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Last post Author Topic: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review  (Read 19987 times)

IainB

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PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review
« on: October 04, 2012, 04:56:48 AM »
Originally posted:2012-10-04
Last updated2013-06-20

Basic Info
App NamePDF-XChange Viewer
Thumbs-Up Rating:Thmbsup:   :Thmbsup:   :Thmbsup:   :Thmbsup:    :Thmbsup:
App URLhttp://www.tracker-s...t/pdf-xchange-viewer
App Version Reviewed$FREE Version v2.5.211 (17 Jun 2013)
Test System SpecsMS Win 7-64 Home Premium
Supported OSesCompatible with Win 64-bit/32-bit.
Support MethodsDownload and Support via the above link.
Help file: PDF-XChange Viewer Help File (English)
Upgrade PolicyThere is a paid PRO version upgrade.
Trial Version Available?$FREE - as reviewed in this review.
Pricing SchemePRO version US$37.50 (also has free trial period).
There are extended maintenance/upgrade periods costing approx. $6 for 2 years, and $10 for 3 years.

Intro and Overview:
PDF-XChange Viewer generally seems to get good mention in DCF discussions, over the last few years.
After I had made a post about Nuance PDF Reader being Annoyware/Adware (carries a forced/unwanted payload), there were two rather interesting comments - one from @cyberdiva and one from @Tinman:
Several years ago, I switched to the free version of PDF-XChange Viewer, which had been highly recommended to me.  I've been very happy with it ever since.  I see that Gizmo's Best Freeware site lists PDF-XChange Viewer as its top pick:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-non-adobe-pdf-reader.htm.
I've been using PDFXchangeViewer for years now.  It has an excellent GUI, lots of options, bells & whistles.  I used to use Foxit before I discovered PDFXchange...

As a result of those comments and checking out the TechSupport review - Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader - which reviewed an earlier version (v2.5.205.0) - I decided to install/trial the FREE PDF-XChange Viewer.
I primarily wanted to use it as a reader to replace Adobe Reader (for various reasons), and it seems to be a good replacement, with a few features that I found make it preferable to Adobe Reader.
The Included FREE features (modified from source - here) are:
  • OCR options included (English, French, German, Spanish) -  OCR your image based/scanned PDF's to make them fully text searchable PDF files !!!!
  • Add Comments and Annotations to any PDF file (subject to security settings) - unlike the Adobe Viewer which requires the PDF creation tool to be 'certified' by Adobe !
  • Add & apply Custom Stamps from any Image or PDF File and even your Windows Clip board !
  • Measurement Tools incl. perimeter and area
  • Mark-up pages with text and objects
  • Type directly on any PDF page, not just Adobe enabled forms documents - in Typewriter mode.
  • Export PDF pages or entire files to any one of the supported Image formats including BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG and many more ...
  • Extract text from a PDF page/File
  • Make your navigation of large or complex PDF files both simple and enjoyable with the extended functionality of our 'Loupe' and the 'Pan' Window tools
  • PDF Security Support including 40/128 bit RC4 and 128/256 bit AES Encryption Password and Permissions Add/Edit
  • Data Execution Prevention (DEP) - stops the execution of nefarious scripts from Virus's/trojans etc.
  • Fill and Save Adobe Forms to disk, email or 'post' - including XFA and dynamic forms (new in V2.5) !
  • Full Javascript Engine included
  • Store/Restore of last opened files (last session)
  • Updated JPEG2000 Compression support - improving speed.
  • Plug-Ins for both MS IE or Firefox Browser's included
  • Integrate seamlessly with your favorite translation software to translate text on the 'fly' - including :  ABBYY Lingvo 12, Translate It!, Lingoes.
  • Auto-Highlights Fillable Form Fields
  • Integrated Shell Extensions for PDF thumbnails and document preview in Windows Explorer
  • Document Search. Probably the fastest PDF document search engine available today !
  • Set default viewing preferences for PDF files

Who this software is designed for:
The software seems to be aimed primarily at the Adobe Reader alternative market, so it has a fair amount of competition.
For example, I had tried Nuance PDF Reader and Foxit, but found them both wanting, so had expunged them from my laptop system before installing PDF-XChange Viewer.
In my case, I have expunged the seemingly invasive Adobe Acrobat from my system, and PDF-XChange Viewer has become the default PDF reader.

The Good:
  • Reading: I primarily wanted PDF-XChange Viewer for reading PDF document files. It does an excellent job of that.
  • Tabbed: Its tabbed reader is a delight to have/use - see 1st. image below. (I don't know why Adobe doesn't do that.)
  • View: It has a good, uncluttered bordered fullscreen (F11) view, similar to Adobe Reader - see 2nd. image below.
  • Resolution:It seems to have clearer font resolution than Adobe Reader - see side-by-side comparison in 2nd. image below. To make the Font size comparable, Adobe was set at 185% zoom and PDF-XChange Viewer was set at 200% zoom. ClearType was ON and had been tuned. This is just a one-off comparison. Maybe the same comparison but using different documents might produce different results.
  • OCR: It does a very good job (high accuracy) of OCRing PDF documents that are not text-copyable/searchable, thus making them text-copyable/searchable. OCR languages are English, French, German, Spanish.

PDFXchangeViewer install 15.png

PDFXchangeViewer install 14.pngPDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review

The needs improvement section:
For my main purpose (i.e., reading PDF document files) I have not otherwise seen any area needing improvement.
For versions v2.5.205.0 and v2.5.211I, the File-->Open command is constrained in that it only seems to allow you to open one file at a time, despite the reader having a tabbed interface for multiple document loading. I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't an oversight that will be fixed at some stage during a subsequent upgrade.
WARNING:
Just be wary. The install for PDF-XChange Viewer v2.5.205.0 included the AskStub Application, but v2.5.211 (2013-06-17) did not have this.
(I detest the Ask Toolbar. It behaves rather like a Trojan/virus once you get the thing installed on your PC.)

Why I think you should use this product:
If you need a good reader for reading PDF document files, then this one is an excellent choice.
The relatively rich and potentially useful feature set is an added bonus.
The functionality of PDF-XChange Viewer makes it a good default PDF reader replacement for the system.

How it compares to similar products:
Though I do not have a lot of experience to compare it with different PDF readers, the published review Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader rated an earlier version (v2.5.205.0) as the favourite out of:
  • PDF-XChange Viewer
  • Foxit Reader (NB: Install apparently carries a forced/unwanted payload, similar to Nuance PDF Reader)
  • Cool PDF reader
  • Perfect PDF Reader
  • Sumatra PDF Viewer. (I still have this.)

Conclusions:
A very nice PDF reader with some useful additional features.
Great OCR functionality.

Links to other info sources/reviews of this application (earlier versions):
See the Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader review.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 10:35:42 PM by IainB, Reason: Updated. »

ewemoa

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 05:18:51 AM »
Thanks for the review :)



A few comments as a fellow user...

I follow the instructions here for portable installation -- IIRC, this may bypass the AskStub app running (haven't checked recently).

My favorite feature is the bookmarking support.  Between this app and JPdfBookmarks (useful for import/export of bookmarks), my PDF bookmark needs appear to be met for the most part.

Tuxman

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 05:21:57 AM »
+1 for PDF XChange. Although I like the non-bloat of Sumatra PDF (and dislike the bright yellow default screen which makes me blind for a second every time I start it), PDF XChange is the only PDF viewer I have tried which allows me to perform basic editing tasks without bloat.

kfitting

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 05:27:41 AM »
I paid for the software and am very happy with it.

One slight annoyance is that ctrl-scrollwheel does not zoom!  I get used to this in many other apps and am constantly surprised when this one does not.

But, like I said, I like the program and have no major problems with it.

tomos

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 05:49:45 AM »
Wow, it has OCR.
Can even be added to the portable version:
Quote
   Visit the Download site
    Check “Portable Version (OCR Lang Files) | 8 MB”
    Click Download Now
    Extract the folder inside “ocrdats” into the application directory

This program is dramatically better than OCR available from Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional. Really lucky the X-Change team put this in the free version: this is a big win for freeware.

Note: some documents will not accept OCR conversion with the default "Preserve Original Content & Add Text Layer". Still, this option is much faster, so it is recommended trying this first and then "Convert Image Content to Image Only -- Add Text as a Layer" option.
quote from 'webfork' in the portable freeware forums:
http://www.portablef...c.php?p=45021#p45021


======================
One slight annoyance is that ctrl-scrollwheel does not zoom!

I'm currently using 2.5 build 197 (portable/free version - not the most recent) - it works in that :-\ (Wn7 64bit)
Might be worth reporting it.
Tom

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2012, 10:02:43 AM »
PDF-XChange Viewer gets mentioned in an interesting context in a post in the discussion forum at outlinersoftware.com:
Quote
Software Recommendation (Onenote vs. Others)
Posted by quant
Oct 10, 2012 at 08:32 PM

If you read a lot a of scietific literature, which I presume most is in pdf, I can suggest my setup:
  • pdf xchange viewer - allows notetaking, highlighling etc. I also use my own tags like “mystop”, “mynote: ...”, “mytodo: ...” etc to mark what has to be done, where i stopped reading, etc
  • archivarius, dtsearch or similar for quick finding of what you need to find in 100s of articles/books + your own tags
  • a pdf comment collector - tool to collect your pdf notes into one doc - this is tool i helped to develop, i use it to go quickly over my notes in pdf files. I also use colour coding, the initial notes are yellow, those processes and stored in Ultra Recall are grey - easy to go through them by colour in pdf exchange viewer
  • Ultra Recall - to store all my important notes, pictures (in my case math formulas) etc, it’s all indexed so fast to find what i need

ps: the above setup helped me to get a phd in math, and i still use it on a daily basis in my job

PhilB66

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2012, 06:39:07 PM »
+1 for PDF XChange. Although I like the non-bloat of Sumatra PDF (and dislike the bright yellow default screen which makes me blind for a second every time I start it), PDF XChange is the only PDF viewer I have tried which allows me to perform basic editing tasks without bloat.
You could edit sumatrapdfprefs.dat file (BEncode Editor can help) to change the 'BgColor' integer.

Tuxman

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 06:39:52 PM »
Now that's intuitive...

Thanks.

PhilB66

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2012, 07:58:02 PM »
Now that's intuitive...

Thanks.
I changed the background to white ('BgColor' '16777215'). I got the code number from http://cloford.com/r...s/colours/500col.htm

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2012, 09:30:23 PM »
@Tuxman and @PhilB66: Yes, Sumatra's bright yellow background drove my eyeballs crazy too - "perceptual disorganisation" I think is the correct term.
To change it, I looked in the Help notes on the SumatraPDF Home Page
There is a link there: command-line arguments that Sumatra understands
- where it said: (this is from my installation notes made at the time)
Quote
SumatraPDF
Command Line Overview
The general format of the command line for SumatraPDF is
SumatraPDF.exe [Options ...] [Filepath ...]
All options start with a dash and have (where indicated) arguments that have to follow them immediately. Anything that isn't recognized as an option will be interpreted as a file path. It's possible to freely mix file paths and command line options.
List of recognized command line options
   • -bg-color <hexcolor>
   Changes the yellow background color to a different color. See e.g. http://html-color-co.../webfarben_hexcodes/ for a way to generate the hexcode for a color. E.g.
  -bg-color #999999 <-- I put this in the Shortcut (2012-05-25 1047hrs) as it had a horribly bright yellow background set as standard.
   Shortcut string now reads: "C:\Program Files (x86)\SumatraPDF\SumatraPDF.exe" -bg-color #999999
   changes the color to gray.

(I was OK with grey - my preferred background on my still sometimes rather too-bright laptop screen.)

Sorry, I omitted to mention this earlier.    :-[
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 06:14:56 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

panzer

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 02:52:37 AM »

(I was OK with grey - my preferred background on my still sometimes rather too-bright laptop screen.)


You can try DarkScreen (and F.lux):
http://fx-software.b.../03/dark-screen.html
http://stereopsis.com/flux/

kfitting

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 05:22:03 AM »
Regarding PDFXchange Viewer, I was playing last night... there are a bunch of tools in there.  I have not looked at other viewers much (since I already paid for this one!) but you can export all comments from a file as rtf, pdf, and txt.  Pretty neat.

Currently my biggest problem with comments is that they can only be put on the printed page... I suppose this makes sense: what good are comments that you cant see when you print the document?  But it makes it hard to put a lot of comments into very dense text.  You also cannot hide all comments on the page but keep them in the comment pane (I dont think).  But a very useful program.

Also note that v3 beta is in development, supposedly adding a lot of "editing functionality."  See
http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=13041092



Edit: apparently what I'm looking for is called "sticky notes." I was using textboxes... sticky notes can be placed anywhere it appears (I cant test right now, but see it in screenshots).
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 05:36:19 AM by kfitting »

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 06:08:34 AM »
...You can try DarkScreen (and F.lux):
http://fx-software.b.../03/dark-screen.html
http://stereopsis.com/flux/
Thanks for the links. I had tried f.lux some time back (not sure when exactly as I carelessly did not make any notes about it) and rapidly uninstalled it. As I recall, I didn't like the colour. However, since then much has changed and I have taken control of my AMD/ATI laptop display and drivers (see separate thread referring to ATI Tray as being part of the resolution). So, after reading your suggestion I have reinstalled f.lux and will give it a proper trial. Using it now and hopefully adapting to it!    ;D

I shall also probably give Fx Software's Dark Screen a whirl at some stage. Have downloaded it in preparation.

Curt

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2012, 06:49:39 AM »
Wow, it has OCR.

I need to say that in my setup the included OCR has never given a useful result. Not even once!

Apart from that this, I am most satisfied with my Pro version.

Curt

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2012, 07:11:44 AM »
(I was OK with grey - my preferred background on my still sometimes rather too-bright laptop screen.)
You can try DarkScreen http://fx-software.b.../03/dark-screen.html

-they have a new address: http://www.fx-softwa....co.uk/assistive.htm but still a bizarre site design! You need to scroll and scroll, and then to scroll some more, to find the file. Or you can have it here:

[attachurl=removed][/attachurl]

They also have a version with colours. But then you will first need to click "Other software" and scroll some more, not knowing what you are looking for! Really a bizarre design!   :down:
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 02:36:13 AM by Curt »

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2012, 09:22:11 AM »
...They also have a version with colours. But then you will first need to click "Other software" and scroll some more, not knowing what you are looking for! Really a bizarre design!
Yes, their website does seem a rather strange design. I think it might be written by a visually/perceptually disabled person, for others of similar disability.

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2012, 09:31:20 AM »
Wow, it has OCR.
I need to say that in my setup the included OCR has never given a useful result. Not even once!
Apart from that this, I am most satisfied with my Pro version.
That's a pity. I hadn't got around to testing that out yet.
The OCR in Qiqqa is superb, by the way.

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2012, 08:48:41 PM »
WARNING! WARNING!
Thought I should let you know that the Dark Screen setup file downloaded from fx-software and as provided by @Curt in the thread above both apparently contain a particularly nasty payload called Adware.Rabio:
Dark Screen setuo contains Adware-Rabio payload (Malwarebytes).png

I only found out when I tried to install the thing today. I let Malwarebytes quarantine it, which aborted the install.
__________________________________________
(I was OK with grey - my preferred background on my still sometimes rather too-bright laptop screen.)
You can try DarkScreen http://fx-software.b.../03/dark-screen.html
-they have a new address: http://www.fx-softwa....co.uk/assistive.htm but still a bizarre site design! You need to scroll and scroll, and then to scroll some more, to find the file. Or you can have it here:
 (see attachment in previous post)
They also have a version with colours. But then you will first need to click "Other software" and scroll some more, not knowing what you are looking for! Really a bizarre design!   :down:

ewemoa

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2012, 09:06:56 PM »
Here's some related info for DarkScreenSetup.exe (MD5: 2ec0f52b393e4d55bb5a59ffb4a5eecb), FWIW:

  http://virusscan.jotti.org/en/scanresult/814b05e22c8250ec22d3a721424b96adeb2ae509
  http://metascan-online.com/results/md2w6vleeyzn6b8524kssher4qyzmgxd

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2012, 10:03:56 PM »
@ewemoa: Thanks for that. I think I'll err on the side of caution.
Having gone through the exercise of cleaning up some seriously nasty Adware on other people's laptops, I don't want to push my luck.

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review (as at 2012-10-04)
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2012, 01:26:13 PM »
Updated: 2012-11-27 regarding the OCR feature of PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version).
Under Needs improvement:
OCR functionality: seems to work fine on very short, simple document layouts with clear/legible print, but for longer/more complex documents or with mixed and smaller fonts it "hangs" at 67% on the progress bar. Very frustrating.
This gets it 1 x Thumbs-Down, since it is a claimed functionality but which seems, for most purposes to be likely to be well-nigh useless.

+ made other minor amendments.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 01:43:18 PM by IainB »

cyberdiva

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2012, 04:13:54 PM »
I hadn't been aware that PDF-XChange Viewer had any OCR capability.  However, very recently the company made PDF-XChange Lite 2012 (with which one can print to PDF, something I couldn't do with PDF-XChange Viewer) free for non-commercial home users.  Moreover, I found that even when the resulting PDF was an image rather than selectable text, the OCR capability worked very well to render the image as readable, selectable text.  Admittedly, I didn't try this on a wide variety of documents and document styles, but I was surprised and pleased with the two times I used the OCR feature.  So I now have free software that will read pdfs, will permit me to print to pdf, and will do OCR.   :Thmbsup:

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2012, 04:30:44 AM »
@cyberdiva: Thanks for the tip about PDF-XChange Lite 2012.
I have downloaded it for a trial. I shall compare it's output to that from PDFCreator (which I have used for years).

DrBB01

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2012, 12:48:00 PM »
I have used the free PDF X-Change Viewer for several years and--for the most part--have been very pleased. [The most recent updates have occasionally crashed, but I suspect that is due to a conflict with other software I recently installed and that I will be removing soon.] I have occasionally tried other free PDF readers, but none has had the features of PDF X-Change Viewer.

The two features I use the most are sticky notes and highlighting because I often review drafts/documents created by others and use these functions to provide feedback. Another one I use is the typewriter function, which I use to complete forms in PDF documents that were set up to be printed and completed manually. I used to use a separate text box to complete each entry in the form, but I recently realized that by setting the font size appropriately, and using the space bar and enter key strategically, I can often complete a form using only one or two text boxes. If you want to ensure no changes can be made to the form, you can print the document to another PDF, which "flattens" the text box feature but leaves the text itself intact.

I have not used the new OCR feature yet. It sounds like it has a way to go to be ready for "prime time" based on comments here. I trust Tracker Software is working on fixing this soon. I have occasionally considered upgrading to the paid version, but haven't found a really good reason to do so yet!  

« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 02:56:06 AM by DrBB01, Reason: To correct language and sentence structure »

IainB

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Re: PDF-XChange Viewer ($FREE version) - Mini-Review
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2013, 07:14:58 PM »
I have updated the review in the opening post thus:
EDIT - 2013-01-04: After having had the opportunity to test out the OCR functionality on quite a lot of documents now, I have found that, whereas my initial testing of it seemed to indicate that it seemed more likely to "hang" on documents, now it seems more likely to complete the OCR successfully!   :tellme:
Therefore, since I am still on the same (current) version 2.5.207, then this is presumably attributable to a change in the types of PDF files that I am throwing at the reader, rather than a bug.
So, it just seems that certain types of PDF files might throw the OCR functionality into a "hang" state, but when it does do the OCR, it seems to do it very well. I'll leave the thumbs-up rating as-is though, because the OCR functionality is still a major feature/function, though it works better than I originally thought.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 07:21:15 PM by IainB »