Battle of the alternative PDF Reader (Foxit Reader vs Nitro Reader vs PDF-XChange Viewer)
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:14:51 PM
PDF stands for portable document format. It is the most widely used format on the net for distributing time tables, manuals, etc. It was invented by Adobe in 1993 to represent documents in a way that is independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. In order words, so that the document published looks the same everywhere. Adobe produces Adobe Reader to read this file format. But Adobe Reader is known to be too bulky and prone to virus attacks. In addition, Adobe Reader is simply a reader with no option to edit the PDF document (unless you pay). For that reason, many users use alternative PDF readers like Foxit Reader, PDF-XChange Viewer, and Nitro Reader, just to name a few. I will be focusing on these three readers in this review.
One of the most popular readers out there is the Foxit reader. Foxit is able to write to the PDF documents, but it leaves a watermark on it. The watermark can only be removed by a "paid" version.Foxit is touted to be the smallest PDF reader in the market! While that is certainly true since it has the tiniest footprint, Foxit has sneakily bundled a bunch of possible unwanted programs with the installer. You can read more about it at Downloadsquid.com's post "Foxit updates free PDF reader to v4, but watch out for adware".
Another problem with Foxit is that it does not have a proper text selector. Pressing the text select tool will bring up an "I", which will draw squares around the text you want to select. This can result in chopped off texts. In addition, the copied tests tend to display as it was in the document. That means if the text is
It will display like that in the document. That means that the text will break off at odd intervals and you will have to spend most of your time fixing the wrong breaks.
For these reasons, I do not recoment Foxit.
PDF-XChange ViewerAnother well known PDF reader is PDF-XChange Viewer by Tracker software. It is the PDF user I am currently using. Like Foxit and Nitro reader, PDF Xchange allows you to edit PDF documents. However, unlike Nitro reader, the embeded version renders the texts properly and allows the use of conventional "zoom in". Also, it has a proper "select" tool (unlike Foxit). In addition, it have a "snap shot" tool to extract images (URL links to YouTube video demostrating the tool. However, the user interface is a little tricky to use but there are plenty of help out there. On a downside, the installer comes bundle with Ask toolbar. However, the installer is straight forward unlike Foxit, which tries to trick you into downloading and installing the toolbar. If you don't want the toolbar, simply uncheck the option that you "agree" to ask terms and conditions. In addition, the option to change your homepage to Ask.com is uncheck by default.
PDF-XChange Viewer is my recommended PDF viewer of choice. That is because it have a nice balance of editing tools and does not have glaring problems (or ethical issues) as the other PDF viewers I have tried.