How do I Open a PDF File online in Windows and MAC with a free .PDF reader

  • File Type: Adobe Portable Document Files Format
  • File Extension: .pdf
  • Mime type: application/pdf
  • File Format: Document files


Are you having difficulties in opening a pdf ? Read this full guide about what is and how to open a pdf  online, in any operating system: Windows, MAC, Android, Linux and IOS.

You must get a pdf software. Viewers are software tools that let you view your pdfs.


What is a .PDF file?

A .PDF file extension, is a file with the .pdf suffix added to the file name. This file suffix corresponds to the popular pdf for saving large text and picture documents.

Some of these PDF types include; academic papers, huge legal case files, contractual agreements, resumes, invoices, bank e-statements and also school homework. This file format offers users seamless accessibility, legibility and transferability.

The file extension pdf is compatible with various operating systems, hardware and application software. These files are based on the PostScript language. Each encapsulating a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document including these file types:

  • Raster images.
  • Vector graphics.
  • Fonts.
  • Text.
  • Other required information for displaying the content.


PDF files can also contain three-dimensional objects. Using PRC or U3D, different data formats, rich media like video content, layers, form-fields, annotation and several other interactive elements and logical structuring elements.

Today, the specification equally enables digital signatures and encryption, metadata and files attachments towards enabling workflows that require these features.

The PDF file extension is for cross-platform documents created using the Acrobat software or any program that comes with the Acrobat plug-in.

These files may contain images, text, annotations, forms, outlines as well as other pieces of data. These also preserve fonts and may be electronically formatted across multiple platforms.


You can also safeguard documents by saving them in file extension PDF and using encrypted user passwords. This ensures that your documents can only be viewed by individuals only upon inputting the correct password.

The Portable document format file is therefore a very secure format. Especially if you want to send confidential files and documents across the Internet via email. 

PDF may also be saved as read only files or as editable documents. It is versatile with an easy to use and flexible user interface. It definitely offers users a lot of useful features and options. 

How to open pdf files

How to open PDF Files in Windows PC, MAC and Android: Free PDF Viewers

You need a program to open a pdf file. We will see some programs to view and manage PDF.

If you want to  read and view these PDF on devices using Windows operating system, such as a Personal Computer, you will first need install a reader.


Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

For Windows 

It should always be your first option.  This is a software application that is capable of opening and view a pdf in many operating systems.  If you don’t have this software, you can download the free trial on the official Adobe Website.  

  • In the next screen, select Download acrobat reader

  • After a few seconds the download will start
  • When the download is finished you will see a direct access in your windows.
  • See image below and double click on the file in the lower left side of your screen.

  • The installation of the program will start and you will see the progress.
  • As soon as you have installed it on your Windows PC, you will be able to view and read a PDF file. You will also be able to save documents in this format.
  • First click on your installed program (this apply to another type).

  • From the main screen you can select many options.
    1. Click on Set as default if you want it to be your default reader for your pdf.
    2. Click on open file to edit quicky a .pdf file
    3. Select edit PDF to edit text and images.
  • Go to the “File” drop-down menu located at the top left hand corner of the application’s window. 

  • Click on the “Open” option, then scroll to where the pdfs may be located on your PC or other Window device.
  • Then, Click on the name to select it.

  • Click on the button labelled “Open” to have the files accessible for reading. 
  • Now you can view it!


 for Android

There are devices with Android OS which can allow you to open the files with .pdf extension even without an installed app.

However, there are also those Android OS devices like tablets and smartphones, which require you to install particular apps. This will be necessary before you can be able to view these pdf with ease. 

It should be mentioned that many of the new smartphones and tablets are designed with in-built PDFs viewers.  Where your Android device does not come with it, you will have to install it. 

You can also install Acrobat on your Android device. You simply need to go to Google Play Store to download it. 

  1. If you are interested in getting the beginners version of this app from Google Play Store, click here.
  2. For the professional version which has a filter feature for search results you can click here to download. The pro version is also free of pop-up ads.

Note that installation is quick and the app size is moderate. In addition, the app comes with a variety of user options.  These features include; zoom, scroll, night-time mode, brightness lock and customer support search options.  You can also append your signature to PDF files, while documents may be printed directly on Google Cloud Print.

To read, view and open it directly from an installed app, you will have to comply with the following instructions;

  1. Go to the Acrobat app on your Android mobile device and tap the “Menu” option.
  2. Tap on the “Documents” folder.
  3. Once you are in the “Documents” folder, you will see every available on your Android device. 
  4. Tap on it and the application will do the rest.


Microsoft Word

Word is also a pdf reader. It can open a pdf file by default. What word do to work as a reader is to convert it to (.DOC), a word compatible format.

These are all the steps:

  1. Launch Word.
  2. Go to the menu File – Open
  3. Select your PDF file and double click on it.
  4. Word Copy the PDF to a new word while you keep the original PDF.
  5. Now you can edit the PDF as a word.


Google Drive

Google drive is another free PDF software that you can use for free with a google account. With is very easy to share pdfs with your friends and coworkers.


Google Chrome

This browser also supports PDF files with his inbuilt pdf reader.

These are the steps to view this format:

  1. Open your browser
  2. Go to the web browser Plug-ins section
  3. Find Chrome PDF viewer.
  4. Click on Enable.
  5. Now whenever you find this format the browser will display it.
  6. You can also drag your PDF and you will view it in your browser.


In Windows you can do it by right clicking on your file and select Chrome PDF viewer in the drop down menu. Also, it is possible to drag it to the web browser window.

PDFPro (Online)

PDFPro is an online free pdf software. Viewing pdfs is quick and easy.

  1. Go to
  2. You have two options to select it:
    1. Drag your pdf from your device to the “drag and drop PDF here”
    2. Click on the green button “Click to upload PDF”


pDF EScape (Online)

Another free pdf program online to open PDF. Viewing pdfs is easy.

  1. Go to
    1. Click on upload if you have the pdf in your device.
    2. Or Load from internet if you are using an online pdf.


File Manager (Android)

  1. First visit the “File Manager” on your Android mobile device.
  2. Then, just go to the location of the files.
  3. Next, you need to tap on it.
  4. By tapping it, it opens it automatically on your Android mobile device.
  5. View it


Using preview option (MAC)

The “Preview” feature is actually an in-built application. It allows you to view PDF (read only), that are on your Mac.

Here is how it’s done;

  1. First, select the file using the”Open Finder”option.
  2. By double-clicking the selected file, it will be displayed via “Preview”. However, the double-clicking option will only work where “Preview” has been selected as the default PDF program for your Mac PC.
  3. Alternatively, you need to right-click the selected file.
  4. Then highlight “Open With” and click the “Preview” option from there.


Foxit Reader for Desktop Linux (Linux)

For linux users you can use the Foxit reader from foxitsoftware



How to Convert a PDF File

Another option to open a pdf file is to convert it to another format.

The typical conversion is from PDF to DOC. There are many online converters online that can do it for free.


Why PDF Files won’t open?

You love using Adobe Reader on your Windows Desktop. However, not being able to access PDF while using an Adobe Systems tool or another reader is extremely irritating.

As inventors of PDF, the company has a relatively clear understanding of how to optimize users’ experience, especially when engaging in Acrobat premium models.


Why are troublesome?

One of the legit reasons behind the failure of some PDF documents is that the designers are more focused on producing good layouts rather than creating actual proofs. Don’t look at these; they’re going directly to the department or printer.

If designers focus more on open pdf files, then this type of errors can be solved. This means there is far more continuity between the supplied file and the original one.


Why won’t PDF files open? The Causes:

Several reasons prevent the pdf files from opening. We have listed them below:

  • The file you are trying to access is either corrupt or damaged.
  • One of the reasons your PDF file won’t open is that you might be using an outdated version of software.
  • The installation process was not completed correctly.
  • The PDF you are trying to access is from a non-Adobe program.


What’s the solution?

1.     Update Adobe Acrobat:

If you are using an outdated version, you may not be in a good position. Adobe regularly updates its Apps.

Of this purpose, we can only suggest you access it from the official Adobe release website.

While there, pick the latest edition of the OS program, and push the Update Now icon. It is more likely that taking the new Update would resolve problems with the program. If the current one is corrupted, that will make a huge difference.

Besides, the new fixes and protection updates will keep it still working smoothly.


2.     Proper Installation:

There are several ways that a failed download can manifest itself. The process can refuse to begin when you start the download, or the download can end abruptly. The installation can even end with an error message until the full download of the installation package.

  • Attempt to resume download again. Before downloading, select the latest version of Adobe Acrobat from the drop-down list on the Downloads page.
  • Make sure you’re on secure internet service. Run a compatibility scan to ensure that nothing interferes with your connection, and then restart the Update.


3.     Ask the sender to resend the PDF file if it’s damaged:

This is not a particularly common issue, although it is likely that the software used to produce the PDF file didn’t correctly create it. The information in the PDF are sometimes damaged and corrupted.

Besides, if  it is sent via email or a website, then the root cause is that it may not be correctly uploaded.

You can check the credibility and whether it is uncorrupted by simply opening another file. If that file opens, then you will know that the other one was corrupted.


4.     Use older version for non-adobe files:

PDF  produced by non-Adobe items do not always follow the PDF requirements and specifications. The reason is that the previous versions of Adobe reader are not so rigid as compared to the latest ones.

The file that you opened by using the older version cannot be opened with the latest version.  When you have an idea that the file maker is credible enough, then you can request them to switch to the older version of acrobat reader to open the file.

Moving back to an earlier version would allow you to uninstall the update that’s already installed on your drive.


5.     PDF not recognizable

In some instances, when submitted by e-mail, the file extension Microsoft Windows uses to define the file as a PDF can be omitted. Microsoft Windows won’t realize how to access this file because the file doesn’t finish in.pdf.  Below is some solution on how to fix this problem.

  • Save your PDF to your personal computer.
  • From the start menu, you can view the option to enable the browser for PDF.
  • Drag the saved PDF into the application from the laptop. If this file is uncorrupted and valid, it should be accessed.


Why PDF won’t open in Chrome

The main reason is that the browser downloads the file. To fix this just do the following steps:

  1. Open your browser
  2. Click on settings
  3. Then, on Advanced.
  4. Click on Content Settings (you will find it in the security and privacy section).
  5. Search for “PDF Documents”.
  6. Select the option. “Download PDF files instead of Automatically Opening them”.


If these steps don’t resolve the issue update your version, use another browser or use another app.



Many of the difficulties you’ll find while opening PDF files are attributable to one of the above-described causes.

Another important factor is that your PC must have the software to recognize PDF files.

There is a drawback in Windows 10 and that is it uses Microsoft Edge as the default program. It would be best if you altered it to make Acrobat your default viewer.




How to open PDF files online

If you don’t want to download any program you can just view your pdf file online with an online pdf software. There are many options available like pdfpro or PDF escape

How to Make adobe acrobat your default PDF reader

If you want your .pdf  to open always with acrobat you have to select it as your default reader. We are going to see the required steps to do it.

  1. Open the program.
  2. Click on Set as default on the right side of your screen (see image below).

  1. In the next screen select the program Acrobat Reader software


What Free PDF Editor should I choose?

There are many free pdf editors available to choose, all of them with great features. You should try the software to find out which one you like.

The options are:

  • Acrobat
  • Smallpdf
  • foxitpdf
  • Online editors and converters.


How to merge or combine PDF files

Sometimes you have more than one and you want to merge or combine all of them. These are the required steps to follow.

  1. Identify which are the documents and files you want to merge or combine:
  2. Use an online merge tool like
  3. Use a software like SmallPDF


It is safe to delete a .PDF file ?

You can delete PDF files if you no longer need it. It won’t crash anything.


Can’t Open a PDF file?

There are times the PDF file will refuse to open despite having the program already on your device.

This may happen if there is not association with the pdf reader. Follow the steps below to associate the two:

  1. Right-click the pdf files on your device and click on “Open With“.
  2. Look for Adobe Reader in the drop-down menu and click on it.
  3. If there is no PDF files viewer on the list of programs, you can browse it on your device. You will usually find the software at C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader.

Can’t view a specific .pdf file? Problems editing the file?

Just download another free program and try again.

How to Create A PDF file ?

From a Word

You can use word from microsoft office to convert a doc file to a PDF. Creating a PDF in word is as simply as using  the save as option in the menu. Word has a built in PDF conversion technology. Just save your doc file as PDF format and the creation is done.


From Scanned Documents

Creating from a Scan is easy. These are the steps to scan a paper to PDF

  1. Launch acrobat reader
  2. In the tools menu select Create PDF
  3. Select Scanner as the interface
  4. Confirm.
  5. Choose from the scan settings available
  6. Click on Scan.


On Windows 10 and older

Follow the steps below to create a new pdf in windows 10:

  1. Open the Acrobat Reader.
  2. Select Tools
  3. Click on Create PDF
  4. Now, Click the type of file to be created in PDF format, like single or multiple files, or any other option.
  5. Click on Next or Create, depending on the type of file you have selected earlier
  6. A prompt will come up. Follow it to convert that file to PDF.
  7. Next, save your work in your preferred location on your PC.


Creating a new PDF in MAC is easy. Follow the steps below:

  1. Open the doc you want to convert on your macOS.
  2. Click on File and then click on Print
  3. Next, click on the popup menu on the program and then click on Save as PDF.
  4. Give the new PDF a name of your choice and also decide on the location to save the file on your macOS. You can also fill other fields like Keywords, Subject, Author and Title.
  5. Then, you can use Spotlight to easily locate the contents of the file
  6. You can go a step further to add password to the newly created. You can do this by clicking on Security Options. The password will be required before anyone can print. Copy or open the newly created document.


A fillable PDF in windows

Follow the steps below to make a PDF fillable

  1. Open acrobat reader and click on Tools, next, select Prepare Form
  2. After that, click on the file you are interested in or you can scan a document. Acrobat automatically analyses it and will add fields for the form.
  3. Next, add new fields to the form by using the toolbar at the top and adjusting the layout with the tools you can find in the right pane.
  4. You should then save the fillable PDF. If you like, you can share it by clicking on Distribute and it will help you to automatically collect responses.

A fillable PDF in macOS

Follow the steps below for a fillable PDF:

  1. Create it first using your word processor
  2. Next, use acrobat to create a new form. You can also create a new form from an existing document.
  3. Then, you can then add fields to the form by clicking on Add new Field, which you can find in the right sidebar located under Tasks. You can choose to Drop down lists, checkboxes or text fields.
  4. The next step involved setting properties for the form field to modify how the fields act or look.
  5. You can then save the file after the modifications above.

You can also create a form in either macOS or Windows by following the steps above.


From Pictures

Follow the steps below:

  1. First of all, get novaPDF installed on your windows operating system.
  2. Next, open the image that you want to convert using Windows Photo Viewer
  3. Then click on Print or you can simply press the Ctrl+P and this will open the dialogue box for Print Pictures
  4. After that, you can now select the novaPDF, select your preferred quality and paper size. If you are printing multiple images, you can also select them at the same time instead of picking them one after the other.
  5. You can then use the predefined layouts to print them. Furthermore, you can access the novaPDF settings by clicking on Options and then Printer Properties.
  6. The next thing is to click on Print and choose where you prefer to save the PDF image. You can select a location from the window for Save PDF document As.
  7. The image will then be automatically saved as a PDF.


With pictures on macOS

Follow the steps below to create a PDF with pictures

  1. Navigate to Finder.
  2. Click on the image that you want to get converted to PDF.
  3. After that, you can right-click on the files that you have highlighted or you can simply Ctrl-click on them.
  4. Then you need to select Open With Preview in the drop-down menu that shows up.
  5. Next, check the Preview’s sidebar and drag images’ thumbnails into the particular order in which you want them to appear in that particular PDF.
  6. Check the Preview menu bar.
  7. Click on File, then Print. You can also do this by clicking on Command+P on your keyboard and this will bring up- the Print dialogue box.
  8. You can then click on Show Details and this will help to expand the Print dialogue box. After that.
  9. This will bring up the full set of options available. Ensure that you select the All button in the Pages options.
  10. After that, you can click on Save as PDF. It can be found in the PDF dropdown menu in the lower-left corner of the Print dialogue box.
  11. The Save dialogue box will then appear. You can now give any name of your choice to the newly created PDF file.
  12. Then select your preferred save location.
  13. You can also go a step further by adding password to the newly created PDF. You can find the password functionalities in the Security Options button. The password will prevent the printing, copying or opening of the newly created document.