PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that represents documents in a fixed layout, no matter which platform, device, operating system or application you use. Being more and more widely used both in personal and commercial environments you should definitely include a PDF reader amongst your must-have software applications.
Foxit Reader is probably your best choice. You may have heard about a more popular PDF viewer known as Adobe Acrobat, but Foxit really beats it in size and speed. Its installation file is only 1.7 MB (against Acrobat’s 20.8 MB download) and it opens up in a snap, without annoying splash up screens and endless credits lists.
The program’s interface has a straight-lined, simple look. It’s been designed with ease of use in mind. You have several toolbars available, which you can show or hide at your will and which give you access to all the available utilities: zoom, text selection, image snapshot, search tool, rotation or full screen view, among others. The only thing we didn’t like about the interface was having that small ad in the upper right corner, but we soon learned how to deactivate it by going to the View menu and deselecting the advertisement option. One small tip: you’ll have to do this for each of the five possible messages displayed by the program. Then you won’t see any of them again.
Perhaps one of the most interesting features in Foxit is the possibility to annotate PDF documents in several ways. You can easily highlight text fragments, underline them, strike them out or even add personal comments. Just click on the appropriate toolbar button and select the text you wish to comment on.
Foxit PDF Reader also offers a couple of extra utilities, PDF edition and PDF conversion, though they must be downloaded as separate plug-ins for the program. This means that if you want to edit PDF files, the program will launch its Update Manager and offer you to download the Editor plugin. The same happens when you want to convert any document to the PDF format: Foxit will let you download a virtual printer driver that allows you to convert from any Windows application to PDF. Note that the Foxit PDF Editor is an evaluation version and the Foxit Converter saves PDF documents with watermarks on them.
Foxit PDF Reader is a very good alternative to Adobe Acrobat for viewing PDF files. Put simply, it’s fast, stable and, best of all, free!