Windows 8 has a built-in PDF/XPS reader that most users have no clue is included in the OS. Windows Reader is a fully functional PDF/XPS reader, similar to what is built-in to the Chrome Web browser. It works just like the Chrome Web browser version does, except it’s integrated into Windows.

This hidden app can be your default PDF or XPS reader in Windows 8. No need to download external software when one is integrated with the OS.

Let’s take a look at how Windows Reader works in Windows 8.

How to Use Windows 8 Reader

Windows Reader comes with Windows 8 and 8.1. It’s pre-loaded with either version and can be accessed by searching for “Reader” from the Start Screen.

If you have upgraded to Windows 8.1, you will see the icon of this app on your Start Screen.


When Reader opens, you’ll immediately be able to click on “Browse” to open PDFs or XPS’ on your computer.


Similar to how SkyDrive and other areas of Windows 8 and 8.1 work, you can browse through a variety of folders to find PDFs or XPS’.


If you click on the “Drop Down Arrow,” you can navigate through a variety of folders and Libraries on your PC.


This includes cloud-based folders, such as those associated with Google Drive or SkyDrive. You can even search over your Homegroup and your Network for locations where you might store PDFs and XPS files.

Reader Interface and Usage

When you pinpoint what you want to read and open it, it’ll be displayed in full-screen format.


In the lower right-hand corner, you can make the PDF or XPS larger or smaller depending on what makes it more readable.


As you scroll down, you can go through the document as you see fit.

If you click the “-“ until you can no longer click it, you’ll be given a full-screen view of each page in the document.


This makes it easy to go to the page you want when you open a PDF or XPS file.

Right-click anywhere on the PDF or XPS will open its bottom toolbar.


From here, you can do a variety of things, starting with using the Find feature to locate specific text or an area of what you’re reading.

To the right of that, you can view two pages side-by-side, view an item one page at a time or read the document in continuous mode.


You’re also able to open a new document, save it as a new file, print it or clicking “More” will allow you to rotate the XPS or PDF, get more info about it or close it all together.


Windows Reader is a fully integrated and function PDF/XPS Reader that you can use instead of relying on other methods to read PDF or XPS files in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.


Windows Reader is a worthy alternative if you’re looking for just a plain old PDF/XPS reader. While there are bigger and better products out there – like Adobe Reader – sometimes the basics are enough for a PC user. Windows Reader can be your easy-to-use PDF/XPS Reader, no matter what you enjoy reading.