As Adobe Reader has become the matter of long load times and unnecessary features, we need to turn on to some other alternatives. People want to read PDF files just like they read a web page. For so, the alternatives needed should be lightweight with optimal features. Here’s a roundup of 5 lightweight alternatives to Adobe Reader, which have crucial advantages over the original in terms of load time, size and disk space usage.

  1. Sumatra PDF: Sumatra PDF Reader is very compact in size and starts very fast. It can read PDF, XPS, CBZ and CBR files. It comes with a simple, minimalistic UI and also come with a portable version included (a single executable file that can be run from external drive and doesn’t modify the Windows registry).
    It is available for Windows only.
    • Availability: Freeware for Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 Server / Vista
    • Download size: 3.91 MB
    • Website | Download »
  2. Foxit Reader: Foxit has a clean layout very similar to Adobe Reader, in fact, it has a lot of similar functions. It is a multilingual PDF reader with a very short load time and a small file size too. Notable features are notes, search on text, zoom, document view without images and more. Both the basic and full version readers can be downloaded for free.
    • Availability: Freeware and Pro for Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 Server / Vista, Linux
    • Download size: 7.56 MB
    • Website | Download »
  3. STDU Viewer: STDU Viewer is a compact document viewer for multiple file formats like PDF, WWF, DJVU, CBR, CBZ, XBZ, TXT, PDB, EMF, WMF, BMP, TIFF, PNG, JPG, GIF, JPEG, PSD, PCX, DCX and more. The program aims at viewing multiple document with a single document reader. It has a tabbed interface and can displays thumbnails of document pages.Users can create bookmarks, adjust color and font-settings.
    • Availability: Freeware and Pro for Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista / 7
    • Download size: 2 MB
    • Website | Download »
  4. PDF XChange Viewer: PDF XChange Viewer is an advance PDF Reader developed by Tracker Software Products. It loads fast, can print PDFs, allows basic annotation and comments with no watermaks, high clarity text, allows Adobe PDF forms fills, can extract text and images, zoom, and can export PDF pages to BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG formats.
    PDF XChange Viewer is available only for Windows with Basic (free) and Pro (paid).
    • Availability: Freeware and Pro for Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 Server / Vista / 7
    • Download size: 14 MB
    • Website | Download »
  5. Cool PDF Reader: Cool PDF Reader is the world’s smallest PDF reader with 650 KB of file size which is used to view as well as print PDF files. It also provide the facility to convert PDF files to TXT, BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, WMF, EMF and EPS files. No lengthy installation required, you need to download, unzip (extract), and run. Cool, no?
    • Availability: Freeware for Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 Server / Vista / 7
    • Download size: 650 KB
    • Website | Download »