This category includes desktop programs that can be used for reading and annotating PDF documents, other than the slow and bloated Adobe Reader. While I will admit that the Adobe product has improved in both speed and features in recent years, it still lags behind some of the products reviewed here.
My personal criteria for rating the PDF reader include the following factors:
- Ability to open PDF files – All PDF files are not created equal. I assembled a set of about a dozen test files using various combinations of size, security, and form and image content. These are typical files used in both office and recreational computing, the kind of PDF files that most people want to read. I do note that none of the programs reviewed were able to render an Adobe 3D image test file correctly. With the exception of this 3D file, if a reader was unable to open any of the test files, it was eliminated from consideration.
- Speed of opening files – While a second or two difference in opening files doesn't make too much difference to me, delays beyond a few seconds tend to annoy me.
- The graphical user interface (GUI) – While I do have a bias toward programs that are aesthetically pleasing, ease of use is also important in the GUI evaluation.
- The document reading experience – This factor includes how intuitively the program operates, the speed of rendering text and images, and the navigation controls.
- The tools for annotation – One important aspect of PDF readers for me is the basic ability to markup, comment on, add drawing elements in a PDF and save the document with the alterations but without unwanted trial software watermarks.
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – This ability to convert a scanned or imaged PDF to a computer readable text and save the converted document is an important feature. This makes the text within the document both searchable and able to be copied. Unfortunately only one of our choices contains this feature. Read on to find which one.
[Doakio Editor's Note: This article was restored from Gizmo's Freeware archives as a service to the freeware community. Gizmo's Freeware provided high-quality, volunteer freeware reviews for decades. They shut down in July of 2021.]
PDF-XChange Editor It serves as a PDF viewer plus basic editing requirements
License: Free (Limited features)
Foxit Reader A worthy contender to open and accurately render pdf files
More PDF Readers
Check out more PDF readers reviewed and rated with Software Finder at our site.
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