This Amazing PDF Reader Is Portable And Tiny


I read a lot of PDF files, on both my iPad and my Windows PC.  I like the PDF file concept a lot, but I am constantly amazed at how large and bloated the readers have become.  The latest version of Adobe's reader is 48 MB, and pretty resource-hungry once installed.

So imagine my delight when I recently discovered a PDF reader called Sumatra.  It's available for Windows, and it's free.  It's only 2.5 MB to download, it's lightning fast to start up, and it's portable so there's nothing to install.  Just double-click the single .EXE file once you've unzipped the download, and away you go.

It'll even read .djvu files (created by Deja Vu, which is a format that competes with PDF), and is malware-free according to Virus Total.

Check it out, and download a copy, at




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Hi rob.schifreen, and all.

Why dont you try this good one. its on;y 1.07 mb in size -:)

Portable Cool PDF Reader

Read all your PDF files

Download from here....

As a printer Driver (acts like a printer), I accidentally fell across BOLT PDF which is pretty good. Beware the Crapware when installing is my only warning.

i was just trying to inject a bit-of-brevity and wasn't poking at GOOG. ANAL. (i believe that's the stock market abbreviation for google analytics) suffice to say but, more at myself for lack of anything better to poke at.


durn mc, that was nice. cut him clean thru and didn't even leave a mark. delicate touch.
'google analytics', need learn me sumem big words too.


Google Analytics is a valuable tool for us. All of our review titles use keywords and phrases generated by GA to ensure folks are more likely to find what they are looking for on our site. MC - Site Manager.

years ago i switched from a (then) fast foxit to a faster sumatra. i dealt with the less than clear pages and the missing whistles and bells, until (like someone posted above) some types of pdf would kill it. then i found x-change viewer. searches pdf files for text,comes with an onscreen character recognition app and easily tells usps and other sites to 'bite me' when adobe's overbearing head rears itself. it even worked when to print postage at home you had to download a file that was supposedly only able to be opened by adobe to print out the shipping label. "adobe this"
like david roper mentioned, the first time i went to d/load it i had to circumnavigate thru the 'fodder' to find the good stuff. i don't think it's as bad as it used to be. it's certainly not as bad as going to the "super" by eright site to download the "super" file converter the first 2 times there it took me 30 minutes just to find out i couldn't find it. littered with links and pay s/ware that don't even belong to eright. now i find it in 20 seconds. so if that's the only caveat with x-change viewer then...

michael clyde

Have to agree. I'd never have thought that a portable PDF reader existed, so would never have bothered searching for one. And as for us not standing for any criticism on here, you should see some of the stuff that we delete! We will, and do, gladly publish any criticism as long as it's not offensive or personal. Though I should point out that there have been times when a comment aimed at me has been deleted by the site managers, and I've specifically asked for it to be reinstated so I can reply in public. We're democracy in action, we are. Robert

Hi Rob - The fact that you'd "never have thought that a portable PDF reader existed" merely confirms my tongue-in-cheek comment. Even two of the three "Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Readers" as listed on your own TechSupportAlert page have portable versions available - PDF-XChange Viewer and Sumatra.

You also have a listing on your site for "Best Free Portable PDF Viewer" which includes the two above, plus Cool PDF Reader. I might point out that all these portable PDF viewers have been around for quite some time.

As for not abiding any criticism here: I was not talking about deleting comments or non-publication, I was referring to a defensive attitude which, although perfectly understandable, is often not justified.

Anyway, my initial comment was meant as a friendly dig and not to insult or offend. So, apologies if that has been the inadvertent outcome.

Regards... Jim

Hot Find? Really?

Sumatra has been around since 2006. Rob, you do need to get out more. :)

As has been said many times on these pages, "hot" is not necessarily about "new". The majority of our visitors are new to Gizmo's and many of those will also be new to computing. Additionally, since Sumatra does not feature prominently in a Google search, many will have missed out on its presence this way too. MC - Site Manager.

"Hot" yes - "Find" no.

As usual, you cannot abide any sort of criticism here, even when it is very minor and delivered with a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek.

If you search for "Portable PDF Viewer" in Google, Sumatra appears at the very top of the list (#1), ahead of Foxit and all the rest. So, how does it not feature prominently in a Google search?

You don't need to respond MC, it's a rhetorical question, just making a point.

Simply because the majority of users searching will enter "free PDF reader download" (according to Google analytics) and not include the word portable. MC - Site Manager.

The requirement for ANY company to REQUIRE a person to use Adobe is just malformed Managment asserting themselves in a power trip. Little minds.

Produce the document and send the PDF to me. I will decide what program to use.

Genius PDF is even smaller than Sumatra and doesn't have that ugly yellow start page - hasn't failed to open a PDF for me yet but can't say how good it is in that respect, as I don't view many. Maybe someone else has had more experience with it?

I'm turned off when suckered into a "get this free" and the link takes me to a "buy now " ad for a program.

I just won't try to find the hidden product to download. That's how i feel about the PDF X-change program here.

I've used Foxit Reader for a long time, and am satisfied with it, but perhaps I should take a look at the Sumatra...

I've been using Sumatra since its inception and I've been very impressed with it - its fast, light on its feet, and doesn't eat a lot of resources. What more does one need in a reader? Nada!

The difference between Sumatra and Adobe Reader for most documents is that you might finished reading it on Sumatra before Adobe gets its act together and slowly launches. On the other hand, Google Docs opens most pdfs so I'm using Sumatra less these days. But it is one of my Ninite installs for a new machine. I used to use Foxit which is almost as good, but Sumatra is just that bit faster.

I've been an avid user of Sumatra ever since version 1.0.1 but a couple of years ago I had to quit using it in favor of Adobe because one of my frequently used websites (USPS Click 'N Ship) only works with the Adobe version and requires that it be the default PDF reader.

Does anyone know how I can use Adobe when needed and the rest of the time use Sumatra? Thanks.

First of all, I don't use Sumatra. I use the portable version of PDF-XChange Viewer. I also keep Adobe Reader just in case I encounter a PDF that has compatibility issues.

PDF-XChange is my default program, but recently I happened on a site that insists their PDFs are only usable with Adobe. In that case, in Firefox v22 I get a pop-up message bar which gives me the option to use another program. With that, I just browse to Adobe and use it to open the PDF. This arrangement works fine for me.

However, in your case, you say USPS specifically requires Adobe Reader to be set as the default on your computer. I have never had cause to use USPS so I can't confirm this. It's strange though, for them to insist that Adobe is your default viewer. If Sumatra is set as your default, do you get the pop-up message like me? That's assuming you use Firefox too of course. Why not try it as I've outlined above and see if it works. If it doesn't, it should be a simple matter to just switch Adobe back as the default.

(BTW, I've since tested the PDFs from the site which claims I "must" use Adobe, and they work fine in PDF-XChange Viewer. I suppose they just wanted to make sure whatever program I was using was compatible).

Thanks for the tips. A couple of useful ones there. I'll look for that Firefox add-on. I use FFv22 myself. Thanks again.

gruff, I never said there's an add-on that does this - FF pops-up the message on its own. The message goes something like "This document may not display correctly" and gives me the option to choose another program.

Hmm. Misread your post. Sorry about that. I'll give it a try and see if it works. Maybe there's a setting for it in "about:config".

Subject: Changing the search highlight color:
My main problem with Sumatra was that the highlight color when doing a search was yellow, which may be hard for some users to see. I posted the issue in the Sumatra forum, and was quickly instructed on using a pre-release version to change the .ini file to get a color I could see better. The pre-release version is updated quite often, which could annoy some, but still the installation of new versions only takes seconds, and when you open a pdf, if there is a new version available you will get a popup notification. I am not sure if the color can be changed in stable versions as yet, but the pre-release versions (which might have bugs) are located here

I just looked inside Sumatra with HxD for the word in text, ello, for "yellow". None found inside. I wish Sumatra would have an ini file for stuff like that, or even allow just a word after the exe file like Sumutra yellow, on the launch line (a command parameter of sorts). Or another example: maybe Sumutra Green, or Sumtra orange.

That's the way we did it in the old days of programming. I'll toddle back now to my Nursing Home. They miss me there.

Get the pre-release version which has the .ini file at But the ini file is accessed after you run the program by clicking Settings | Advance Options.
The .ini file uses RGB color codes which you can get at to modify the advance settings file.
I use green and put it in the section of the advanced settings file called FixedPageUI [
SelectionColor = #00ff00
Yellow would be #FFFF00

Thanks Howie, why didn't think of looking at advanced? He has given it to us Geeks to change. Much appreciated.

Sumatra is not my default pdf reader but it is very good.
I have been using it on Portable apps ( for years.

I was just reading the Sumatra website. If you have a very old PC, you won't be able to use the the latest major release, 2.3, created May 22 2013. I'm talking CPUs older than a Pentium 4 or an Athlon 64. (My 7 year old desktop PC was able to upgrade to the newest Sumatra.) It also does not support any Windows older than XP (which isn't that uncommon of a restriction these days). The author makes many if not all of the previous versions available for download from his website, so if you are still running a Pentium 3 you can still use Sumatra.

I've used Sumatra for about 6 years. For the reasons stated in the article, it is my default PDF reader. However, it does have a few drawbacks.

First, it is a reader only, and of course you can save a downloaded PDF. It does not handle PDF forms where you fill in fields and then save them, like the downloadable IRS tax forms. In fact, if you have saved such a form filled-in, Sumatra won't display the data you entered earlier with Adobe. So, if you ever use that type of form, you'll need to keep Adobe or another capable program available.

Second, at least for the last couple of versions, every so often Sumatra can't handle a PDF I've downloaded and the program terminates. This has happened to me with some (by no means all) bank or credit card statements that I have tried to download and view. It seems to happen consistently with one or two accounts I have, so maybe the fault lies with the cc company, not with Sumatra. However, Adobe Reader will handle these same documents with no problem.

Nonetheless, as I said at the top, I use Sumatra regularly and have done so for many years. Sumatra is actively maintained as the author updates the program several times a year. In fact, I just applied the latest update a week or two ago. Another good thing: Sumatra isn't loaded up with a bunch of sneaky extra installations like so many other freeware programs are. I don't remember Sumatra EVER trying to foist other unwanted software on me, and for that, the author Krzysztof Kowalczyk deserves a lot of credit.