Foxit Reader review

The ultimate free PDF reader, creator and converter for Windows

Foxit PDF reader in action
(Image: © Foxit)

TechRadar Verdict

Much more than a replacement for Microsoft's Reader app, Foxit PDF reader has all the tools you could want for creating and working with PDFs.


  • +

    PDF creation and editing features

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    Built-in security tools

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    Microsoft Office plugins


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    No OCR in free version

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Foxit Reader is a PDF reader – and much more. As well as providing a way to view PDF files, the program can also be used to create this type of file, sign PDFs, and add annotations.

Foxit Reader

Download here: Foxit Reader

Developer: Foxit Software

Operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux

Version: 8

There are also Foxit Reader plugins for Microsoft Office programs (including Word, Excel and PowerPoint) that make for easy conversion of common file types, and open up the possibility of create PDFs from pretty much any file you can open.

Ultimately, Foxit Reader is a PDF viewer with a handful of tricks up its sleeve to entice you away from the competition.

One of our favourite Foxit Reader features is its security toolbox. We particularly like the handy JavaScript security option, which prevents unauthorized scripts transmitting data. It's hugely useful when you've downloaded a PDF from the internet and aren't certain of its provenance.

The ability to create PDF files from scanned documents is also incredibly useful, although it's a shame that OCR support isn't available in the free product.

The browser-style plugins are a great way to extend Foxit Reader's capabilities further still, but the free edition has pretty much all of the bases covered already.

Foxit Reader is possibly the most feature-packed free PDF reader around – powerful, feature-packed and remarkably fast.

User experience

If you've never created a PDF before, the prospect might be a little daunting, and Foxit Reader's interface can seem overwhelming. While the look is not too far removed from that of Microsoft Office – there is a very familiar ribbon toolbar in place, for instance – it somehow manages to look complex in a way that will be off-putting to some.

Thankfully, it's possible to minimize the ribbon to reduce screen clutter, freeing up the interface for the PDF you're viewing; something that's improved even further by the distraction-free full-screen mode. You can also minimize the entire program window to a system tray icon, which occupies less space than an entry in the Windows Taskbar.

Foxit Reader is much more than just a viewer – it also lets you create your own PDFs

Foxit Reader is much more than just a viewer – it also lets you create your own PDFs

When it comes to simply viewing PDFs, Foxit Reader is easy to get into. A second row of tabs makes it simple to work with multiple files at the same time, and another toolbar – vertical this time – allows for navigation of bookmarks, tables of contents and so on.

Latest updates

The latest version of Foxit Reader provides ease of use enhancements, and a plugin that generates a link that enables you to share a PDF via email or social media. For a full list of changes, see the release notes.

The competition

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Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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