Foxit Reader: A Free, Lightweight Adobe Alternative


If you’ve spent much time with Adobe’s applictions for working with PDFs, you know that they’re not the fastest applications under the sun, and they provide their  share of annoyances when doing updates, and when uninstalling. For a free, alternative application you can turn to, Foxit Reader for Windows is a good choice. (There are also versions for Linux and mobile devices.)

Foxit Reader is much smaller than Adobe Reader, so one of the best things about it is how fast it loads and unloads. It also makes it easy to easy to convert PDF documents to text. The latest version 2.3 of the application, downloadable here, now includes multimedia features for playing the audio and video that sometimes accompany PDFs.

In the release notes for version 2.3 of Foxit Reader, you’ll find an inventory of the new additions. In addition to what has always been a very useful toolbar implementation, version 2.3 lets you open PDFs in multiple, tabbed instances, very much like working with a tabbed browser. There are also collaboration tools for annotating PDFs with text and more.

The multimedia features and collaboration features are good additions, but the reason I use Foxit Reader remains the speed. The application is a fraction of the size of Adobe Reader. I need to get in and out of PDFs frequently, and this application does it much faster than Adobe does.

How do you work with PDFs?



yup, really agree. Foxit reader is my favorite PDF reader, can open many tabs that’s why make it easier ^_^


I’ve been using Foxit Reader for a while, the only problem I found with it – printing in A2, A1 and A0 sizes. It just goes blank and non-responsive (in Windows XP). Otherwise it’s a great software and very easy to make it portable too.

Chris Lee

I discovered Foxit only recently but have already found the benefits of the smaller memory footprint and fast loading on PDFs.

It’s also available as an MSI for installing through Windows Server Group Policy, and this makes it an attractive option for business networks.

An excellent alternative to the somewhat bloated Acrobat Reader.


I’ve used Foxit for many years, but recently switched to PDF-Xchange Viewer. It is slightly slower in starting up, but has more features and seems more polished. Things I don’t like about Foxit is it has tendency of screwing up toolbars (I had to press Alt-F8 many times), and rendering appears less optimal than others. Also I often need to make simple annotations such as underlines or highlights and those features were not free with Foxit and I was forced to fire up Acrobat for simple annotations. PDF-Xchange solved this problem. If you like Foxit, give PDF-Xchange a try. You may like it.


I’ve been using Foxit for the same reasons. I use PDf files a lot and Adobe was always too slow and would even freeze my entire computer sometimes.

I’ve also got the Firefox extension that gives you the option of viewing PDF links as HTML but they don’t always ‘translate’ well.

joe btsfplk

The reader is free. If you want Foxit Pro for “free,” you need to go through the TrialPay rigamarole. Just click on the Download icon for the reader.


I discovered Foxit a couple months ago, and I love it.

To create PDFs I use PrimoPDF and PDFCreator, both free, both very nice.

Sam C

Unless I’m missing something it’s not free at all. It has a one year trial, and to make the trial ‘free’ they simply make you buy some software from a partner instead?


Foxit reader is the best, been a foxit user for a couple of years now, got sick and tired of adobe for the same reasons above.
once it was on my machine, i never ever thought of downloading adobe pdf when i format my windows

I never noticed they have a linux version, i’ll install it on my fedora, thanks for that!

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