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Foxit Reader review

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Foxit Reader is a PDF reader – and much more. As well as providing a way to view PDF files, the program can also be used to create this type of file, sign PDFs, and add annotations.

There are also Foxit Reader plugins for Microsoft Office programs (including Word, Excel and PowerPoint) that make for easy conversion of common file types, and open up the possibility of create PDFs from pretty much any file you can open.

Ultimately, Foxit Reader is a PDF viewer with a handful of tricks up its sleeve to entice you away from the competition.

One of our favourite Foxit Reader features is its security toolbox. Not everyone will be interested in the handy JavaScript security feature, which prevents unauthorized scripts transmitting data, but it’s hugely useful when you’ve downloaded a PDF from the internet and aren’t certain of its provenance.

The ability to create PDF files from scanned documents is also incredibly useful, although it’s a shame that OCR support is not available in the free product.

The web browser-style plugins are a great way to extend Foxit Reader’s capabilities further still, but the free edition has pretty much all of the bases covered already.

Foxit Reader is possibly the most feature-packed free PDF reader around. As well as being powerful, it benefits from being remarkably fast. Why pay for a premium program?

User experience

If you’ve never created a PDF before, the prospect might be a little daunting, and Foxit Reader’s interface can seem overwhelming. While the look is not too far removed from that of Microsoft Office – there is a very familiar ribbon toolbar in place, for instance – it somehow manages to look complex in a way that will be off-putting to some.

Thankfully, it’s possible to minimize the ribbon to reduce screen clutter, freeing up the interface for the PDF you’re viewing; something that’s improved even further by the distraction-free full-screen mode. You can also minimize the entire program window to a system tray icon, which occupies less space than an entry in the Windows Taskbar.

When it comes to simply viewing PDFs, Foxit Reader is easy to get into. A second row of tabs makes it simple to work with multiple files at the same time, and another toolbar – vertical this time – allows for navigation of bookmarks, tables of contents and so on.

Latest updates

The latest version of Foxit Reader provides ease of use enhancements, and a plugin that generates a link that enables you to share a PDF via email or social media. For a full list of changes, see the official release notes.

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