How to open PDF on Android

You have received a work email with an important PDF file attached; for simple reasons of convenience and speed, as well as to keep your files always at hand even on your phone or tablet, you would like to download and open the PDFs in question on your Android device . However, as much as you have tried, you have not succeeded in your intent: perhaps you do not know how to open it, or perhaps the file is “impossible to open” for some mysterious reason.

How do you say? Is this exactly the case? Then fear not: I’m here to help you. In fact, in this guide it will be my pleasure to provide you with all the necessary information on how to open PDFs on Android indicating some of the best apps to open files with this extension (and not only, since I will also tell you about PDF.p7m documents), and how to open them online without the need to download them to your device.

All you have to do is take a few minutes to devote to reading the next paragraphs and carefully follow the procedure that best suits your needs among those I am about to illustrate; by doing so I am sure that, in the end, you will know exactly how to do it and will succeed in your intent. Happy reading and good work!


  • App to open PDF on Android
    • Google PDF Viewer
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    • Foxit PDF Editor
    • Other apps to open PDF on Android
  • How to open PDF.p7m on Android
  • How to open PDFs without downloading them on Android
  • How to open PDF attachments on Android
  • Cannot open PDF files on Android

App to open PDF on Android

Opening a PDF file on Android requires that an app suitable to support this extension be installed on the device, smartphone or tablet : fortunately, since it is an extremely common file type used in many contexts, working and no, there are many options available for free, like the ones I’m going to list.

Google PDF Viewer

On devices with Google services, the default app for opening PDF files is the pre-installed Google PDF Viewer , which allows you to view the documents in question very easily.

To open a PDF file downloaded on your device, first open the folder that contains it using any file manager (eg Google files ) and press on it: if you do not have other apps installed that allow you to open it, it will automatically be displayed with the Google viewer. If, on the other hand, there are more apps suitable for the purpose, you will be shown a choice menu to select another one.

To change the default app for reading PDFs, check the appropriate box while choosing the one you want to use, or follow the instructions in the tutorial I just linked to.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Perhaps you would prefer to use an app other than the default one: in this case, the first one I want to recommend is Acrobat Reader for PDF , one of the most used and available on the Play Store and on alternative stores , which allows you to open this type of file and consult them thanks to the simple and intuitive interface that distinguishes it.

The basic version of the app is free, and is sufficient for viewing files; the version that includes text and image editing, file compression and export to other formats is available by signing up for a subscription, at a cost of € 10.99 / month .

To download it, visit the Play Store link I gave you earlier or search for it “manually” in the store of your Android device and press the Install button . Once you have the app, open it by pressing on its icon on the Home screen or in the drawer. From the home screen, tap on the File item at the bottom to access the menu for selecting the PDF to open.

From here you can choose from which folder on the device or cloud service to select the file, simply by tapping on the relevant item. Among the options is also available PDF from e-mail , which allows you to quickly open any attachment in PDF format directly from the e-mail app you use on the device.

Alternatively, you can open a file that has already been downloaded by opening the folder on your device that contains it with any file manager (eg Google files ). If you wish, before selecting the app, you can click on Remember my choice to set Acrobat Reader as the default app for opening PDFs.

Foxit PDF Editor

Another valid app for viewing (and not only) PDFs on Android is Foxit PDF Editor , which offers a series of useful features for document management: text searches, support for reading and aloud, sharing and synchronization in popular cloud services ( Google Drive , OneDrive , Dropbox , etc.), plus many other editing options available for a fee.

You can download Foxit PDF Editor from the Play Store or an alternative store . As with the other apps, you can open a PDF file that has already been downloaded by opening it from any file manager (eg Google Files ) and selecting Foxit from the menu that is proposed to you.

Alternatively, you can start Foxit PDF Editor by tapping on its icon, then on the Start and Allow items (to give the required permissions) and on the File option , at the bottom of the screen, to open a file on this phone .

Other apps to open PDF on Android

None of the proposed solutions convinces and would you like to have more alternatives? No problem. There are many apps dedicated to this purpose: here are some of the best ones to try.

  • Xodo PDF Reader & Editor– is one of the most used PDF file readers, which allows you to open documents in this format and also to make changes, add annotations and highlight text. The basic version is free, but it also offers some Pro features at a cost of € 3.29 / month or € 32.99 / year.
  • PDF Viewer & Reader– a rather simple but functional app, which allows you to open PDF documents and eBooks: it has no options and is free, but also offers the removal of advertisements via in-app purchases (for the price of 2 , 79 euros).
  • PDF Reader for Android– another good app for reading and editing PDF files which, in its basic and free version, also includes useful tools for annotations, text search and bookmarks; advanced features are available through in-app purchases at a minimum cost of € 2.19.

For more guidance and advice, feel free to read my guide on apps to open PDFs .

How to open PDF.p7m on Android

The document you received is a PDF, but has the extension .p7m : then it is a certified file that bears a digital signature , whose opening requires a specific app that supports the analysis of the signature information. To view its content, you can rely on one of the apps developed specifically for reading this type of file available for the Android operating system.

Among these, one of the most used is GoSign (ex Dike) developed by InfoCert and available on the Play Store . Once downloaded correctly, open it and, at the first start, tap on the Start button , then on the Next button twice and finally on Close .

The main screen offers a series of different features, including the possibility of digitally signing with the InfoCert service: to open a document, tap on Upload a document , then select the folder of the device in which it is located, if you have already downloaded it. Once this is done, click on the Open Document option .

For more information on how to open p7m files , I invite you to consult the guide I have dedicated to this topic , complete with all the details of the case.

How to open PDFs without downloading them on Android

If you are wondering if it is possible to open PDF documents directly from the browser for viewing only without downloading them, I must let you know that, unfortunately, it is not possible: opening the files in this extension from the browser necessarily requires downloading the document, which takes place automatically. The option to disable its download is not present on Google Chrome, nor on most browsers for Android.

However, there are many web services to open PDFs online that allow uploading of documents from cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive ). To find out more, I refer you to the guide I wrote on how to open PDF files , in which I recommended some of these online services, which are also accessible from browsers for smartphones and tablets.

How to open PDF attachments on Android

Would you like to know how to open a PDF file that was emailed to you on Android ? Nothing simpler. All you have to do is, first of all, start the e-mail app you use on your device (eg Gmail ), locate the e-mail containing the attachment and press on the preview of the message, to view it in its entirety: little further down the text you will see all the files included in the email.

To open one, simply tap on it: if you have already set a default app for opening PDFs, it will automatically launch to view the attachment. If not, you will be shown the selection menu with all installed apps that support the format.

If you want to set a default, tap on Remember my choice and then press the icon of the app you want to use: the file will be opened.

Cannot open PDF files on Android

How do you say? Have you tried several methods among those I suggested, but the file is impossible to open and you get an error? In such cases, you can rely on some simple solutions that you can try to fix the problem.

First, it might be useful to re-download the PDF, which may be damaged. If you keep getting an error message, change the default app for opening PDF documents: to know how, read this guide that I have dedicated entirely to this procedure. Alternatively, you can install another app dedicated to this purpose, launch it and open the file directly from it, selecting the option on the main screen to browse the device folders and select the PDF to open.

Finally, it is possible that the file is password protected – in this case, you will need an app that supports this type of document. In this case, feel free to check out my guide on how to open password protected PDF files , in which I have recommended some tools developed specifically for this purpose.

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