Adobe Acrobat Reader, commonly known as Adobe Reader, is one of the most popular software for viewing and managing PDF files. In fact it is the “official” software dedicated to this document standard, since Adobe is the company that created it back in 1993. It is a very easy to use program that includes a wide range of functions: the most basic ones, such as highlighting sentences and words, adding signatures and exporting PDFs to plain text files, are available to everyone; the more advanced ones, on the other hand, are reserved for users who decide to subscribe to Adobe’s paid services.
Going into more detail, those who subscribe to Acrobat Pro DC, the full version of the program that comes in the form of a subscription service, allows you to create PDF documents starting from Office files and images; allows you to export PDFs as Word and Excel documents; makes scanned texts editable (through OCR technology) and offers many other editing and conversion functions.
The conversion and editing functions can also be unlocked individually, by subscribing to the Adobe PDF Pack service, at a lower price. To learn more, read on: below you will find a complete overview of the free version of Adobe Reader, both on how to download it on all your devices (Adobe Reader is also available as an app for smartphones and tablets) and on how use all its most important functions.
- Adobe Reader: minimum requirements
- Adobe Reader: free PC download
- Adobe Reader: free smartphone and tablet download
Adobe Reader: minimum requirements
Before proceeding, I would say to see what are the minimum requirements that your computer or mobile device must meet in order to download Adobe Reader and, more specifically, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.
- Intel or AMD processor of at least 1.5 GHz.
- Windows 7 or later or Windows Server 2008 R2 or later operating system.
- 2 GB of RAM.
- 380 MB of available disk space.
- Screen with a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels.
- Intel processor (emulated via Rosetta 2 on Apple Silicon processors).
- MacOS 10.13 or later operating system.
- 2 GB of RAM.
- 380 MB of available disk space.
- Screen with a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels.
As for the Adobe Reader app for mobile devices, this requires Android 5.0 or later on Android devices or iOS 12.0 / iPadOS or later on Apple devices. If you would like more information on the minimum requirements for downloading Adobe Reader, please visit the Adobe website.
Adobe Reader: free PC download
Having made the necessary premises above, let’s see how to download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free on your computer. Whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, you will find bread for your teeth.
To download Adobe Reader on your computer, go to this page of the Adobe website and click on the blue Download Acrobat Reader button on the right. If you are viewing the page from a Windows PC, make sure there are no ticks in the boxes relating to the installation of additional software (eg McAfee).
When the download is complete, if you are using a Windows PC, open the .exe file you obtained, click on the Yes button, wait for all the files necessary for Adobe Reader to work from the Internet (it may take a few minutes) and it will automatically run. installation of the program on your computer. At the end of the procedure, click on the yellow Finish button to complete the setup.
If you left the checkmark in the box for Adobe Reader to start automatically at the end of the installation, the program will open automatically.
If you are using a Mac, the procedure to follow is quite similar. After downloading the installation .dmg file from the Adobe website, open it and double-click the AcroRdrDC_xxxxxxxxxx_MUI.pkg icon in the window that opened.
Next, click the Continue button twice in a row and then click the Install button. Then enter, in the appropriate text field, the password of your user account on macOS, click on the Install software button and, finally, click on the Close and Move buttons.
At the first start of the program, you will have to click on the Open button, to authorize its execution, and on the Accept button, to accept the conditions of use.
Regardless of the operating system you are using, once Adobe Reader is installed on your computer, PDF files will automatically open with the computer. Just double-click on their icons. If this does not happen, no problem: right-click on any file in PDF format, select the item Open with> Adobe Acrobat Reader from the menu that opens and agree to make Acrobat Reader the default PDF reader on your computer.
The program interface, as already mentioned above, is extremely linear and intuitive even for less experienced users. It is divided into three tabs.
- On the Home tab there is a list of recently viewed files with, alongside, a list of predefined locations from which to upload documents (My Computer, Adobe Cloud and Microsoft SharePoint).
- In the Tools tab you will find the complete list of functions included in Adobe Reader, many of which are unlocked only after having subscribed to a paid subscription to Adobe services.
- In the tab with the title of the document you will find the file currently displayed and all the tools necessary for its consultation. At the top there is a toolbar with buttons to print the file and send it via email, search for phrases and words within it and browse its pages. Also at the top of the tab, you will find two other buttons, one to increase or decrease the zoom level and one to change the view mode document (e.g. full screen, single page, continuous scrolling). Finally, in the right sidebar, you can find all the advanced tools needed to edit PDFs or create new ones (many of which can only be unlocked by signing up for a pay subscription to Adobe services).
Among the few editing tools available in the free version of Adobe Reader there are the highlighter and the notes, both of which can be used by clicking on the respective icons in the toolbar located at the top right. After calling up the highlighter, for example, all you have to do is select the passages of the PDF to be highlighted with the mouse. To use the notes, instead, you have to select the cartoon icon and click on the point on the sheet where you want to insert your annotations.
To save the changes made to the document, click on the floppy disk icon or, if you prefer to work on a copy of the original file, select the Save As item from the File menu (top left).
Other very useful functions of Adobe Reader are the digital signature and the ability to extract texts from PDFs to save them in files in .txt format. To use the digital signature, click on the Tools tab (top left), select the Fill and sign item and click the Fill and sign button under the Fill, sign and send box.
Then, click on the Signature button appeared in the program toolbar and choose whether to add a signature (which can be textual or graphic, therefore also done by hand) or add your initials to the document. I remind you that this type of signature, without a certificate, has no legal value. To have an electronic signature with legal value, you must purchase a special kit.
If, on the other hand, you want to extrapolate the text from the PDF document and save it as a file in .txt format, go to the File> Save as text menu (top left), then taking care to select the location in which to export the output document.
Other advanced features, such as converting PDFs to Office files (Word or Excel) and converting other types of files to PDFs, are reserved for subscribers to Adobe’s paid services. More info here.
For more information about the use of Adobe Reader, I refer you to reading the tutorial dedicated to programs for reading PDFs, where I also tell you about some alternatives to the Adobe solution.
Adobe Reader: free smartphone and tablet download
Now let’s see how to download Adobe Reader on smartphones and tablets. Again, after installing the application, I will show you some of its main features.
I remind you that, like the desktop version, the mobile version of Adobe Reader also reserves access to the most advanced features only for subscribers of subscription plans.
As for the download of Adobe Reader on smartphones and tablets, all you have to do is go to the section dedicated to the famous app on the store of your device and proceed directly from there.
On Android, if you have the possibility to act from the Play Store, open the latter (by pressing the icon depicting the colored triangle on the home screen or in the drawer of your device), search for “adobe acrobat” in the search bar located in up and press Enter on your keyboard.
Then press on Adobe Acrobat, to go to the download section of the app. If you are reading this article directly from the device on which you intend to download Adobe Reader, you can press directly on this link to view the card on the Play Store.
Then press the green Install button and wait for the Adobe Reader download and installation procedure to be completed. If a message appears inviting you to complete the configuration of your Google account, press the Continue and Ignore buttons to skip the procedure (there is no need to add any payment method, since the app is free ).
If you have a device without the Play Store, try to search for Adobe Reader on an alternative store and install it from there, by pressing the appropriate button visible on the screen.
On iOS / iPadOS, on the other hand, open the App Store by pressing the white A symbol on a blue background placed on the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad or in the App Library, press the Search tab located at the bottom right and, in the search located at the top, write “adobe reader”.
Then press on the result that is found and tap on the word Adobe Reader. If you are reading the article from the device on which you intend to install the application, tap on this link , in order to go directly to its download page.
In conclusion, press the Get button, tap the Install button and confirm the operation using the Face ID, Touch ID or password of your Apple ID.
As for the use of Adobe Reader on mobile devices, know that this roughly follows the desktop one, albeit with some differences.
After installing and starting the application, click on the File button (below), select the item On this device and select the file to modify. Otherwise, download the document you saved on Document Cloud, Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud storage services, by tapping on one of the appropriate items.
Once the document is open, click on the pencil icon (bottom right) and then on the Comment item to add a comment, on the Fill and sign item to insert a signature or on the Edit PDF or Organize pages item if you want to make changes to the document using the advanced functions available for a fee.
By pressing the three dots icon (top right), you can access all the other available functions, the table of contents and thumbnails of the file, while pressing the share symbol you can share a copy of the open document.
For more information about the use of Adobe Reader, I refer you to reading the guide dedicated to the apps to read PDF, where I showed you how the Adobe home solution works (and not only).