How to read, edit and sign a PDF on Android?

Summary Comment lire, modifier et signer un PDF sur Android ?

Find fileReading a PDFReading a long PDFEditing a PDFComments

In the 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. We explain how to open an attachment in PDF format with your smartphone, modify it and sign it.

PDF files have become the norm when it comes to sharing a document, whether it's text, a scan, or a slide presentation. While Google Chrome or other browsers are able to read them on a computer, the browser's mobile app cannot.

In addition, some manufacturers do not think to install a basic PDF reader on their phones, even though they sometimes include a file explorer.

Find a PDF file on your smartphone

It is certainly possible to find your PDF files in the attachments of your emails, but all this research, in addition to playing with our nerves, very quickly becomes a waste of time and efficiency. This is where file managers for phones come in. They allow you, as on a computer, to find all your files and store them in folders.

The easiest way is to use the file manager that your phone offers natively. If yours doesn't have one, or you find it unappealing, there are dozens of apps that — more or less — do the job on the Play Store.

For example, Samsung's File Manager can automatically display all PDF files, including those in your Google Drive or OneDrive accounts — if you've connected them.

As for applications on the Play Store, we recommend Solid Explorer or Google Files GO. Remember that a simple search for "PDF" in the explorer bar will be enough to display all your PDF files.

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

Solid Explorer File Manager

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Files by Google

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

Read 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 file reader. It will fill the vast majority of uses and if you just want to play your file, look no further.

Google Drive

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With Google Drive's PDF reader, one can read a PDF, search the text of the file, and save the document to the cloud. Once saved, the Drive icon is replaced by the comment icon.

Note that another PDF reader application is very often installed as standard on Android phones: “Google PDF Viewer” or “Google PDF Reader” in French. You will surely ask me what it brings more. Well nothing, it's a duplicate — we're used to it with Google.

In fact, this drive is very similar to that of Google Drive, but with one less option: that of saving to Drive.

In reality, there's little chance that your phone can't open a PDF file even if you don't have a dedicated reader installed. There will always be a basic solution, whether it is ergonomic or not. Said solution will often be that of Google, which will suit the majority of users.

Here, Samsung offers me 4 applications to open my PDF file: one from Samsung, one from Google and two from Microsoft. Android is made for that: the choice is yours! Remember that the PDF Drive reader will do the trick.

Read 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 offers many more possibilities, such as following its reading more easily, adding bookmarks, highlighting text, taking notes, etc.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

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Many of these features require a subscription, but the best ones are free. First, it is no longer necessary 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 navigate easily from one page to another thanks to the cursor located on the right of the screen. It can be used in two different ways: either by sliding from top to bottom, or by tapping on it to enter the desired page number.

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

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

Finally, you will have noticed on the screenshot, Adobe Acrobat Reader offers to download another application of the suite. This is a scanning tool for scanning your documents with the phone's camera, as well as a tool for editing PDF files, very useful for filling out and signing forms, for example.

Edit and sign a PDF from your smartphone

Precisely, this is the subject of this last part: how to modify 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 desktop and mobile.

The best answer to this problem is Adobe Fill & Sign, available on its own, but which integrates with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Open your file with Reader, then from the side menu select "Fill & 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 over the PDF, just type where you want to write and enter your text. Note that it is possible to save personal information such as surname, first names, address and others using the man-shaped icon at the top of the screen. This avoids rewriting this information each time the form is filled.

The pen icon next to it is the signature and initials menu. You can then save this information in order to place your signature anywhere on the document later. Finally, to check a box, simply click on it to display a cross there. Once your changes are complete, all you have to do is share the document via the share icon, located 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. Be aware that some manufacturers such as Samsung offer, for example, a PDF editor directly integrated into their phones.


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