Al Pacino is a very talented actor, if you’ve ever seen the Godfather you probably got the title reference. If you didn’t go watch the movies and I won’t spoil it for you. Even if you’ve never watched the film I am pretty sure you’ve used Adobe Reader at some point. PDF is a nice format because it is cross platform and allows lots of nice little features like digital signing, forms, among other things. Adobe Acrobat has become a kind of a necessary evil, frequent target of exploitation and all around general nuisance. This is my story of why I kicked Adobe Acrobat Reader to the curb and what I chose in it’s place.
Why I Don’t Love You Adobe Acrobat Reader
Over the last couple of years I’ve come across a number of little nuisance bugs with Adobe Reader. One of them was an issue preventing preview of PDF files in Windows. Recently I came across another fun little bug, I couldn’t print any PDF’s, I’d click print and instead of hearing the printer warm up I’d hear crickets. Kind of more than a little inconvenient. After researching a fix, the ONLY solution I found was to always select “print as image”. This combined with reading things like “Version x11 is buggy”, “you should probably use something else”. I am stubborn, so I dug in a little deeper and continued to seek a solution, then I reminded myself I really had better things to do with my time.
My Chosen Replacement – Foxit Reader
I jumped on Ninite.com to look for alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader. I remembered seeing a few in there last time I was getting some basic apps to get a new workstation up and running. After reviewing the list and doing a little research I decided to go with Foxit Reader. It seems to be the emerging leader in the PDF viewer world. One of the things I noticed right away that I liked quite a lot was that Foxit converted any PDF icons to mini-previews of the file:
After opening my first few PDF files I noticed it had a tabbed interface with hotkey hint overlays if you hold down the alt key within the app, a huge improvement over Adobe Reader x11:
and we’re just scratching the surface here. Of course I had enough that I wanted to share and make jokes about lines from Godfather movies. I decided to leave off another Pacino joke “Say hello to my little friend, Foxit Reader.” another time perhaps.
A Side Note About Ninite
If you haven’t used Ninite, you should check it out. It’s great if you want to easily add or update things like Java, Chrome, Notepad+++, Irfanview among other things. Just go to the site, check boxes for the apps you want to install or update, click “Get Installer” and run it, done. You can even save the executable it generates and use it to update those apps at any time without user intervention. Imagine that. 🙂