Foxit rivals Adobe for reading PDF files

Foxit PDF Reader is a program that many consider to be a faster, lighter, more able Windows alternative to Adobe Reader.

Foxit PDF Reader, the program that many consider to be a faster, lighter, more able Windows alternative to Adobe Reader, has recently jumped to version 5.0. This newest release comes with many of the same solid features, a few new ones, and an upgraded interface.

As with the previous version, the setup process is a bit cumbersome. First, watch out for the two check boxes that make Ask your browser default search provider and Ask.com your home page. Opt out as necessary. Then, toward the end of the installation process, be sure to read carefully and opt out of the Addin for Mozilla FireFox, Opera, Safari and Chrome--unless, of course, you're into bloated toolbars. Once you make it through the installation gauntlet, the rest should be smooth sailing.

The new Foxit Reader 5.0 interface is a bit sleeker than in previous versions. It still has clean, easily distinguishable icons, and the toolbar is still customizable. In addition, you can now choose your color scheme (black, blue, orange, purple). It's not ground-breaking, but it's a nice touch. You can also choose a new ribbon-style menu and customize your own shortcut keys.

Foxit Reader 5.0 still includes many of the useful features that its rival, Adobe Reader, doesn't. There's tabbed PDF viewing, text-only view, rulers, Safe Mode, and several annotation tools for things like highlighting and commenting. Meanwhile, 5.0 has added a few conveniences that give it an extra edge, including XFA form filling, support for Microsoft RMS-protected files, and previews in Outlook.

Overall, we think the new Foxit Reader is a worthwhile download. While it may not be perfect--it can't create PDFs, and it pesters users with add-ons and upgrades--it's still a solid alternative to Adobe Reader.

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