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Foxit Reader is fast, free alternative to Adobe Reader for 99% of PDF documents.

As you might expect, Adobe's free Acrobat PDF reader is the definitive tool for reading Adobe's own PDF format. However, it's certainly not the only tool, nor is it neccessarily the best.

One of the frequent complaints about Acrobat Reader is that it can be quite slow to load as it loads and processes modules that 99% of users never need to read a simple PDF file.

Now there is a choice. Foxit Reader offers users a very fast and free alternative to reading PDF files.

In addition to its speed, Foxit is also a much smaller download, at nearly 1/10th the size of the Adobe Acrobat reader.

There are a couple of small caveats...

The Foxit company is, of course, a business. Offering Foxit Reader for free is an incentive for you to visit their site, become familiar with their products and hopefully purchase some of the other products they offer that are not free. The choice, of course, is yours, but I'm discussing specifically the free Foxit Reader which is a simple download that doesn't require any of your information.

"Foxit Reader is fine alternative to Adobe Reader"

Once installed, you need to check the updates because many of the updates are actually trial versions of some of Foxit's add-ons and are not free. Check the updates carefully before selecting which you want to install.

Since Adobe can be said to "own" the PDF format, occasionally there will be newer features or incompatibilities. The most recent version of Foxit Reader (2.3, at this writing), resolved all the incompatibilities that I've run into, but the potential still exists. Foxit seems to be relatively quick to track and update Foxit Reader to accommodate any issues.

But the bottom line is that Foxit Reader is a fine alternative to Adobe Reader for 99% of the PDF documents out there. It's nice to have a document snap right up on the display, rather than waiting while Adobe Reader cycles through its loading sequence.

Article C3431 - June 30, 2008 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

July 1, 2008 2:32 AM

not just that Leo , i use Foxit reader , and i can tell you it is more easier and functionally , it didn't use big memory on your PC such as Acrobat , very easy and fast to install , very fast to open PDF files , to this moment i never get problems with Foxit reader , hope that Foxit company interest with this program more and try to develop it.

thank you leo for useful article ...

Michael Horowitz
July 1, 2008 9:43 AM

The Foxit PDF Reader is also portable:

And, there is a Linux and U3 version (but no Mac version). On Linux, Foxit is now the safer choice as Adobe hasn't yet fixed the latest critical bug in the Adobe Reader on Linux.

July 1, 2008 10:36 AM

I used Foxit for a long time before I uninmstalled it.
I use the USPS site to print shipping labels and it requires Adobe.
You cannot print a shipping label with the USPS using Foxit.
Too bad because I really liked Foxit.

Eli Coten
July 1, 2008 11:48 AM

Simlarly, you cannot print a mailing label using the Royal Mail label (UK) printing service with Foxit.

I have previously encountered problems printing things from Foxit reader but other than the aforementioned labels, these seem to have been resolved in the more recent versions.

Roger Turner
July 1, 2008 10:38 PM

I use a great piece of freeware called Adobe Reader Speedup from:
This software safely removes all unnecessary Adobe components for much faster loading. These can be re-installed easily using the same program. Foxit crashed occasionally on my system.

July 1, 2008 11:27 PM

I used Foxit in the past, but now switched to PDF-XCHANGE VIEWER:
The typewriter mode is very useful, but could be easier to use.

July 2, 2008 2:52 PM

For the folks who have occasional issues with Foxit, it would recommend the same approach I use with Internet Explorer and Firefox. I Keep both programs handy preferring Firefox and Foxit, but using the more mainstream products when needed for the odd website or PDF document. Aide from hard drive space, there is little to lose by having both programs.

July 2, 2008 3:47 PM

Hash: SHA1

Actually for my wife's business we also use USPS and Foxit
Reader extensively. Works well for us. (The USPS site has
issues in general, but that's a different topic. :-)


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


July 3, 2008 12:52 AM

I'd also suggest PDF-Xchange Viewer because it includes annotation tools and typewriter mode that you'd have to pay for with Foxit: very handy for completing forms you'd otherwise have to print out and fill in by hand. It also provides a button that opens the same document in Adobe, Foxit or any other installed reader.
Like Foxit you can pay to add more features, but the two products differ in the features provided for free.

Al Kubeluis
July 3, 2008 4:21 AM

Leo -- Thanks for great tip. -- I've been using Foxit for several days and it's great and way better than Adobe Reader! -- Al K

October 5, 2008 12:38 PM

[edited] Guys, Foxit is not allowed to do even 10% what Adobe does! If you looking for an Adobe alternative find something more competitive! PDF pen pro is pretty god, is a nice one too. It's not expensive either but you can really make your job done.

Ben Who
October 28, 2008 9:31 AM

OH No don't start, I hate foxit reader. Adobe reader is so much more convenient. even though larger. The whole purpose of PDF files are that they can be viewed by everyine the same way. Now foxit reader does not do that. I tried it and I uninstalled it the next day.

Steven Causey
February 17, 2009 9:54 AM

FOXIT not compatible with Renplace applications, like Accelerated Reader.....REALY WOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS WORK!!!!

Ken Jones
March 15, 2011 8:42 AM

I've used Foxit reader for many months now, without issue. So far as I can tell, a document opened in Foxit looks just the same as in any other .pdf reader; at least I've never noticed any difference.

I also keep Adobe reader around, just in case. Can't remember the last time I had to resort to it, though.

There are annotation tools included with the free Foxit, although I can't say (don't know) if they are as extensive as available with any other free .pdf readers.

As far as I'm concerned Foxit does 100% of what the Adobe reader does--among the Adobe features I have used that is, you know, reading and printing .pdf documents.

Howard B. Evans, Jr.
March 15, 2011 10:23 AM

I, too, was unhappy with all the "stuff" that Adobe Reader insists on installing when it is started. So, when I recently had to re-install Windows XP Pro after a hard disk drive (HDD) failure, I opted to install Foxit instead of Adobe to read PDF files. No regrets yet. It opens and prints all the .pdf files I've thrown at it so far. I will probably visit the Adobe web site and download their latest free reader, just because... because it IS Adobe. However, for now, Foxit is "good enuf". BTW, I strongly recommend downloading and installing the free PDF Creator from the SourceForge web site. It's a great program for saving to disk, or memory stick, web pages and documents you want to look at offline and maybe print on another computer with a better printer.

PDF Creator is the first package where I've actually retracted my recommendation: I no longer recommend it because recent versions install unrelated software and toolbars without asking.

March 15, 2011 12:50 PM

I've used the toolbar-free version of FOXIT for years, on a Windows XP Pro machine, and am quite satisfied with it's performance.

R Menon
March 15, 2011 1:59 PM

I've used adobe, foxit, pdf xchange viewer and nitro pdf reader (beta). Of the lot nitro is by far the best. It is still in beta mode but allows limited editing including commenting and adding text and highlighting.
The other one which allows this in the freeware version is pdf xchange reader, but nitro is a bit more polished.
Needless to mention all three are freeware, but the annoyance quotient with the bundled toolbars etc is the least again with the nitro and highest with foxit.
If you want a good reader with some editing capability go for nitro rather than foxit.

October 26, 2011 8:48 PM

Adobe is virtual crapware. Foxit is ok.

PDF-Exchange is free and better than both IMO.

Never tried Nitro

January 8, 2012 8:37 AM

I have tried to print of a page in foxit reader which had drop down boxes but it printed them instead of the info they contain. Does anyone know how to change this so it does not print the box.

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