The search for a good Acrobat Reader alternative

Back in April, Slashdot pointed me to a C-Net article in which F-Secure’s chief research officer recommended moving away from Adobe Acrobat Reader. Personally, I needed little incentive. I’ve disliked Acrobat Reader fairly intensely for some time and I’d already moved to FoxIt Reader.  Acrobat Reader is massive, it constantly prompts for updates and evidently it doesn’t prompt for update enough, given the number of holes that have recently been revelaed.

I thought FoxIt was a good alternative for the first year or so that I was using it, but (like an adolescent) as it matured some things about it started to annoy me and I thought it was worth trying out some of the alternatives on the market. Of the Windows options from the F-Secure recommendation, I didn’t get very far with Okular or Yap but I spent a good deal of time with Sumatra at work and MuPDF with the plugin for Firefox at home. I wasn’t unhappy with either of these options, as my PDF reader requirements are very basic. I love that Sumatra can be run without installing anything and is small enough to carry around on a memory stick. No more PDF readers on servers… However, after inflicting Sumatra on some unwitting recipients, I decided to find a heftier alternative, as they need more than up, down and zoom.

Enter: DocuTrack’s PDF-XChange Viewer. It’s got loads of features, is reasonably lightweight and does the job in every way that I’ve put it to the test. The only thing that irritates me is the size and number of toolbars running by default, but they’re easy enough to turn off. Admittedly my needs are few, but I’ve not had any other complaints about it since pushing it to about 20 other people. If you fancy taking the plunge and take me up on any of these suggestions, I’d love to hear feedback, as I’m discovering that it’s nearly as divisive as the media player question. I <3 Foobar, for the record.

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