Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Foxit Reader V5.0.1.0523 Editor's review

Foxit Reader is a PDF file viewer that is light on resources and quick to start up. It’s meant more for viewing files than creating them, but it offers some collaborative features as well. In this review, we’ll be looking at its different features and how well they are implemented.
The installation is quick and snappy. No hitches anywhere, but there are a few options that you need to set. However, whenever required, these options are explained. The installer tries to install a couple of toolbars, but you can opt out of them. Foxit Reader works smoothly on Windows XP, Vista, and 7. No additional downloads were needed to complete the installation.
Foxit Reader does not adhere to the standard Windows style. There are four themes in different colours. Sadly, regardless of what theme is chosen, Foxit Reader’s look will not blend in with any version of Windows. The overall look however is pleasant enough. In terms of functionality, the interface is quite good. Most of the screen is dominated by the PDF file itself, as it should be. All menus can either be collapsed or hidden totally. Common features and options are available on the main screen, and the icons used to represent them will be familiar for most users. Most elements also have mouse-over text explaining them. There are also several tweaks built in throughout the interface. For instance, when a few words are selected, hovering the cursor over them brings up a floating menu that allows you to perform a web search for those words. Little features like these combined with a very user friendly approach are what makes the interface highly functional.
Foxit Reader’s biggest advantage is how light it is in terms of memory and CPU utilization. It also starts up really fast, with virtually no loading time. A 900 page test PDF file with text and images opened instantly. This makes it ideal for situations where you quickly need to open and glance through several files. Multiple PDF files can be opened in tabs, making switching between different files easy.
Despite being lighting fast, Foxit Reader impresses with the features it has. Being primarily a PDF viewer, it offers several ways to view files. There’s a 2 or 4 ways split, which allows you to view multiple parts of the document at the same time. The handy text-only view mode removes formatting, background and images and worked really well. Auto scrolling is supported as well. The full screen mode hides everything including the Windows taskbar, which is great. There’s also a safe reading mode that disables any scripts that might be potentially malicious in the PDF file.
The collaborative and proofreading tools come in useful as well. There are options that let you highlight text, strike out text, mark certain sections to be replaced, add popup notes anywhere as well as draw basic shapes using lines, circles and so on. All the comments associated with a PDF file can be exported and saved. Of course, comments can be shown or hidden. Foxit Reader offers a Rights Management System as well, to help protect your work. Overall, the software is loaded with features, and almost all of them work very well. The interface goes a long way in making these features accessible. Something admirable is that Foxit offers Phone Support even for Foxit Reader despite the fact that it is freeware.
One of the annoyances is the plethora of toolbars that come with Foxit Reader. You need to be quite careful during the installation process, or else you might end up with a bloated toolbar. The software also prompts users to install upgrades and plugins.
Also, it is incapable of creating even the most basic PDF files. You won’t even find a “New” option in the File menu. Of course, this is a feature that is offered in the Professional versions of their software, Foxit PhantomPDF, ExpressStandard or Business.
A hugely popular alternative is Adobe Acrobat Reader. Though it probably surpasses Foxit Reader in terms of features, it’s quite heavy on resources, and can be slow as well. Also have a look at PDF-XChange Viewer.
Foxit Reader is impressive in many ways. Its speed of opening PDF files and great set of features combined with an easy to learn interface make it a great application that every user must have.

Foxit Reader V5.0.1.0523 publisher's description


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