4 Ways to Open a PDF File


PDF files are widely used for sharing documents across devices and platforms. Despite their popularity, many people face challenges opening them efficiently.

This guide aims to simplify the process by exploring various methods how to open a PDF file. You'll learn about third-party apps, browser and online solutions. We will also show their advantages and disadvantages.

Whether you're on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, this article will provide practical insights to help you open, view, and interact with PDF files seamlessly.

How to open a PDF file offline

Method 1. Icecream PDF Editor

Icecream PDF Editor is a versatile software designed for viewing, managing, and editing documents with ease. It provides users with a range of intuitive tools to handle PDF files efficiently.

To start using the application and view PDF files on a PC, follow the instructions below:

  1. Download PDF editor for PC and install it on your computer. Then, launch the program.
  2. Access the PDF file by clicking "Open". You can also do it by navigating "File" > "Open".
  3. View and modify the PDF file within the editor.
  4. Save any changes made to the PDF by following "File" > "Save".


  • User-friendly interface. Offers an intuitive interface, making it easy for users of all levels to navigate and utilize its tools effectively.
  • Annotation and markup. Users can annotate PDFs by adding comments, highlights, underlines, and other markup tools to emphasize important sections.
  • Page management. It allows users to easily manage pages within a PDF, including merging, rearranging, deleting them. It is also possible to rotate a document.
  • Security features. Provides security options such as password protection and permissions settings, ensuring sensitive documents are safeguarded against unauthorized access.

Method 2. Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. It allows users to keep files securely on Google's servers, access them from any device, and share them with others. Please be aware that this method is only for registered users with a Google account.

Read how to open a PDF using this file storage:

  1. Sign in to your account.
  2. Access Google Drive.
  3. Import the PDF by pressing "+ New" and selecting "File upload".
  4. Right-click on the uploaded PDF file and choose "Open with" from the menu.
  5. Select "Preview" from the options provided.
  6. View your PDF files.

Unlike the first one, this method does not allow you to edit PDFs, but it is possible to leave comments for teamwork. This can be useful when reviewing various documents.

How to open PDF in Google Docs


  • Accessibility. PDF files stored there are accessible from any web-connected device.
  • Collaboration. Allows multiple users to work on the same PDF simultaneously, enabling real-time commenting, and tracking of changes.
  • Sharing. PDF documents that are located there can be easily shared with other people by generating a link.


  • Security concerns. Storing sensitive files may raise security concerns. This happens because all files are stored on Google's servers and are subject to the site's privacy policies and terms of service.
  • Internet connection. Accessing documents requires an internet connection, which may be a limitation in situations where online access is unavailable.
  • Size limitations. Google Drive imposes certain file size limitations for uploading and storing PDF files. This may restrict users from uploading large or high-resolution PDF files without compression or resizing.

Method 3. Browser

You can also view PDF files using any simple browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and others.

Follow these steps to open a PDF:

  1. Locate the document on your computer. Right-click it, and select the "Open with" option in the menu.
  2. Then, pick the browser you are using to view PDF. It will be opened in a new tab.


  • Speedy access. Opening PDF files is swift and without delays.
  • No requirements. No need for specific expertise or additional software installations.
  • Offline accessibility. Functionality remains intact even without an internet connection, ensuring access anytime.


  • Limited functionality. Lacks advanced features available in comprehensive PDF editors.

How to open a PDF online?

Method 4. PDF Candy

PDF Candy is a straightforward online service offering a wide range of tools and utilities for working with PDF files. Users can upload their PDF files and access a variety of features for viewing, editing, managing, and converting PDF documents.

Look how to view PDF files directly within its platform:

  1. Visit the PDF Candy website. Open the "Edit PDF" tool.
  2. Upload your document by pressing "+Add file" or dragging and dropping it.
  3. Wait for the file to open.
  4. Now you can view and make the necessary modifications.


  • Comprehensive toolset. Offers a lot of tools for viewing, editing, and annotating PDF files.
  • No installation. As an online platform, PDF Candy can be accessed directly from a web browser without the need for any software installation.
  • Conversion options. Users can convert PDF files to various formats and vice versa, providing flexibility for sharing and collaborating on documents.
  • Cloud storage integration. Supports integration with storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.


  • Internet connection required. Users need an internet connection to access tools and features.

Why can't I open a PDF?

There could be several reasons why you're experiencing difficulty viewing PDF files. Here are some common causes and troubleshooting steps you can try:

  • Corrupted PDF File. The PDF itself may be damaged. Try opening a different PDF file to see if the issue persists. If other files open without any problems, the cause may lie with the specific one you have.
  • Browser Settings. If you want to open a PDF file in a web browser and encounter issues, clear your browser's cache and cookies. Or use another browser to see if that resolves the problem.
  • Security Software. Antivirus programs or firewall settings may sometimes interfere with PDF files' opening. Temporarily turn off any security programs you may have and try to open the PDF file again to see if this solves the problem.
  • File Association. Ensure that PDF files are associated with the appropriate program for opening them. You can check and change file associations in your device's settings or control panel.
  • File Permissions. If the file is located on a network or external drive, check that you have the necessary rights to access the PDF.
  • Password Protected PDFs. If the file is protected with a password, you'll need to enter it to access the contents. Make sure you have the code or contact the file's owner to remove the password.


What should I do if the PDF file appears blank or distorted when I open it?
It may indicate a compatibility issue or a problem with the file itself. Try opening the PDF file in another reader or application to see if the issue stays. Additionally, check for any error messages or warnings that may provide clues to the problem.
Can I open PDF files on different operating systems?
Yes, PDF files are designed to be cross-platform compatible. It means that they can be opened and viewed on various operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Is it possible to open large PDF files?
Yes, but the performance may vary depending on your device and the PDF viewer you're using. Some readers may have limitations on the size of files they can handle, so you may experience slower performance or temporary freezing when opening very large PDFs.
Can I view PDF files on eBook readers?
Usually, ebook readers support opening PDF documents, but compatibility and functionality may vary depending on the program's capabilities.


  1. Update Your Software. Keep your PDF reader and operating system up to date to ensure compatibility with the latest PDF file formats and security patches.
  2. Double-Check the File Extension. Make sure the file you're trying to open has the ".pdf" extension. Sometimes, files may be mislabeled or saved in a different format.
  3. Open from the Source. For example, if you received the PDF via email, open it directly from the email client rather than downloading it first.
  4. Repair the PDF. Some PDF viewers offer options to repair corrupted PDF files. Look for instruments like "Repair" or "Restore" within the viewer's menu.
  5. Enable Pop-up Windows. If you are attempting to open a PDF file from a website and are experiencing problems, make sure your browser allows pop-ups from this web page.
  6. Convert to Another Format. If you're still unable to open your PDFs, consider converting it to another format such as DOCX (Microsoft Word) or JPG (image).


In conclusion, opening PDF files is a straightforward process that offers various methods and tools to suit different preferences and requirements.

Whether you're using desktop software or online platforms, there are numerous options available to access and view PDF files efficiently.

By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can confidently navigate the world of PDFs and unlock the valuable information contained within these versatile documents.

Alexandra Meyer

Editor-in-Chief at Icecream Apps

With experience spanning over several years, Alexandra Meyer holds the esteemed position of editor-in-chief at Icecream Apps. Originally involved in the website's establishment in 2014, Alexandra now ensures the maintenance of the company's exceptional content standards across their various projects. Specializing in technology, software, online services, and human resources, she has extensively written and edited numerous articles on these subjects.
5 min read
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