PDF is the standard format for transferring documents online. Microsoft’s Office Open XML and Open Document formats are rather irrelevant. It’s a software developer’s dream come true.
But as we all know, Adobe is not the only company offering PDF readers and writers. There is no question that better, free alternatives to the ever so (un)popular Adobe Acrobat Reader exist. One example is the Foxit Reader.
To be fair though, we have to recognize that Adobe’s Acrobat Reader has come a long way. It may appear slow because it comes with many great and some not so necessary features. On the other hand, some of the latest improvements show that developers don’t turn a blind eye to the competition and the latest trends. So if you prefer to use the original software – or for some reason have to – read on!
Earlier this month Adobe Reader 9 was released. In all honesty, it seems to load faster than ever. Looking at the new features overview that’s just what Adobe promises. Version 9 also supports swf and flv files, introduced as “Native Adobe Flash®” support, and allows working with Acrobat.com (beta). Here’s a list of all of its features.
Now let’s have a look at some of the things you can do to improve your PDF experience with Adobe Reader.
Since version 8 you can customize the toolbar, adding and removing tools as you need them. Go to >Tools, >Customize Toolbars… and check all the options you can’t live without.
Also with version 8 came the possibility to include bookmarks, comments and attachments in the search, along with the option to search just the current document or all PDFs in a specific directory on your computer.
For enhanced reading you should know your shortcuts:
[Ctrl + Shift + H] activates automatic scrolling.
[Ctrl + H] puts the document into reading mode, omitting all tool- and navigation bars.
[Ctrl + L] toggles the full screen mode.
F8 removes just the toolbars.
F9 makes the menu bar disappear.
If you can’t keep your eyes open long enough to read a whole document, here’s a feature you will love. Since version 6 Adobe Reader has a built-in text-to-speech synthesizer called Read Out Loud. You will find it under >View >Read Out Loud. Admittedly, it’s very simple and there are much better text-to-speech tools out there. However, it’s already included, it works and doesn’t require any maintenance.
To keep your browser from freezing when opening a PDF document, you should disable the >display PDF in browser option under >Edit >Preferences >Internet.
Under >Preferences you can also disable the Splash Screen in the >General category >Application Startup section.
What makes using Adobe Acrobat Reader easier for you? If you’re not using it, which changes could convince you to return?