Over the years, the popularity of the Portable Document Format (PDF) has increased hugely. This once obscure little extension is now so ubiquitous that customers have come to expect that a PC ‘comes with’ Acrobat reader – Adobe’s free PDF reader. For those who have not fully come to terms with PDF, the principle is easy to grasp: most common software – such as Microsoft Word – will save a file using a proprietary format, in this case the .doc format. This in effect means that only people with Microsoft Word can open that document – which clearly excludes some people from reading it at all.
The PDF format then gradually emerged as the accepted method to circumvent this issue because the ‘reader’ could easily download and install the Acrobat Reader for free on any computer they operated. PDF printers (programs to translate documents from any format to PDF) quickly caught on as more people became familiar with the format and wanted to convert documents to them. Indeed such is the popularity of this system that IT professionals and manufacturers will usually install the reader before shipping PCs to customers.
But Adobe is not the only PDF reader! In recent times we have become concerned that the software is growing to be too cumbersome and is leveraging other pieces of software onto users systems, including the by-now infamous Adobe Updater which pops up unwanted reminders about downloading updates. At ESP Projects, we feel that is unfair – why should people have to download huge files, have their system slowed down and be susceptible to security issues just for the sake of the simple task of reading PDF?
Such is the extent of the problem, that we have been investigating and testing several alternatives and are pleased to be able to recommend the (also free) Foxit Reader as a better alternative. Foxit Reader can be downloaded from their website at http://www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads. We do however also recommend that ESP Projects-managed customers contact our Technical Support staff for more information before installing.