Recently, one of my subscribers wanted to know about a free program to let him fill in PDF forms.
I made a quick check and realized that the free PDF reader Foxit Reader would do this. While Foxit Reader also has a Pro Pack available to add additional functions, the free version does almost everything that most users need.
More importantly, it does it without the baggage of Adobe Reader and its huge memory requirement, the huge delays in starting up (unless you let Adobe Reader preload and take up a bunch of your memory all the time, and its automatic updating, which caused me problems.
I’ve been using Foxit Reader for a couple years, off and on, but now it’s my main program for reading PDF files.
Before responding to the subscriber, I checked the Foxit website and found that I was using a version that was several iterations old. I had v2.0 installed, while the current version is v2.3. Needless to say, I downloaded Foxit Reader 2.3 and installed it. I also realized this was a good time to write about Foxit Reader.
As I installed the new version, I found a very welcome screen — a list of new features:
The next image includes part of the End User License Agreement, which is very user-friendly. I’ve underlined the portions that specifically address being able to use the program to fill out forms.
The next image shows the blank Foxit Reader screen, before loading a PDF file. Of course, if you double-click on a PDF file, it will open Foxit Reader with the PDF opened inside. The way you see this screen is to open the Foxit Reader program from the Start Menu or from the QuickLaunch bar.
Te next pair of images show the same PDF file, opened in Foxit Reader 2.3. The image on the left is the default layout, which shows the PDF on the right. The left side is used to show any bookmarks in the PDF file.
The image on the right is the PDF file only, after I clicked the X at the top righthand corner of the bookmarks section.
The next two images demonstrate the ability in the free version to highlight text in the PDF document. The function is really designed for the Pro Pack addition (the paid version), but it works in the free version.
The image on the left shows that I have highlighted several sections of text on a page in the PDF file.
When you save the PDF documennt, Foxit Reader (free) adds a banner notice on the particular page. The result is shown in the image on the right.
Foxit Reader is a great, fast, little program. It installs quickly and easily and it co-exists peacefully with Adobe Reader, too. You can use Adobe Reader to read PDF files in your web browser, and still use Foxit Reader to read them when they’re on your computer. I like it.