PDF readers with Readability Features

We set out to see if there was a PDF reader that had readability features like the ability to change the font size, line spacing, word spacing etc.   This is a particular challenge for PDF documents because they are meant to be “electronic paper” where something always looks the same no matter which computer you use to look at it.   You will note that creating such a reader was one of the challenges that has been on our website for five or six years.

We were delighted to find that there is in fact a PDF reader that has such readability features. Moreover, we were delighted again to find out that it is free to use by individuals.  It is the VIP PDF Reader.

Full information on our findings can be found in the following table.

PDF Editor Open Source Free to Use Resize Text with REFLOW Change Line Spacing Change Kerning Change Fonts Change Font Color and Background Color Supports Responsive Design Provides Highlighting and Reading of Text Operating Systems Notes
PDF Reader Features
VIP PDF Reader / yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes Mac, Windows, Linux  
Foxit Reader no yes no no no no no / / Mac, Linux  
Gaaiho PDF Reader no no / no no no no yes yes Windows, Android, Mac  
Adobe Reader no yes no no no no no yes yes Mac, Android, Windows Uses JAWS and Windows-Eye screen readers to support accessibility
Nitro PDF no no no no no no no yes yes Windows  
PDF-Xchange Editor no yes no no no no no / yes Windows  
SlimPDF Reader no yes no no no no no no /    
IceCream Ebook Reader no free for less number of features, upgrade for more features yes no no no no / no Windows  

NOTE:  If you know of any other PDF readers that should be captured in the chart below - please send us the data on them. 

AS ALWAYS: If you see any errors or omissions, please use the handy link at the bottom of the page (“If you see an error or….")  to let us know so we can correct them immediately.


This QuickSheet was prepared by Pavithra Ramasamy and Gregg Vanderheiden at the Trace R&D Center, University of Maryland, College Park.