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Author Topic: Quality Comparison: 8 x freeware PDF Readers / Viewers  (Read 84409 times)
J-Mac
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« Reply #75 on: October 28, 2008, 03:14:21 PM »

Thanks J-Mac,
I'm talking about acrobat, not reader. That's the paid version, so no luck.


Oops! Sorry about that - I thought you meant Acrobat Reader.

I use Nuance's PDF Converter Pro 5 for creating, editing, extracting, etc. I posted here in the past about PDF Converter Pro 3 being horrible - and it was! Very bug-ridden. However this version, 5, works much better, and if you purchased a previous version the update promo allows purchase of the current at a fraction of its retail price.

The only problem I still encounter is with their activation model - every time you open the program - and that sucks! If the activation hook doesn’t open correctly with the program it plants a "Trial Version" watermark right across the page. If you are working at the top of the page, making changes, you don’t see the watermark and if you save it -- you've lost all.

Jim
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Darwin
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« Reply #76 on: October 28, 2008, 04:13:06 PM »

Jim - I had that problem with PDF Converter Pro 5 as well and traced it to having remnants of either version 4 or version 3 in the registry and/or Documents and User Settings/User folder... I gave up when the fix I describe below didn't survive a reboot (this is from a PM I sent someone in August). However, I am confident that it is an issue with leftover keys as installing PDFC Pro 5 on a clean install of Vista is rock solid.

Quote
The keys are at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ScanSoft
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Zeon

and

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ScanSoft
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Zeon

The keys are labelled by program and number (e.g. PDF Create 4). I also found lots of references to version 4 in Documents and Settings\User Name\Application Data and also Documents and Settings\User Name\Local Settings\Application Data. In these folders, I found sub-folders from Scansoft, Nuance, and Zeon that had PDF Converter 4 references. I suspect that with all that I missed an installer (or a reference to an installer) somewhere that keeps messing with things on reboot. At any rate, I failed to return it to functionality after that reboot and uninstalled it. While it was working, it did a much better job of making some of my pdfs searchable (version 4 produced less accurate files that were "jerky" when I scrolled through them with Acrobat Reader .

You might try requesting a complete remover from Nuance (they produce one, if memory serves) and then running it, rebooting and searching your registry and harddrive for any further registry keys and/or folders and removing them all, rebooting and reinstalling...

Hope this helps,

Mike
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J-Mac
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« Reply #77 on: October 28, 2008, 06:14:54 PM »

Hi Mike.

Maybe you're right. I'm not even certain that PDF Converter Pro 3 was installed on this machine; I removed it quite a while ago and I think it was on my last PC before this one. As for V. 5, this doesn’t occur all the time, just once in a while. ANd it was only one time that I lost an entire document - I had made a form from a scanned document and completed all but one blank area at the top. When I next opened the document I only had about the top quarter of it visible on the screen as I completed that last entry and then saved. Only after printing it did I see that the watermark from Nuance's Hell was on it!

Their knowledge base claims that there are certain circumstances where the "hook" doesn’t load. My problem is with any application for which the developer insists on making it activate every time it opens. Just another developer that prefers to annoy - and damage the documents of - paying customers instead of those pirating their software.

Thanks!

Jim
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Darwin
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« Reply #78 on: October 28, 2008, 06:20:54 PM »

Yeah, yesterday, for the first time, the PDFCP 5 installer kept running completely randomly: I'd click on the start menu button or try to invoke the context menu and there it would be... Thus, in my case, it's not that it's trying to activate, just that it occasionally tries to re-install itself. Not very impressive.

I solved it yesterday by uninstalling a couple of applications (Network Magic among them), rebooting, and all is well. THis used to happen occasionally with PDFCPro 4 under XP Pro as well...

EDITED for clarity  ohmy
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 06:31:47 PM by Darwin » Logged

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urlwolf
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« Reply #79 on: April 10, 2009, 03:19:35 PM »

guys, check adobe digital editions, it's finished now, and quite good.
The rendering is as good as only adobe can do; it's free, and it lets you mark pdfs.
it opens very fast, and uses little memory. However, copy/paste eats up all spaces? It's such a glaring omission, it can only be by design? Kills use for academic work, definitely, and prevents notetaking outside the reader.
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Darwin
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« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2009, 11:29:26 AM »

As I noted elsewhere on DC, I've switched to using PDF Converter 5 Professional as my viewer and am quite impressed with how light it is and how quick and responsive. Recently, I did download and install the latest Adobe Digital Edition and I agree with urlwolf about its speed adn low resource consumption. I haven't tried any copying within it though... Doesn't sound convenient. I WISH that e-books were universally readable in a pdf viewer and that the content was protected some other way... I object to *needing* Adobe on my system just to read a book I've purchased (given that the book in question is one I also own two paper copies of, maybe I should just blow off the $4 I spent on the digital version... as it's the sole ebook I own that is in the proprietary acsm format, which I suspect is just a fancy schmanzy wrapper for pdf?).
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urlwolf
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« Reply #81 on: April 11, 2009, 09:35:27 PM »

of course, adobe couldn't help but screw this one too.
There's no way to do full screen. Of course, a reader, for people reading pdfs, should not care about maximizing reading space.

And the copy-paste brain damage is pure evil.
Here's when one misses having the sources for every app (OSS world).

I'd suggest a feature, but their forums is not functional on my browser (maybe admuncher acting up)?

The rendering quality is top-notch, though, making all other free viewers look bad.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #82 on: April 11, 2009, 10:48:34 PM »

of course, adobe couldn't help but screw this one too.
There's no way to do full screen. Of course, a reader, for people reading pdfs, should not care about maximizing reading space.

And the copy-paste brain damage is pure evil.
Here's when one misses having the sources for every app (OSS world).

I'd suggest a feature, but their forums is not functional on my browser (maybe admuncher acting up)?

The rendering quality is top-notch, though, making all other free viewers look bad.

urlwolf: I doubt that it is admuncher. The Nuance forum can only be viewed in Internet Explorer. Actually it CAN be viewed - but you cannot post or add a reply unless you use IE. Adobe may very well have the same issue. I have no idea why a company would do that. Nonsensical!

Jim
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urlwolf
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« Reply #83 on: April 12, 2009, 04:17:44 AM »

If that's true, signs of brain damage are even more obvious.
Even though I tried, my system has IE so locked down that I could not even visit their page. Bah.
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« Reply #84 on: May 28, 2009, 12:50:03 AM »

 two cents

I've been forced to look for an alternative to Foxit, since it crashed repeatedly while attempting to read a particular (graphics intensive) file. I tried all the alternatives suggested in Ampa's original post, a couple of them too ghastly to even deserve a mention, TBH. The last one I tried was PDF-XChange Viewer and it's outstanding in every sense. A completely flexible setup including FF and IE plugins, a beautiful (customizable) interface, it renders the file that crashed Foxit flawlessly, it's fast. What a gem of a program! Thanks Ampa, for suggesting it.  Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup
« Last Edit: May 28, 2009, 12:59:41 AM by nosh » Logged
urlwolf
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« Reply #85 on: October 05, 2009, 06:27:21 AM »

Rendering quality on pdf-Xchange has improved recently.
Scrolling is better than on Acrobat.
It's my primary pdf tool now.

Still, there are some nasty bugs and the entire thing feels clumpsy. I've had problems with the installer not updating it. Using portable version again now.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #86 on: October 05, 2009, 01:29:33 PM »

I've had my share of problems with PDF-Xchange. Don't now if they are universal issues or specific to my setup.

For one, any time I open a document with PDF-Xchange, it sets itself as the default PDF reader - without asking. Annoying as all hell! And lately it has been running OK and then suddenly starts crashing if I open more than two documents with it. Again, very weird. I, too, am now using the portable version.

Jim
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urlwolf
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« Reply #87 on: October 05, 2009, 05:50:19 PM »

Oh, so I'm not alone... if PDF-Xchange made planes, I would not fly on them.
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« Reply #88 on: October 13, 2009, 06:26:51 AM »

Another PDF viewer, apart from the "big players" listed here, is apvlv.
Its "special feature" are keybindings like Vim has.

Quote
For example, < Ctrl-f > to forward page, < Ctrl-b > to previous page, 'k','j','h','l' to scrolling a page up, down, left or right, and so on.

Free, open source and multi-platform. GTK though, so not really optimized for a fast startup.

 cheesy
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« Reply #89 on: October 13, 2009, 11:58:30 AM »

Over here no problems at all with PDF-Xchange.  It has the speed of Foxit and the rendering quality of adobe. All good.

Oh, so I'm not alone... if PDF-Xchange made planes, I would not fly on them.
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« Reply #90 on: October 14, 2009, 09:56:58 AM »

If the competition wasn't fierce, now Evince, the default PDF viewer in the GNOME desktop environment also has a Windows version.
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« Reply #91 on: October 14, 2009, 10:16:41 AM »

If the competition wasn't fierce, now Evince, the default PDF viewer in the GNOME desktop environment also has a Windows version.

sounds interesting
Supported Document Formats

Evince is specifically designed to support the file following formats.

    * PDF
    * Postscript
    * djvu
    * tiff
    * dvi
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Tom
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« Reply #92 on: October 14, 2009, 10:55:25 AM »

That does sound interesting - I am currently using PDF Converter Pro for pdf viewing and windjview to view djvu files. It *would* be nice to be able to use one program for this. However, as I also use PDF Converter Pro to create and edit pdfs, this isn't going to change anytime soon... Still, might give Evince a shot as a djvu viewer.

Thanks for the heads up  Thmbsup
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« Reply #93 on: February 20, 2010, 03:12:37 PM »

Not sure if appropriate to re-open this thread, but has anyone tried this yet?
Nuance PDF Reader
Quote
Introducing a free PDF reader that's small in size and big on features.

Get ready to rethink your choice of free PDF reader. Nuance PDF Reader enables you to do much more than just view PDF files. You can convert PDF files to Word®, Excel®, and RTF via a hosted web service. Use annotation tools to highlight, cross-out, and underline text for more effective collaboration. Even fill out and save PDF forms. Nuance PDF Reader takes up less disk space, is more secure than Adobe® Reader®, and works with virtually any PDF file. Best of all, it’s absolutely free, proving that you really can get a whole lot of something for nothing.
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Darwin
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« Reply #94 on: February 21, 2010, 11:22:47 PM »

I saw that, Nigel, but haven't tried it yet. I don't see the point as I am using the full Nuance PDF package and it is fine. Still, I'm curious as well.
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« Reply #95 on: March 01, 2010, 12:38:49 PM »

Well, I've been going through my annual "what's the best pdf software" struggle.  So here's my latest update:

For the first time, I have to agree that out of the options, my favorite viewer is PDF-Xchange.  It's fast, it looks good, and it has tabs (you have to have tabs!).  Very good program.  Currently, my preferred viewer.

Nuance is also good, but definitely not in the "fast" category as far as starting up.  Once in the application, it behaves quickly.  To me, speed is two different issues:  startup speed, and operating speed.  Nuance is great for operating speed.  Also, nuance has nice layout features and powerful editing features.  But I wouldn't use it for my viewer.

Bluebeam Revu.  This is my preferred editor.  When I need to really work with pdfs, this is what I use.  it can do anything and does pdf markups/creation/editing better than any other program available.  Again, like Nuance, I wouldn't use this for my viewer because it's too slow for that.  But it's not meant to be a viewer only.

Sumatra is fast and all.  A little too simple for me.  I prefer PDF-Xchange over it.  I do use Sumatra on my portable drive, however.

Foxit.  It's okay.  Not my favorite in any category, though.  I prefer PDF-Xchange over it.

So, in summary:
viewer:  PDF-Xchange
editing:  Bluebeam
portable viewer: Sumatra

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« Reply #96 on: March 01, 2010, 03:26:24 PM »

Nuance is also good, but definitely not in the "fast" category as far as starting up.  Once in the application, it behaves quickly.  To me, speed is two different issues:  startup speed, and operating speed.  Nuance is great for operating speed.  Also, nuance has nice layout features and powerful editing features.  But I wouldn't use it for my viewer.
Hm... I've been toying with trying out the Free Nuance Reader - When you say it's slow, do you mean slower than Acrobat? ...or just "regular" slow?
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« Reply #97 on: March 01, 2010, 04:21:33 PM »

nuance has nice layout features and powerful editing features.  But I wouldn't use it for my viewer.

superboyac, I take it that refers to the full Nuance package - you don't mean the free reader has any editing features?

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tomos
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« Reply #98 on: March 01, 2010, 04:26:43 PM »

nuance has nice layout features and powerful editing features.  But I wouldn't use it for my viewer.

superboyac, I take it that refers to the full Nuance package - you don't mean the free reader has any editing features?

I got it but havent installed it yet, you have to give an email address for the download link

Not sure if appropriate to re-open this thread, but has anyone tried this yet?
Nuance PDF Reader
Quote
Introducing a free PDF reader that's small in size and big on features.

Get ready to rethink your choice of free PDF reader. Nuance PDF Reader enables you to do much more than just view PDF files. You can convert PDF files to Word®, Excel®, and RTF via a hosted web service. Use annotation tools to highlight, cross-out, and underline text for more effective collaboration. Even fill out and save PDF forms. Nuance PDF Reader takes up less disk space, is more secure than Adobe® Reader®, and works with virtually any PDF file. Best of all, it’s absolutely free, proving that you really can get a whole lot of something for nothing.


[edit] it's not clear ther if all that editing & form-filling is done "via a hosted web service" [/edit]
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 04:29:04 PM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #99 on: March 01, 2010, 05:07:34 PM »

nuance has nice layout features and powerful editing features.  But I wouldn't use it for my viewer.

superboyac, I take it that refers to the full Nuance package - you don't mean the free reader has any editing features?
Actually, I didn't try the reader version.  i only tried the full package.  honestly, I haven't spent too much time with Nuance.  These are just my first, quick impressions.  As far as the full version goes, it was good.  I liked a lot of things about it.  The reason why I didn't go with it is because, to me, Bluebeam can do that type of stuff better and it can do more.  Nuance and Bluebeam have similar philosophies:  they are one of the few that approach the whole interface/layout of pdf editing as a big desktop with panels and stuff around the sides.  I know, other ones do that, but not in the same way.

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