[NTG-context] PDF viewer poll

Hamid,Idris Idris.Hamid at ColoState.EDU
Tue Oct 15 06:58:48 CEST 2019

Hi Henning, all,

On Sun, 13 Oct 2019 04:43:14 -0600, Henning Hraban Ramm <texml at fiee.net>  

> Hi, I’d like to update my list of (usable!) PDF viewers.
> Which one do you use? (Current version?)
> What are its pros and cons?
> Is it free (open source, freeware)?
> Does it work on Win/Lin/Mac?
> Does it have a localized interface? (I don’t care, but I work with  
> people who don’t understand a lot of English.)
> Can it handle comments, attachments?
> Can it handle forms with or without JavaScript?
> Does it support SyncTeX? (Who uses that anyway?)
> Does it update changed PDFs on its own (or does it even block  
> overwriting)?
> Which other features are essential for your choice?
> E.g. I’m working with:
> - Preview.app (Mac)
>   Default on MacOS, fast & easy. No JS, bad forms support, updates  
> "sometimes". Usable as a previewer, not as a PDF toolbox.
> - Adobe Reader DC (Mac)
>   I use it only to check forms or as reference. Unusable GUI.
> - Acrobat Pro 9 (Mac)
>   Was my workhorse, but works on MacOS Mojave only partly; slow &  
> crash-prone; no updates. Can check PDF/X<4 and convert colors.
> - PDF Studio Pro (on Mac & Linux)
>   Bought to replace AcroPro9; JS support broken; slow startup; no  
> updates. Can check PDF/X, A, UA and convert colors.
>   Ok with forms, but doesn’t support LiveCycle forms (deprecated, but  
> used by German boards).
> - Qpdfview (Linux)
>   Fast and easy; reliably updates.
> - PDF.js (Browser or Atom)
>   Is said to do SyncTeX (never tried). Easy, but slow. Updates.

On Windows:

For a ConTeXt workflow, sumatrapdf, for all the reasons mentioned by Hans  
and others. Works well with SyncTeX and Notepad++.

As a commercial replacement to Adobe Acroboat, nothing beats NitroPDF.  
Clean interface. Avoids most if not all of the problems mentioned by Hans.

University machine has Acrobat, so for pdf manipulation beyond the  
capabilities of sumatrapdf: mostly Acrobat at school and NitroPDF at home.

Best wishes
Idris Samawi Hamid, Professor
Department of Philosophy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80512

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