Any suggestions of PDF readers?

Adobe Reader 8 is quite heavy. Therefore, I’m searching for alternative readers, but NONE seems to satisfy my needs. :-\

Here are some problems with the alternatives that Adobe - luckily - does not have:

A. Impossible to copy text from a PDF and then paste it in Office (or Notepad) without major loss of characters and/or formatting.
B. Images of a PDF are only possible to copy in the very resolution you see on the screen.
C. You’ll see links or other signs to tell you “this is only a reader, click here for a full version”.
D. Really ugly GUI.

PDF readers which I think suffer from one or several (but not only “C” or “D”) of the issues above are:

Foxit Reader
GSview (with Ghostscript)
MicroAdobe (yes, what a really silly name)
PDF-XChange Viewer
Cool PDF Reader

So the bottom line is; Adobe Reader kicks a*s compared to the others, but it is a bit too much. Anyone knows a decent alternative?

I thought I already recommended Foxit to you back here:,5800.msg42980.html#msg42980

No. Although it may look like it, I do not in fact have photographic memory. (Or do I? 88)).

I think you know more than any of us in terms of adobe alternatives.

You have a good memory Soya :wink:

I also remember that Adobe discussion. Those BHO:s don’t bother me anymore, even though I have disabled them now, to get a more stand alone feeling of Adobe Reader. Don’t want it to load into IE.

Now I was just desperately hoping that somebody knew anything more about PDF readers, but you may have a point; there isn’t much more to say after my last post…


Re. A, this is one of the BEST features of Acrobat docs as there is some measure of security around the docs you generate. There are several PDF translation utilities that will convert a PDF into an editable document format (.DOC etc.). They still won’t convert a P)DF that has the security options enabled, though.

Re. B, this is because it uses a form of display postscript to regenerate the image according to the current view perspective. Nothing can be done about this as the image no longer exists as a discrete image, it is merely another data segment within the overall PDF document.

Ewen :slight_smile:

Thanks for the info :slight_smile:

As for “B”, you may be right. But still one gets the original image resolution when copying an image from Adobe Reader, I think. Have tried to copy images from PDF:s and only Adobe seem to capture them correctly. With the other programs one get the images as they appear on the screen, independent of their actual resolution.

I work with a lot pf PDF files and have tried many alternatives to Adobe. Unfortunately, Adobe Reader is still the best available, both for functionality and security.
Personally, I minimize the readers impact by preventing the speed launcher and synchronizer from starting up with windows. I think this is about the best one can hope for with the current version.


I still use V5.05 of the Adobe Reader as it’s light, quick to load, renders properly, won’t ring home and supports scroll wheels.

I’m yet to find a better alternative.

Ewen :slight_smile:

I used to use the speed-up utility with Adobe (it basically turns off all of the plug-ins), then got to tolerate Foxit, as Adobe without its functions is about the same as any other - also got about 25MB off the HD!


Only problem there is, when someone creates a PDF using Adobe Acrobat, and chooses the compatibility level higher than version 5, what happens? Will you still be able to view the document?

/LA, I think you’ve hit all the Reader variants that I’ve tried, and then some. There’s no doubt Adobe leads the way on that (even worse is a full-fledged Acrobat replacement…); I’ve finally settled on Foxit Reader as an alternative because it does what I personally need it to. It’s fast, light, stable, and doesn’t phone home. I have yet to find any version of Adobe that fit those, no matter what I disabled/removed/turned off.

I have yet to find a replacement for Acrobat. I’ve tried a couple that work fine, but the files they create are HUGE. :frowning:


Anderow, I’ve also disabled everything with Adobe from loading with Windows (actually everything is disabled except for the very essential stuff like CPF and BOClean), also disabled its BHO:s. But shouldn’t there be a contradiction here; enabling the Adobe start speed-up thing maybe does a proper job? Despite that, I’ll continue with having as much disabled as possible, it’s beautiful to watch in the task manager how few processes are running :slight_smile:

panic, that’s an interesting alternative, however I agree with LM - if you get a newer PDF file I suppose it won’t open.

giraffe, I’ve also tried the speed-up utility but it messed up the Adobe installation causing a reinstallation as the only way out. No more speed-up for me :wink:

LM, I understand your choice. At least Adobe Reader 8 should be ligher than 7, from what I’ve heard. Also saw a blog making some comparations; Foxit seemed to have a horrible render quality whilst Adobe best rendered the text.

When you say that you’re looking for an Acrobat alternative, do you mean Acrobat or just Reader? I guess you really mean Acrobat; the production program (many people confusingly say “Acrobat Reader”)? Are you looking for PDF printing software, PDF optimizers?

Yes, I’m referring to Acrobat (the PDF-producer/modifier/editor/etc). I’ve used it before (version 6) and it was big enough then; it seems to have only gotten heavier since, and more expensive, to boot! I do not want to pay that kinda $$ (especially for something that heavy) if there are viable alternatives.

I can create PDFs with a print engine like PDF-Forge’s PDF Creator, and that works fine. I can view them using Foxit Reader, and that works fine. But it’s nice to be able to skip some steps, especially when scanning documents, and go straight to the source; then be able to move pages around, add notes, etc. There’s just stuff you can’t do without an Editing application.

Most of the alternatives either don’t/can’t do everything Acrobat does. NitroPDF seems okay, but creates 25MB files that should be 200KB at most. I haven’t tried JAWS PDF Suite yet. Those appear (at this point) to be the only possibilities for full-featured apps.


I went through a lot of them about 2 years ago. Some need GhostScript (so more download and installation); some aren’t bad but the ‘useability’ is poor (and I needed speed and convenience); finally settled on PDFfactory as it’s quick, the embedded fonts can be chosen, maked files a lot smaller than the (most other PDF-makers give bigger files, OO being bad) and it integrated well with the database-to-PDF-to-email system and enabled rapid sending of PDFs.
With everything open, could print A4 with 2 simple graphics to PDF with 2 fonts to Eudora (message and subject already in from PDFf), addressee in and send - best time 20s.

PDFf does have a line of script across the bottom unless paid for, but :wink:


finally settled on PDFfactory
Tnx for the suggestion, Peter; I'll check that out as well.


Fine Print PDF Factory is indeed the best PDF writer - it is the one I chose after trying quite a few - I love the preview feature, most of the available writers don’t have this handy option ! Not a bad price either!


I was just about to suggest Jaws PDF for you LM, even though I havn’t tried it myself. What about Foxit’s software, since you’re already familiar with the Reader?

PDFCreator is my choice for printing PDF, I think it’s great. Several options for quality. Havn’t looked that much into file sizes though. I do remember when exporting a simple document (only text) from; the file size was about 70 kb, but with PDFCreator it was only half that large.

There is a nice little program for splitting/merging pages: PDF Split and Merge, open source, written in Java.

Speaking of Ghostscript, I really liked the simplicity of GSview, but didn’t like the lack of drag-and-drop. Also, you need to launch the program again to have more than one PDF file open at the same time. There are also functions for extracting text and converting PDF to e.g. AI (Illustrator) but none of the functions worked well.

Any more PDF thoughts; please feel free to bring it up in this thread! :slight_smile:

I have been using PDF Redirector:

It is a great PDF Writer, not only does it have a preview feature like Fine Print but the files it creates are generally smaller.


Seems to be a program with several good basic features. Do you use the free or the paid version?

I’m still using PDFCreator here, suits me great.


I don’t really use PDF that much so I just use Adobe reader, I know it’s a bit bloated but, like I said, I don’t use PDFs that much…

I use the free version - I still use Fine Print as I like the ability to email directly without actually saving the PDF. However, for large documents that I am converting I find redirector to be superb.


Fine Print, email directly? That’s a cool feature! Actually tried to email directly with Google Docs for the first time, just days ago. It worked perfectly, but I don’t like the formatting of documents made with Google Docs - downloaded an ODT file to open in - the margins was strange, didn’t even manage to edit their width. Also, a blank space after every last character. So Google may suit for documents never to be printed. Just take notes or so.