As the title says, I would like an application (best if free) for .pdf files reading on my computer.

I often read academic papers and I would like an alternative to Acrobat Reader.

Ideally with this new program I should be able to:

-Make notes

-Mark pages with different bookmarks (to read, read, to review etc..) better if customizable bookmarks. Bookmarks can be added to the document index.

-Highlighting tools for paragraphs and lines

-Possible to have black background for more comfortable reading?

3 Answers 3


I would suggest taking a look at Mendeley, to quote the opening page:

Your research, anywhere. For students and researchers Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network. Make your own fully-searchable library in seconds, cite as you write, and read and annotate your PDFs on any device. Showcase your work and assess the impact of your research.

  • Free
  • Multi-platform
  • Allows highlighting and annotating pdf files
  • Allows referencing pdf files
  • Highlights & annotations are available across devices

Mendeley Desktop On Windows 8.1

  • This piece of software could be a great solution, do you happen to know if it stores your files online in the company's cloud or it just acts as a collector (as iTunes for music files on your pc)
    – mickkk
    Aug 18, 2015 at 20:56
  • Both - it can store and order them locally and online. Aug 18, 2015 at 22:26

Foxit Reader is the one I use. It's pretty fast, and generally very compatible. I find it reads just fine PDF files that Google Drive chokes on.

  • it does allow notes.

  • It only has one kind of bookmark, but you can name each bookmark.

  • It has highlight, strikeout and underline

  • I don't think you can change the background.


I use PDF-XChange Viewer and I think it is excellent. It's really light weight and quick to load (really quick) but has all the features you'd expect! I've just checked and as far as I can see it has all the features you are looking for and more. This is the free version as well, it says it's a trial but there's no time limitations or nags - you just can't use some of the Pro features which you probably won't need anyway.

Failing that, you might consider using Microsoft OneNote if you have it. I don't have much experience with it but I know it is really powerful and I'm pretty certain it can help you - especially if you're doing research! There are some good tutorials online.

  • I agree. PDF-XChange Viewer supports having several PDF files open at the same time. Even the free version has comments and annotating tools.
    – OuzoPower
    Dec 7, 2017 at 17:22

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