PDF is a versatile file format for sharing documents online. For example, many contracts and documents are signed virtually and saved as PDFs because the format tends to be more secure. However, that means that viewing and editing PDFs can get complicated. Luckily, there are plenty of Windows 10 applications available to help you out.

Free and easy

Xodo PDF Reader & Editor

Staff Favorite

Xodo is one of many free PDF viewers. It supports annotations that will also work with other PDF viewers such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, and the app makes it easy to mark up documents using digital inking. Best of all, Xodo can save your digital signature for use across multiple documents.

Free at Microsoft

Edit and manage

Foxit PhantomPDF

This powerful PDF app allows you to annotate PDFs and organize and manipulate PDF files and pages. You can also use it to encrypt, redact, and sign PDFs, and it supports scanning and editing PDFs. It’s a powerful tool that can handle all of your PDF requirements. The app itself is free but after 14 days you’ll need to purchase a license. The cheapest license is PhantomPDF Standard for $130 per year.

Free then $130/year at Microsoft


Foxit MobilePDF

Foxit MobilePDF is a lightweight PDF viewer that supports annotations, zooming, and searching text. You can also convert PDFs into Microsoft Office documents and even create PDFs yourself. It’s free and will cover the needs of many people when it comes to PDFs.

Free at Microsoft

Viewing PDFs only

PDF Viewer Plus

This is a PDF viewer, not a PDF editor. Its main aim is to have a clean interface that doesn’t get in the way of reading and viewing documents, so if you need the most basic of programs, this is the one for you. It supports zooming in and out to aid reading and also supports encrypted files.

Free at Microsoft

Heavy duty editing

Drawboard PDF

Drawboard PDF is a top-tier tool for anyone who needs to annotate, merge, markup, or work with PDFs. You can use it to merge, reorder, and draw on documents. It also has templates to help you mark up your documents. The app is $12 but some features require Drawboard PDF Pro, which costs $25 per year.

From $12 at Microsoft

Managing PDFs

PDF Manager

This app allows you to merge, split, extract and combine PDFs. You can also use it add or remove passwords and insert pages into documents. This is a good app for managing PDFs but is not a PDF reader, so you’ll need to use it in conjuction with another app on this list.

$30 at Microsoft

If we’re making some suggestions

PDFs are a popular format for documents that require signatures as well as books, textbooks, and documents. The PDF application that’s best for you depends greatly on what you need to do with your PDFs. If you just want an app to view PDFs and make light edits, Xodo is an excellent option. Its digital inking support makes it simple to add annotations and highlights to documents. You can also use it to save digital signatures to speed up the process of signing documents. These features put together with it being free earn it the top spot on this list.

If you need a more powerful PDF tool, you should look at Drawboard PDF. It supports annotations, page merging, and reordering pages. You can also use it to insert shapes into PDFs, rotate pages, and make other edits. It’s a powerful PDF tool with a wide range of features.

Inking accessories

If you’re going to mark up a PDF, you’ll want a good stylus. These styli will help you create a clean signature and attractive annotations.

Surface Pen ($40 at Amazon)

This pen works with the latest Surface devices and supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It features low latency, which helps create smooth lines and curves.

Wacom Bamboo Ink ($70 at Microsoft)

This pen supports Wacom’s Universal Pen Framework, which means it can work seamlessly with both Microsoft Surface devices and Wacom Active ES (electrostatic) hardware.

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