PDF is one of the most commonly used formats for a variety of documents, including e-books, reference books, legal documents, brochures, research reports and much more. If you often find yourself handling PDFs, then you would appreciate a tool that allows you to at least scribble or jot down your thoughts, even if it doesn’t allow any changes to be made to the files. One such tool is Tracker Software Products' PDF-XChange Viewer, a feature-rich program that allows you to do more than just view the PDF.


As the name suggests, this program is a PDF viewer and doesn’t allow you to edit the text in the PDF. However, having said that, PDF-XChange Viewer is undoubtedly rich on features that allow you to add your inputs to the document. Its exhaustive commenting and mark-up tools won’t disappoint you. You can select the ‘Text tool’, select the text you want to add a note to and right click to choose from the numerous options. From here, you can add a comment, make a note, highlight text, cross-out text, add link and even add bookmark. There are also more options that can be selected from the ‘Tools’ tab, including the ‘Comment and Mark-up Tools’ feature. Here you will find text-based tools like sticky notes, text boxes, call-outs, etc. as well as drawing-based tools such as arrows, rectangles, circles, lines and other shapes. The appearance of each of these can be customised for colour, border style, blend mode and opacity. You can make the comments bold, italic, superscript, underline, etc., but you cannot change the font. You also have a ‘Pencil, tool for some free hand drawing or simple doodling.    

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It features a great set of tools for mark-up and comments

It also features the very handy ‘loupe’ and ‘pan and zoom’ tools, which make reading fine text an easy task. Another thoughtful feature is the ‘Snapshot’ tool, which allows you to take a screenshot of any specific part of the document you have made changes to. If you have the Pro version of the software, you can create a new PDF document and paste the screenshot there after specifying the size and orientation. Alternatively, you can use any other program, such as Windows' built-in Paint, to save the screenshot. If you want to save the entire document as an image, then you have the option to ‘Export as Image’ from the 'File' tab, where you can even specify resolution and image format. You can add links to places within the document itself, to another document, or even to websites. Also a new addition is OCR support, which will make your scanned PDF documents searchable. Speaking of search, if you stumble upon a word and want to find its meaning or verify a fact mentioned, then you can select it using 'text' tool and right click to go to the ‘Search’ option. By default, it is set to Ask.com, but you can change it to any of the services listed or add a new one.


One handy feature is the ability to add links

PDF-XChange Viewer is also ideal for collaborative working because of options that let you display comments by Author and Type (notes, drawing markups, text editing markups, stamp and attachments). Another handy tool is the ‘Show comment feature’ which opens up the navigation pane on the left, listing all the comments page-wise, thus making it easier to browse through all of them. The Pro version allows you to export the comments to a new PDF document. You also have options to add ‘Stamps’ to your document by selecting from those present or creating a new one from the 'Stamp Palette'. Additionally, you can email the document either as is or zipped. However, options such as importing a text file, RTF file, creating a document from a scanner, or converting an image file into a PDF are limited to the Pro version. Inserting, Deleting, Extracting, Merging or Attaching files to a PDF are also available only in the Pro version.  

Online search is possible from within the PDF

When you first run the application after installing it, you may find it a bit cluttered as most of the toolbars are displayed by default. You can easily customise it to limit the view to only show the ones you will use frequently. Otherwise, the layout and interface is quite similar to Adobe Acrobat and it’s not difficult to adapt. One key difference that you have here is the option to view several documents together in the same window in the form of tabs. Additionally, it provides explanations for each tool, which makes it easy to pick the right ones. It also provides comprehensive details like document, text and even image properties. These include details such as the font types, software used to develop it, image type, resolution, security settings, editing options, size and much more. 
PDF-XChange loads quickly and doesn’t take too much time to load even the most image-heavy PDF files. It provides a comprehensive set of tools, even with the free version. Overall, it’s a great tool for those who rely a lot on PDFs for work or otherwise. If you are looking for a good PDF viewer – one that is light on your system resources and most importantly doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, then PDF-XChange Viewer is perfect for you.   

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