For a PDF reader, Foxit is hot

Foxit Reader is a must-have for anybody who doesn't like the way that Adobe Reader handles PDFs. This latest update includes improvements ranging from the major to the barely noticeable, but they all go a long way to creating a better PDF experience.

Fast to load and yet possessing robust features, Foxit PDF Reader is a strong freeware alternative to the dominance of the Adobe Reader. The new features in version 2.3 include two notable improvements, a slew of minor ones, and small tweak that goes a long way to put Foxit on nearly equal footing with its better-known competitors.

Foxit PDF Reader 2.3 adds tabbed PDFs, multimedia support, and more. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Foxit now supports tabbed PDF reading, porting the feature from Web browsers into the world of documents. This is a no-brainer, and makes it much easier for having multiple PDFs open simultaneously.

The other important improvement is that Foxit now supports multimedia embeds in PDFs. Although PDFs are an effective way to compile lengthy text documents, they are not paper and shouldn't be treated as mere digitalizations of print products. Being able to watch video or listen to an audio track in PDFs is a long-needed feature.

Other improvements in this version include permanent bookmarks--as long as the PDF's security settings allow them--automatic mouse-free scrolling, a magnifying tool, rulers and guides for PDF creation, commenting tools and call-out boxes, and the capability to print a selected area from within Foxit.

Oh, and that small tweak? Finally, Foxit Reader lets users click on hyperlinks. It's hard to believe that this feature didn't exist in previous editions, but it's here now. Along with multimedia support, Foxit looks like it's positioned itself as one of the top alternatives to the bloated Adobe Reader.