Minimalist PDF Reader (Keyboard Focused) for Ubuntu Linux – Zathura

If you’re looking for a PDF reader that comes with a pretty UI and reasonable amount of options, then although it’s a proprietary software, Foxit for Linux is still a pretty excellent utility.

But if you don’t care about having a lot of features and looking for a simple and a lightweight PDF reader then why not try ‘Zathura’.

As I put in the title, it’s a minimalist application which is a bit similar to the previously discussed (well, I pretty much “discussed” it with myself through the whole article, 0 comments :P) called MuPDF as ‘Zathura’ too relies on keyboard shortcuts rather than menus for controlling its features.


Main features …

*. Supports almost all the usual features of a PDF reader such as: searching for text (next, previous), go to next/previous page, zoom in/out, scroll up/down, scroll a page half way up/down, right/left scrolling, URL navigation support, rotate, re-load pages, full screen mode etc.

*. Add/delete bookmarks.

*. Supports opening encrypted documents.

*. Shows PDF meta-data such as: Author name, Title, Keywords, Creator, Producer etc.


*. Print.

*. You can launch Zathura and then type the PDF file location or can easily launch PDF files directly from Nautilus file manager as it adds itself to the right click menu.

If interested, you can install Zathura in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04 by simply typing the below command in your Terminal window.

sudo apt-get install zathura

Things like copying text don’t seems to work but mouse is supported for other functions (resizing, scrolling etc). And while I was using it, I couldn’t open links (within the document) either, even though according to the manual page, it should be able to do it.

For learning its keyboard shourtcuts, make sure to read its manual and visit this Zathura home page as well.

For the manual, use the below command in your Terminal window.

man zathura

So if you’re okay with some of those issues (plus limitations) and its keyboard oriented way of doing things, then Zathura seems like a pretty decent PDF viewer. Good luck.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

2 thoughts on “Minimalist PDF Reader (Keyboard Focused) for Ubuntu Linux – Zathura”

    • Lol.

      Again, it's a shame that other more popular GUI tools such as "Evince" fails let us even do simple (yet important) things such as changing the background colors. Sometimes I just can't endure the Gnome desktop's UI design "protocols", errrrr! ;-).


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