FoxIt Reader: A Popular PDF Alternative to Adobe Acrobat

Q: I've been using Adobe Acrobat to open and view PDF files, but it seems too cumbersome, slowing down my computer. Are there any Windows-based alternative readers?

foxit-post.jpgA: As a long-time Adobe Acrobat user, I was shocked to find that, when Lifehacker asked its readers to vote for their favorite PDF tool, most of them chose FoxIt. While Adobe Acrobat came in a close second with 19.7 percent of the vote, a full one-fourth of votes went to FoxIt. (Mac's built-in Preview, PDF-XChange and Nitro PDF were the three other tools included in the survey.)

Because PDFs are the standard for electronic document sharing and distribution, it's critical to have a functional reader on any computer that you use. But you might not need it to do any more than that -- read -- which helps to explain why FoxIt, which doesn't allow PDF creation, earned the most votes. A free reader for Windows, FoxIt is quick; With a light footprint, the reader won't slow down your computer or require much memory to function. While a Pro version is available for $129, most readers will find an upgrade unnecessary as the free version includes "a slew of features, including PDF markup and commenting, advanced multimedia insertion, five levels of security, and even the ability to run JavaScript on the document," according to Lifehacker. Other features include measuring tools, auto-scrolling and tabbed PDF reading.

When installing FoxIt to your computer, pay careful attention to the prompts. Without action, you will automatically opt-in to install FoxIt's Search Bar, which changes your default search engine to Ask and makes Ask.com your browser homepage.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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