Keyboard Based Fast PDF Viewer for Ubuntu Linux & Windows – MuPDF

For all those who use Ubuntu and don’t like the default built in document viewer (called “Evince”, errrr ;-)) there are a lot of other alternatives that you can try. If you’re looking for a fast loading one then ePDF looks good or if you want a more professional looking one then try Foxit etc.

But for a change you can also try ‘MuPDF’ as it is too a simple tool that loads fast and doesn’t consume a lot of system resources when running.

However please remember that, due to few reasons, this will not be able to replace Evince or any other graphical PDF viewers in Ubuntu!. Firstly because it doesn’t have a UI of its own to begin with (only shows a window after a PDF is opened) nor a menu and tool-bars. Instead, it’s designed in a way you can control its features by using keyboard shortcuts.

It might not be your average PDF viewer, but …

This might not suit all users and if you’re already an addicted command-line user ;-), then you’ll love it. But you can easily open PDF files using it because MuPDF adds itself to the Nautilus right click menu, so it should be newbie friendly too.


Main features…

*. As mentioned its features are implemented as keyboard shortcuts (usually associated with a single “key” for ease of use) and you can use them to:

1. Rotate pages.

2. Scroll (left/right/down).

3. Zoom in/out.

4. Go to next/previous pages.

5. “Mark” pages and open marked pages directly later.

6. Go to an any page (by manually assigning the page number).

7. Search for Text within the PDF files (with “previous/next” search features).

8. Has a separate “gray-scale mode” and can easily change between them.

9. You can use your mouse for copying and selecting text (press “right mouse” button and drag around for selecting the text and that text will be automatically copied to the clipboard. It didn’t copy the content to the clipboard while I was using though) and open URLs by simply clicking on them.

*. Supports opening encrypted PDF files.

These are some of its main features to mention.

You can install MuPDF in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04 by simply typing the below command your Terminal window.

sudo apt-get install mupdf

Now since because you have to learn its shortcut keys before using it, then use the below command to read its manual (it’s short and sweet!).

man mupdf


For the MS Windows users, please visit this Official MuPDF web page for the downloading instructions.

That’s it, good luck.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

2 thoughts on “Keyboard Based Fast PDF Viewer for Ubuntu Linux & Windows – MuPDF”

  1. This does seem to be the quickest PDF reader I’ve tried so far — the only problem is I can’t find any documentation for the keyboard commands. Plus and minus keys to change size are a given, along with page down and page up, but how are other functions implemented?


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