How Do I Read and Edit a Pdf File on Android? Tutorial for Beginners

In today’s Digital Age and in a world where you use your smartphone more than your computer, managing PDF files on your Android phone remains a problem for many people. How do I open a PDF attachment with my smartphone? How to find downloaded files and, most importantly, how to modify and sign them from your smartphone? That’s what we’re going to see in this tutorial.

PDF files have become the standard when sharing a document, whether it is text, a scan, or a slide presentation. While Google Chrome on Desktop is able to read them, the browser’s mobile application is not.

In addition, some manufacturers don’t think to install a basic PDF reader on their phones, even though they sometimes integrate a file explorer.

Find a PDF file on your smartphone

It is certainly possible to find PDF files in email attachments, but all this searching, in addition to playing on our nerves, very quickly becomes a waste of time and efficiency.

This is where the file managers forphones come into play. They allow you, just like on a computer, to find all your files and to arrange them in folders.

The easiest way to do this is to use the file manager that your phone offers natively. If yours doesn’t have one, or if you find it unpleasant, there are dozens of applications that do – more or less – the job on the Play Store.

For example, Samsung’s File Manager can automatically view all PDF files, including those in your Google Drive or OneDrive accounts – if you have them connected.

For applications on the Play Store we recommend Solid Explorer or Google Files GO. Remember thata simple “PDF” search in the browser bar will be enough to display all your PDF files.

If you want to find a particular file, you have to search for its name in the explorer bar or change the display mode once you have the list of your PDFs in front of you: by date, by name, by size… The aim is to refine the search to find the file in question.

Special mention to the DiskUsage application for its very original interface, but not necessarily easy to use.

Reading a PDF file of a few pages

The PDF reader is usually not installed by default on your phone, but the Google Drive application should normally be natively present. The latter has the advantage of integrating a minimalist but functional PDF reader. It will satisfy the vast majority ofuses, and if you just want to read your file, look no further.

With the PDF reader from Google Drive you can read a PDF, search the text of the file and save the document in the cloud. Once saved in the latter, the Drive icon is replaced by the comment icon.

Note that another PDF reader application is very often installed as a base application on Android phones: “Google PDF Viewer” or “Lecteur PDF Google” in French. You’ll probably ask me what else she brings to the table. Well nothing, it’s a duplicate – we’re used to it with Google.

In fact, this drive is very similar to the Google Drive but with one option less: the option to save in Drive.

In reality, is unlikely that your phone will be able to open aPDF file, even if you don’t have a dedicated reader installed. There will always be a basic solution, whether it is ergonomic or not. Such a solution will often be Google’s solution, which will be suitable for the majority ofusers.

Here, Samsung offers me 4 applications to open my PDF file: one from Samsung, one from Google and two from Microsoft. That’s what Android is made for: you have the choice! Keep in mind that the PDF Drive reader will more than do.

Reading a scan of several dozen pages

Although the first method works very well with fairly large PDF files, it may be more comfortable to read them with an application such as Adobe Acrobat Reader The latter makes it easier to follow your reading, add bookmarks, highlight text, take notes, etc.

Many of its features require a subscription, but the most interesting ones are free. Firstly, you no longer need to go through a file manager, all your PDF documents appear in the “My Documents” tab of the side menu.

Once a file is open, you can easily navigate from one page to another using the cursor on the right side of the screen. It can be used in two different ways: either by dragging up and down or by tapping it to enter the desired page number.

To avoid having to remember a page number, Adobe also offers to add bookmarks – called bookmarks – in the bar at the bottom of the screen. You can also change the playback mode – note the presence of anight mode.

When reading a PDF, it is possible to highlight, underline and cross out text in order to highlight the parts that interest us. It is also possible to add notes typed or handwritten notes to surround or annotate elements for example.

Finally, as you will have noticed on the screenshot, Adobe Acrobat Reader offers to download another application from the suite. It is a scanning tool to scan your documents with the camera of thephone, as well as a PDF editing tool, very useful to fill out and sign forms for example.

Edit PDF file

That’s precisely the subject of this last part: how to edit a PDF file from your smartphone? Gone are the days when to return a signed PDF we had to print it, sign it and scan it again. Solutions have now appeared on both computer and mobile phones

Adobe Fill & Sign: Filling out PDF forms

Adobe Fill & Sign: Filling out PDF forms


The best answer to this problem is Adobe Fill & Sign, which is available on its own, but which integrates with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Open your file with Reader, then in the side menu select “Fill and Sign”, this will open the PDF document in the editing application. It is also possible to go directly through Adobe Fill & Sign.

To enter text on top of the PDF, just type where you want to write and enter your text. Please note that it is possible to save personal information such as your name, first names, address and others thanks to the man-shaped icon at the top of the screen. This avoids having to rewrite this information each time you fill out Form.

The pen-shaped icon next to it corresponds to the menu of the signature and the initials. This information can then be recorded in order to place one’s signature anywhere on the document afterwards. Finally, to tick a box, a simple tap on it will display a cross. Once you’ve made your changes, all you have to do is share the document via the share icon at the top of the screen.

Other solutions exist, but we recommend Adobe applications, which, as you will have understood, meet the various criteria required for mobile use.

For example, Samsung offers a PDF editor on its phones. With the Galaxy Note 8 stylus, it makes it even easier!

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