Mainly due to its popularity, these days, no matter what operating system that you use, you can always find an awful lot of PDF readers with ease and choose the one that suite your needs the most. The Foxit reader for instance is a great alternative to the “official” Adobe Reader as it uses less system resources (in comparison) plus lets you do a lot of what Adobe Reader does too.
However it’s a proprietary application, and as a MS Windows user, if you’re looking for a free an open source PDF reader (GNU GPL licensed) alternative, then “PDFlite” is also a pretty decent tool that might get you interested ;-).
It’s based on the “Sumatra PDF reader” and if you’ve been using “Sumatra”, then you’ll notice the UI (user interface) similarities between the two. However, it’s actually more than just a PDF reader, because you can convert a huge number of formats (Microsoft Word, HTML, Images etc) into PDF format with ease by using PDFlite!.
It does this by simply creating a virtual printer called “PDFlite” in Windows which you can use in any application that supports printing, and get a PDF file as the output.
So whenever you want to convert a file into the PDF format, say an image file for example, then first open the file using the default application, and from its menu choose “Print” and from the printer selection dialog, make sure to select “PDFlite” as the printer, then at the end you’ll be asked to enter a name for the PDF file, that’s it!.
Few features …
*. A toolbar that has a “Save As”, Print, Next/Previous, Zoom in/out and few other usual tools.
*. Search in the PDF content.
*. Few built in “Views”: Single Page, Facing, Book View, Presentation and Fullscreen.
*. Enable/Disable continuous page scrolling.
*. Add/remove the default toolbar or the Bookmark toolbar for a more simple & a cleaner look.
*. Page rotating.
*. Has a simple PDF meta-data viewer that shows information such as the Author, Title, Page Size, PDF version etc.
*. You can use the “Options” window for tweaking few other settings such as: Changing the default zooming levels, enable/disable file resuming (opens the last page you viewed), change the default “view” to any of the above mentioned ones, make “PDFlite” the default PDF viewer etc.
*. However, it doesn’t have an entry for the “hand tool” in the toolbar for scrolling, but it’s automatically enabled when you left-click and hold in an empty space (within the page of course).
You gotta make sure the cursor is not blinking and is changed into the default “arrow” (happens automatically when you move over an empty field) because while the cursor is blinking it’ll select the text rather than scrolling.
But as a shortuct, you can right-click and hold anywhere (either over text or empty spaces) and it should change the mouse to the “hand-tool” icon and then you can start scrolling up or down.
If interested, you can get it from this PDFlite home page.
While installing, you might also wanna disable all the options under “Babylon Toolbar” (not a virus or anything but …) after selecting the “Advanced Installation” option, because once installed, it’ll replace Google search (or whatever the search engine that you’ve chosen in your web browser) and it can be a bit hectic to get rid of afterward.
That’s it. Good luck.