One of the most popular free PDF readers, Foxit allows you to do a lot more than just view PDFs in both the free and paid versions. For the free reader, this includes annotating (commenting) PDFs, filling out forms, signing documents and even creating PDFs. Foxit PhantomPDF is the premium version and comes with a range of features for editing, securing and converting PDF files.


Pros

  • Variety of tools for signing and certifying PDFs
  • Can create PDFs even in free version
  • PhantomPDF has large feature set comparable to Adobe Acrobat, as well as unique features
  • Well supported by both its company and the community
Cons

  • Interface can be complicated to use
  • OCR feature can have trouble with more complex documents
  • As with most PDF software, paid version is on the pricey side

What Foxit Reader does best

Foxit Reader can do pretty much anything Adobe Reader can do and a bit more, while also being a smaller and more lightweight program. Commenting on PDFs, filling them out and signing them can be done easily. The free Foxit Reader also allows you to make new blank PDFs and even create PDFs from other document and image files.

PhantomPDF can do all you would expect of premium PDF software, including editing, splitting and merging, password protecting, and converting PDF files. There are also a variety of cloud related features, including sharing, collaboration and Foxit’s own ConnectedPDF format.

Features

PDFs can be saved to cloud services like SharePoint and OneDrive in both the free and paid versions of Foxit’s software. Collaboration in the cloud can be done by converting a file to ConnectedPDF, enabling features like Connected Review which allows instantly sharing annotations with other users and Online Comment Board which lets users participate in discussions about the document.

Foxit also has a variety of add-ons and plugins available both for extending the capabilities of the Foxit software itself and adding them to other programs. For example, Spell Check or an OCR module for being added to PhantomPDF. On the other hand, the Firefox plugin for adding a basic version of Foxit Reader to Firefox. There are also Foxit add-ins for Microsoft Office products which provide additional controls when converting files to PDF in those programs.

Pricing

PhantomPDF is available as both a recurring subscription or one-time purchase. Foxit PhantomPDF Standard provides most of the features anyone would need at either $14.99 monthly, $99 yearly, or $139 for one-time payment. Foxit PhantomPDF Business is designed more for enterprise users and costs $16.99 monthly, $132 yearly, or $179 as a one-time purchase.

Foxit PhantomPDF Mac is available separately from the Windows versions and costs the same as PhantomPDF Standard.

A one-time purchase of a Foxit product will give you permanent access to that version of PhantomPDF and critical updates, but will require an upgrade purchase for access to a new version when it comes out. If you always want to have the latest version or only plan to use PhantomPDF for a certain amount of time, a subscription purchase may be the best choice. All versions also offer a free trial.

What users have to say about Foxit Reader

Most users have given both Foxit Reader and PhantomPDF rave reviews, often comparing it to Adobe Acrobat and saying it’s as good or better than it for working with PDFs. User reviews have mentioned that it’s good for a wide variety of business applications, including both creating forms and filling out and signing them. A common theme also seems to be that they have great support, receiving assistance that is both prompt and helpful.

Some users do say the layout of the program can be a bit confusing or unintuitive to use, and that it’s even a bit ugly or dated looking. There have also been reports of the OCR module not working well with scanning more complex documents with lots of images and that it’s more suited to simple ones.

Software details

Foxit Reader is available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. PhantomPDF can be purchased for both Windows and Mac computers. Foxit PDF Reader Mobile is also available for both Android and iOS devices.

Bottom line

While there are many other great options out there, both Foxit Reader and PhantomPDF provide all you could need as either a PDF viewer or editor and are considered among the best PDF software available by many.

Our score: ★★★★★ 4.5/5

About The Author

Ryder Lund

Since he was young Ryder has been drawn to technology and had a knack for working with and learning about it. He often ends up being tech support for friends and family because of this, so it feels natural to him to help out others by writing guides on how to use it. He enjoys living in the Pacific Northwest where he is close to both nature and the bustling tech hub of the Seattle area.