How to read PDFs on a PC.

A woman uses a desktop PC to read a PDF file.

Learn how to download a PDF reader and open PDF files on your PC.

If you use a PC, knowing how to view PDF files on your computer isn’t always obvious. Luckily, if you know the steps, viewing PDFs on your PC is a simple process. Here’s what you need to know.

Native PDF reader on PCs.

To view PDF files on your Windows PC, you first need to download a PDF reader. Luckily, many PDF readers, such as Adobe Acrobat, have free versions, so you don’t have to pay to read PDFs on your computer.

  1. Download the reader from the internet and follow the prompts to install it on your computer.
    • Free versions of the software will let you view PDF files on your computer but offer fewer features than paid subscriptions.
  2. If you need to edit, convert, sign PDFs, or compress PDFs, it’s best to get the Pro version of the software.

Adobe Acrobat Reader offers access to all the tools you need — anywhere and everywhere you are.

Can PCs read PDFs without a PDF reader?

Once you have the PDF reader downloaded to your PC, you can open PDFs in three simple steps.

  1. Find the PDF you want to open in your Files and double click to open.
  2. Select Adobe Acrobat (or whichever reader you downloaded) from the list of available options. If no list appears or the page opens in another application, you can right-click the file and select Open With to choose your PDF reader.
  3. Click Open.

The PDF should appear in a new window ready to read. Adobe Acrobat Reader is user-friendly and can be accessed anywhere. You can easily view and print PDFs, as well as comment and share when needed. View, sign, collaborate, and annotate PDF files with ease. The Adobe Acrobat Reader free software puts efficiency at the forefront.

Do PCs need to install a PDF reader to use PDFs

PC users can use Microsoft Edge to view PDFs, but that has limited capabilities as far as reading goes. You will need to install a separate PDF reader in order to have reading capabilities. You can still view PDFs, but in order to make any kind of edits, you will need to search for a separate PDF reader and editor. Luckily Adobe Acrobat comes with all the tools you need to make adjustments to your PDF as needed.

Acrobat Reader is the global standard for reliably viewing, printing, and sharing PDFs. Explore what more Acrobat Reader can do to enhance your PDF experience on a PC.