"Comprehensive PDF Viewing File manipulation,"
★ Winner of Best PDF Tool in 2017.
PDF-XChange Viewer is a powerful program used for viewing and editing PDF documents. Developed by Tracker Software Products, PDF-XChange Viewer is one of a number of similar products Tracker Software has created for working with PDFs. The Viewer software itself has a professional, fully-featured version available for $37.50 for a single-user license, and a free version with a smaller, though still large, available feature set. The free version does include temporary use of the features ordinarily used in the pro version as a trial, and the majority of those in the free version are permanent.
The viewer can be downloaded in a number of formats, including standard windows installer, zipped archive, and a portable version.
Method of installation depends on the format downloaded, but with the exclusion of the portable versions, most will lead to the same standard installer.
The installation itself is quick and simple; a wizard is employed with a standard Software License Agreement to accept, a choice of installation directory, and a choice of components to install, such as add-ons for web browsers and language support. All components together require 17.7mb of space. You are also given an option to rename the program folder as it is seen in the start menu or to exclude it entirely, and options for icon placement on the desktop and to set PDF X-Change Viewer as your default PDF viewer application. The installation process is ad-free and does not attempt to add any accompanying software or toolbars. At the end of installation, there is a form for registering the professional version if you have acquired a license; otherwise, there is an option to skip this form.
PDF-XChange Viewer has a standard window interface, yet uniquely most of its elements can be rearranged. By default, a main menu sits on top, just below the window frame where the document title is displayed. Below this are rows of buttons (the number of rows depending on the size of the window in your screen) that are convenient shortcuts to the more commonly used features. All of these buttons are grouped into categories similar to the corresponding menu headings above. While buttons cannot be rearranged within their categories, each grouping can be moved around freely within the top segment of the window. Each of these sections can also be dragged alongside the main panel or even popped off into a floating window of their own (although still tied to the main application window).
Below all this sits the main panel. Initially it is empty, but once a file has been opened it not only displays that document but a number of secondary features for viewing and maneuvering in your document, or even between documents.
When starting PDF-XChange Viewer, an option is displayed to make it the default PDF viewer, if you have not already done so. There is an option to preclude the program from asking this in the future.
Once past this, the main screen of PDF-XChange Viewer is shown. To open a PDF document, you can double click in the main pane of the program. This will bring up a file browser dialogue in which you can select a file to open. Alongside the file browser, file information and a preview of the PDF are shown. You can also open a PDF file from a URL through the main menu.
The actual features that PDF-XChange Viewer presents are fairly vast. Though most of the editing features themselves are limited to the professional version, all of the viewing abilities, and a number of organization and annotation tools are available, and these themselves are great in number. Handily, the features limited to the professional version are marked “Pro” in their menus, so that you can differentiate between them in the trial version.
In the professional version only, a new PDF document can be created in PDF-XChange Viewer, either as a blank canvas, starting from an existing image or text file, or from data obtained through a scanner.
PDF files can be emailed from within the program, and even sent as automatically zipped folders. PDF-XChange Viewer has standard saving features (though only to the PDF format itself), but can export to a number of image files, for which there are options that can be adjusted, including resolution and page order.
You can also easily edit the document’s properties. This includes basic data like author, publishing date, etc, as well as keywords, security features, initial view settings, and more.
The Edit menu provides standard operations like redo and undo, copy and paste, and a search. It also gives access to importing and exporting settings to a data file, which lets you save your exact state for PDF-XChange Viewer across sessions. Lastly on the Edit menu is preferences. PDF-XChange Viewer provides a huge number of preferences to customize many elements of the program, from color and layout to languages, file associations, user settings, tools, plug-ins, security, and a plethora of other options.
The View menu gives you options to change both the document panel and the layout of the program itself. A number of these options can be accessed through the preferences panel as well. Though most of these features are standard across viewers – such as full-screen options, rotation, and grids – there is also a bookmarking feature, allowing you to mark places within the documents you use that you will then be able to come back to later with ease. Clicking on the bookmarks button brings up the bookmarks sidebar.
The Document menu contains mainly PDF creation and editing tools, which are only available in the professional version. These include adding, removing, and adjusting pages in the document, and attaching files. One feature in this menu that is available in the free version is the OCR conversion, an extremely useful feature which traverses the document and converts all recognizable text in the PDF image into searchable textual content.
Another nifty feature in PDF-XChange Viewer is the comment tool. This allows you to place notes within your documents which can be moved, changed, customized, and organized. Though the tool for this itself is in the Tools menu, the options for altering and handling these comments is in the Comments menu, where you can display them in a sidebar view or have them sorted by type or by author (author is based on users, which can be changed in the preferences). A couple of the comment features, such as showing a summary of all comments, are available only in the professional version, but the majority of the functionality for comments is included in the free version.
Within the Tools menu lie a plethora of gadgets for viewing and modifying the document. This includes the comment tool as well as tools to add text, shapes, highlights, complex links, and more, and to zoom, select areas, take snapshots, and even measure areas of the document. Across dozens of tools, there is very little that cannot be done. Significantly, all these tools are available in the free version.
PDF-XChange Viewer also provides some means to control multiple windows if you have different sessions open. The Window menu provides these controls as well as showing a list and preview of all the PDF-XChange Viewer windows open. Using multiple windows along with tabs provides a clean and organized control for groupings of documents.
There is, of course, a large help file available to familiarize you with all of PDF-XChange Viewer’s features. Through the Help menu you can also go to the website of Tracker Software, register the software, report an issue, visit the support forum, check for program updates, and see a simple blurb about the program and its creators.
PDF-XChange Viewer also contains a number of small additional features meant to make your life simpler. For instance, one option in the main menu allows you to copy the full path and file name of the document, which you might use in a search or another program. A number of small features such as this one are scattered throughout the program.
The number of features that PDF-XChange Viewer offers, even in its free version, is significant. PDF-XChange Viewer provides a full range of tools for viewing, editing, and managing one or multiple PDF documents. The benefits of a program like PDF-XChange Viewer are many, and with such a full coverage of abilities, PDF-XChange Viewer can easily replace more common and generally expensive PDF software. Since the free version of PDF-XChange Viewer is intended primarily as a viewer, the number of editing tools available is impressive, though most of these are internal markup rather than true editing.
If you are looking to create and edit PDF files professionally, this may not be the best program. Certainly the free version does not provide the ability to create documents, and even with the professional version, once you are willing to spend money for professional PDF software, you might consider Adobe or another mainstream software company to be a more reliable resource.
There is also a downside to the number of features in PDF-XChange Viewer, in that learning the software can be somewhat overwhelming. Certainly if you are looking for a simple viewer, this will be beyond what you need and probably be more bothersome than it is useful.
The alternatives to PDF-XChange Viewer range in quality and price. The most standard and accepted is Adobe Reader, which can handle all PDF file formats. Its free version is quite limited in features, but is nonetheless powerful in its document support. The next level in handling PDF files is Adobe’s Acrobat Professional, which provides the same support along with a number of PDF creating and editing tools – though this product must be purchased (costs range from just over $100 to about $500 for a single user, depending on the version).
There are a number of other alternatives with lesser fame, including Foxit Reader, which is a moderately popular, lightweight PDF viewer, and Nitro Reader, which is a free reader supporting a number of editing applications similar to PDF-XChange Viewer. Nitro also offers a professional version with powerful additional features, but this comes at the relatively hefty price of $119.99.
On the slighter end of the range of programs is the viewer offered in Google Drive, which has basic reading functionality, and plug-ins that exist for Chrome and Firefox, providing integrated support to view most PDF files. These programs are convenient and neatly incorporated, but lack any features to work with your documents.
PDF-XChange Viewer is an extremely full-featured program. For no cost, you can gain access to most of the tools you would require to view and manage your PDF documents. For a moderate sum, you can add powerful creation and modification tools to the repertoire.
While certainly overkill if looking for a simple PDF reader, PDF-XChange Viewer will meet the needs of anyone up to the lower levels of professional use.
For a truly impressive set of features offered mostly for free, along with some unique features offered few other places, PDF-XChange Viewer by Tracker Software Products earns 5 out of 5 stars.
Requirements: Win7 / Win8 / Win8.1 / Win10 / WinServer 2012 and later (x32/x64)
What's new in this version: Includes important security enhancements - reccomended for all new and existing users ! Includes OCR.
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