Adobe Acrobat for Chromebook

Adobe AcrobatPDF files are everywhere on the web, and remain an excellent format for documentation that needs to retain its fonts and formats. Chrome OS does a great job of viewing PDFs, but you’ll need to dig a little further if you want to add notes or edit files.

Built into Chrome

Chrome has a built-in PDF viewer that’s fast and very easy to use – it simply treats PDFs on the web like a regular web page. You can go fullscreen for distraction-free reading.

Chrome built-in PDF viewer
Chrome built-in PDF viewer

Preview from Google Drive

There’s also a previewer in Google Drive – use it by clicking on any of your PDFs from Drive’s web interface. It’s slightly faster than the built-in Chrome viewer, because it doesn’t download the the full file, but dithers graphics and shows a lightly rendered version, which is great for huge PDFs and less stable internet connections.

Google Drive PDF Viewer
Google Drive PDF Viewer

PDFZen

PDFZen is a fully online PDF editor, which will let you do notes, comments, highlights and drawing on a PDF, which you can then download or share with anyone, and you don’t even have to log in. The only thing you can’t do is actually edit the text of a PDF file, so this is more for annotating an existing document (e.g. class notes) than re-editing.

PDFZen
PDFZen

PDFescape

PDFescape is very similar to PDFZen, with similar capabilities and similar tools, but a slightly different interface.

PDFescape
PDFescape

Kindle for Chromebook

Kindle logoIf you’re used to reading books on your Kindle / iPhone / iPad / Android, you’ll be pleased to know that you can go right on doing exactly that on Chromebook. Even better, you can download books so you can read offline.

Kindle on Chromebook
Downloading a book for offline reading
Kindle on Chromebook
Reading a Kindle on Chromebook

Install Amazon’s Cloud Reader app in the Chrome store to get started.