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Open PDF Files – How to Free Download .PDF Files Viewer on Windows, Android and MAC

Have you heard about the Portable Document Format? 

What is a PDF File

Otherwise known as PDF, the Portable Document Format is one popular format for saving large text and picture documents. Some of these documents include; academic papers, huge legal case files, contractual agreements, resumes, invoices, bank e-statements and also school homework. This format offers users seamless accessibility, legibility and transferability.

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

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

It can now 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 Adobe 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 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 is therefore a very secure format, especially if you want to send confidential documents across the Internet via email. 

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


This tutorial will show you how to open PDF files on devices using Windows, Android or Mac operating systems.


Opening PDF Files On Windows OS

Do you have a PDF Reader?

To read it on devices using Windows OS, such as a Personal Computer, you will first need install a PDF reader. This is a software application that is capable of opening this files format. A portable document format reader, such as; Adobe Acrobat Reader.

You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader for FREE on the official Adobe Website

If you do not have this PDF reader, you may also download it here.

On the Adobe website, you will be provided with clear instructions on how to download and install the app on your Windows device. Make sure you adhere strictly to the instructions given.

This will ensure that the installation is done without any hitch. As soon as you have installed the Adobe Reader on your Windows PC, you will be able to open and read PDF files. You will also be able to save documents in PDF format.


Using Adobe Acrobat Reader to Open a PDF file

With your Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, you can now open a portable document format files. Below are step-by-step instructions on how you can use your installed Adobe Acrobat Reader to open a PDF file.

  • First open your installed Adobe Acrobat Reader (this may also apply to another type of PDF reader).
  • 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 portable document format files may be located on your PC or other Window device.
  • Then, Click on the PDF file name to select it.
  • Click on the button labelled “Open” to have the files accessible for reading. 


You may also wish to open it directly from “My Computer”or the “Windows Explorer”.

To do this, you simply have to click on “My Computer” or the “Windows Explorer”. Next, you can locate your desired .PDF from either of the “Windows Explorer” or “My Computer” options.

Note that by double-clicking on the file name, you will open the files on your installed Adobe Acrobat Reader. 


How to open PDF files on Android OS devices 


There are devices with Android OS which can allow you to open a PDF file even without an installed PDF reader app. However, there are also those Android OS devices like tablets and smartphones, which require you to install a particular app or apps. This will be necessary before you can be able to open these files with ease. 

It should be mentioned that many of the new smartphones and tablets are designed with in-built PDF readers. 

Where your Android device does not come with an in-built PDF reader, you will have to install an app. 


Install Adobe Acrobat Reader

You can also install the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your Android device. You simply need to go to Google Play Store to download this app. 

If you are interested in getting the beginners version of this app from Google Play Store, click here.

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.


Open PDF file on Android device using your File Manager

file manager

  • First visit the “File Manager” on your Android mobile device.
  • To open a PDF file from the “File Manager”, just go to the location of the file.
  • Next, you need to tap the file.
  • By tapping it, the Adobe Acrobat Reader opens the file automatically on your Android mobile device.


Open a PDF file by using the Adobe Reader Software 

To open the file directly from an installed Adobe Acrobat Reader app, you will have to comply with the following instructions;


  • Go to the Adobe Acrobat Reader app on your Android mobile device and tap the “Menu” option.
  • Tap on the “Documents” folder.
  • Once you are in the “Documents” folder, you will see every available PDF file on your Android device. 
  • Tap on the file that you want to open and the Adobe Acrobat Reader app will do the rest.


Opening PDF files on Mac OS

mac os

For users of Mac personal computers, there are different ways to open a PDF. One way is through the “Preview” option. 

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

Here is how it's done;

  • First, select the file using the”Open Finder”option.
  • 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 reader for your Mac PC.
  • Alternatively, you need to right-click the selected PDF file, then highlight “Open With” and click the “Preview” option from there.


Open a PDF file from an installed PDF Reader 

You can also install a PDF reader and open the file directly from it. PDF Expert is one PDF file reader that you can install. You can also set this app as your default program for opening portable document reader files, this will save you time.

 To set this app as the default program... 

  • first “Launch”,
  • secondly, locate a PDF file and then select the file,
  • thirdly, you then need to click and hold “Cmd + i”. Alternatively, you can choose “Get Info”when you click the “File” menu.


Other Software and alternative programs that  Open PDF Files

There are many pdf readers and editors available. The viewers are software, apps and online websites.


Category: Page Layout Files
Format: Open Source
Open with Windows
Open with Linux:

PDF Reader online:

You can open a pdf online in

Open With Android:

Android comes with a built in app to open pdf files. However, you can also download the following apk apps:

Pdf program viewers

You can choose a PDF viewer from the list below:

Can't Open PDF Files

There are times the file will refuse to open despite having the reader 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 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 Adobe Reader on the list of programs, you can browse it on your device. You will usually find the Adobe Reader software at C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader.

Can't open a specific .pdf file? Problems editing it?

Just download another free viewer on windows, mac or android and try again.

In Closing;

Regardless of the type of device you use, you can access PDF files with ease. Whether you use Windows, Android or Mac devices, there is a PDF reader readily available for download. 

PDF is a reliable and trusted format that can save you lots of time and money if used properly. It will also keep your documents secure from unauthorized users. You can also send large sized documents over the internet by saving the files in this format.


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