragging and dropping
  • Extract sections as separate PDFs

3. Javelin PDF Reader

Javelin PDF Reader is just that: a free PDF reader.

No extra features like editing or converting litters the program interface. Everything is spotless and easy to read and understand. The search feature isn’t the best to be had, but it works well as is.

It can launch a PDF in full screen to make reading easier, and you can just click the screen to move down the PDF pages. This PDF program runs on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.


  • Advanced encryption options.
  • Mobile version lets you access and manage metadata.


  • The installation process is unnecessarily complicated.
  • Occasional clunky performance.

4. Readdle PDF Expert

Readdle PDF Expert is a robust and easy-to-use solution for managing business documents. And with a four-and-a-half star rating in the Mac App Store, it seems to be one of the most popular options out there for Mac users.

The software gives you the ability to read, edit and annotate PDF documents from a central dashboard. One of the great things about PDF Expert is that it’s fast and slick to use. Thanks to smooth scrolling and a fast search function, you can quickly find what you’re looking for across multiple PDF files.

This app lets you edit images, text and links, plus the software can automatically detect fonts, size and opacity of writing.

Plus, if you happen to own an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, you can add annotations and notes to documents on-the-go. Like most PDF apps out there, PDF Expert comes with a free download option, but the paid version provides a license for up to three macs.

5. iSkysoft PDF Editor

iSkysoft PDF Editor is a premium software for viewing as well as editing PDF files. It has an easy-to-use interface and a Microsoft Word-styled ribbon-like interface.

In the free trial, you, of course, miss out on a few features like OCR function, you cannot convert more than 5 pages to PDF and combine more than 50 files at a time but the software is perfect for viewing PDFs. iSkysoft is a paid software but there is a free trial that could be used for reading purposes.

Key Features:

  • Easily edit single lines and paragraphs of text using intuitive modes to help modify text style, size and font type.
  • Easily split, insert, replace, crop and even extract pages effortlessly. Also modify page boxes or add labels to your pages.
  • Edit PDFs Smoothly
  • Work better with graphics by cropping, removing, copying and pasting, replacing, adding, extracting or rotating images.
  • Annotate
  • Convert your PDFs to and from other file formats.
  • Use diverse interactive form controls to create PDF fillable forms. Also fill out tax forms, business forms, and more quickly and easily.

6. PDFelement

As high-quality as Adobe Reader is due to its constant updates and improvements, you can also look into alternative programs to perform many of the same tasks.

PDFelement for Mac, as the best alternative PDF Reader to Adobe Acrobat for Mac, acts as both a PDF editor and reader that provides you full functions for PDF editing and a better experience reading PDF on Mac.

This tool lets you add text, images, bookmarks, and more to your PDF. In addition, a user can also highlight text, underline, use strike-through features on the text, and crop PDF pages on Mac.

Watermarks can also be used to protect your PDF files on Mac. You can even edit and convert scanned PDF files with PDFelement Pro.

It’s an free PDF reader so you don’t have to pay any money for upgrading your PDF reading experience. There is also a paid version with advanced functionality that starts at $59.95.

Key Features of PDFelement:

  • Combine or split PDFs, organize pages, and easily fill out PDF forms.
  • Quickly mark up and annotate PDFs with various annotation tools.
  • Convert PDF to Word and other formats, or create PDFs from Webpages, images, and text files.
  • Add, delete or edit text, images, graphics, links, watermarks, and more.
  • Easily add watermarks, passwords, and signatures to PDF documents.
  • Edit and convert scanned or image-based PDFs using the OCR feature.

7. Skim

Skim is a popular powerful PDF Reader on Mac that is tailored towards scientific purposes, although it can also be used to view other types of documents as well. It also allow users to edit pdf files in a user-friendly manner.

This free PDF reader application can also be customized according to user’s requirements and is handy for notes and previews. Skim is one of the most popular options because it includes easy-to-use and visually impressive reading modes.

Key Features of Skim:

  • Allows to edit, view, and annotate PDF documents
  • Single swipe highlight mode for easy use
  • Enables full screen preview
  • Allows password saving in Keychain
  • Ability to preview internal links
  • Allows snapshots of documents for previews
  • AppleScript support

8. Kdan PDF Reader

Available to download directly from the Mac App Store, the Kdan PDF Reader is one of the most powerful and popular PDF management tools for Apple computers.

It functions as a file manager, file converter and page editor. With the software, you can easily edit PDF files by adding freehand writing, text boxes, sticky notes, hyperlinks and annotations.

And to ensure that important documents don’t get mixed up, you’re able to label them by adding tags and color-coding. What’s more, to keep track of all your saved files, you can make use of an import history feature. The app works with iCloud, too, meaning you can back up and access saved documents on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

There’s even compatibility with Dropbox, so you can easily import documents from devices that run on other operating systems. Overall, you should find the app smooth and quick to use. It’s powered by a proprietary rendering engine, which aims to ensure that large files are processed and loaded without any lag.

There is a free version that you can try before you purchase.

9. PDF Professional

PDF Professional as the name says is a professional PDF app for Mac devices. This software includes functionalities for reading, annotating, editing and converting PDF files.

This is one of the best PDF readers for Mac because of its meticulously designed user-interface and ample tools to edit and read PDFs. You can add links, images, view and respond to annotations int he comments, fill static PDF forms and much more with this free PDF viewer.

It also presents you with the option to password-protect your PDF files in case you have sensitive data. PDF Professional also has Text-to-Speech feature in which you can select the text or document to be read.

10. Haihaisoft PDF Reader

Haihaisoft PDF Reader lets you read PDF files effortlessly. A prominent feature of Haihaisoft Reader for Mac is its small size at only 3MB.

This compact PDF Reader for Mac takes up much less space than other programs like Adobe Reader. The package covers a wide range of languages and is designed for ease of use, while it is also well supported and has been developed for use on a number of platforms.

You are able to open a document using your browser, as the “drag and drop” feature isn’t available.

It also allows you to rotate pages, view in full screen mode, make a presentation, skip to the first, last, next, or previous page, use the search function, zoom in and out, or create a favorites list.

Key Features:

  • Opens all PDF documents
  • No background net connection for added security
  • Protection with DRM-X
  • Instant launch time

11. Chrome

Google Chrome comes with a built-in PDF reader for Mac which enables users to view PDF web documents within their browser.

It allows readers to control various functions of their PDF document with easy-to-use functions.

Key Features:

  • Includes the option to save PDF documents from within the browser
  • The PDF viewer can be enabled and disabled manually
  • Enables printing a PDF document from within the browser

12. Foxit PDF Editor

Foxit has developed a sophisticated PDF management app, with the Foxit PDF Editor being pushed as a tool that goes well beyond PDF viewing, providing a comprehensive range of tools for manipulating PDF files. Features include the ability not just to read but also edit PDF files, along with the option to add headers, footers, and watermarks.

PDF files can also be optimized, organized, and esigned, with other features including annotation and protection. Foxit PDF Editor also integrates with iManage WorkSite and SharePoint. Pricing is relatively inexpensive, with a one-time license fee for Mac which makes it cheaper than the subscription model used by Adobe in the long-term.

A free trial is also available, and volume licensing is an option for those who need it.


That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best Free PDF Readers For Mac.

If you have any other favorite Best Free PDF Readers For Mac then don’t forget to share them with us in the comment below. Also, if you liked this article, Share on your favorite Social media platform.


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