You’d be Stupid Not To…

Sep 6, 2008
Updated • Apr 9, 2012

Adobe Reader is the *worst example of software bloat I’ve ever had the bad experience of using. In fact I have not idea why I did use it for so long.

Adobe comes bundled with Windows and it includes the ability for previews in the Explorer sidebar so I guess that was useful enough for me not to worry. But lately I’ve had to read and use a lot of PDF’s and the fact it can manage to use up to 70mb of Ram for just three documents made me decide to look for an alternative.

I found Foxit Reader (well actually I already knew about it), it’s the best PDF reader and here’s why:

Tiny Size, Foxit Reader weighs in at under 3mb, 17Mb lighter then Adobe Reader sounds a bit ridiculous but it’s true.

Light on Resource, it’s fast and uses about a third of the memory that Adobe Reader does.

Tabbed Browsing, I wish all productivity and office software included tabbed browsing, but luckily Foxit Reader does. For me personally, consulting 10 PDFs at a time is pretty normal and it’s much easier to work without my task bar clogged up.

More intuitive, All the most commonly used tools are laid out nicely along the menu bar.

Stacks of extra stuff if you can be bothered to find it, that includes minimising to the system tray, looking up words in the dictionary, playing multimedia embedded in documents, reading history and so on.

Other boring features, yadda yadda Foxit Reader also includes better security and privacy controls, a tool for converting the PDF into a text file and an annotation tool for diagrams, drawings and notes.

Controls itself, no background updating, prompting, nagging, connecting to the Internet or generally being a severe annoyance. (“Adobe 8.7292 is available! Do you wish to update?”)

However,it’s not perfect (Although I did discover there are a hell of a lot more features in PDF readers then I sure ever use them for).

Light and fast though it is, it does actually lack a few things which I do like about Adobe Reader. The two major ones are that Adobe lets you preview PDFs in the Explorer sidebar and copy and past text and objects straight from the PDF.

Ultimately though, speed and performance trumps both of those and Foxit is my choice for today!


* Actually I think I should have said the best example, but you know what I meant… stupid English language.

** Also, incidentally, If you are a Songbird Media Player user then I’m working on a theme which aims to give Songbird 0.7 a more integrated look when used in Windows Vista.


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  1. miyco said on October 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    and yes.. PDF X-change is better than foxit reader!

  2. miyco said on October 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    i tried it.. you are right! it is a very good pdf reader, but like foxit reader it doesnt have center button AUTOscroll (it does have center button scroll)!!! what i ment by center button was, when you push the scroll wheel down then it should appear a little circle with an arrow up & down and then you just move your mouse up & down without holding any button! like in opera, firefox browsers.. AND THAT IS WHAT I MISS THE MOST!
    Lep pozdrav :)

  3. iampriteshdesai said on September 23, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    PDF X-Change Viewer has this funtionality. It is a nice alternative to Adobe Reader. Read more about PDF-Xchange here:

  4. miyco said on September 23, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    well im very impressed by the foxit reader! but it has one huge downside: CENTER BUTTON AUTOSCROLL !!! damn i miss that thing.. it is very powerful tool! i know it has autoscroll function, but it is totally useless! if the foxit reader will have that middle button autoscroll like browsers (firefox,opera)
    then it will be my default pdf viewr! untill… it will be good alternative to

    kakrthik : for password protected pdf use free pdf unlock online utility!

  5. Core said on September 15, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I have 4GB of ram – ram is dirt cheap… 4GB of DDR2 800 for 75$ on Newegg and corsair to boot (Never had a problem with corsair). You don’t even need DDR2 800 if your just doing average stuff like web surfing and stuff.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like running more resources then needed, else I wouldnt have tweaked my vista turning off all the annoying stuff it has on that I don’t care about (“LAWL” Readyboost).

    Going to try this.

    Also, yes your computer manufacturer probably stuck it on, I build my comps and never get and pre-installed crap they stick on, thankfully (Hate having to remove all that stupid stuff).

  6. kakrthik said on September 11, 2008 at 6:44 am

    I’m using both Foxit and PDF-Xchange viewer. But, if you use password protected PDF wrothless to open with PDF-Xchange viewer, nothing to view the file, it displayed ASCII characters.

    And the Foxit, when create a report through any of product, its hided for newly added informations.

    So, Adobe only to recover above mentioned one and same time to adjust size too.

  7. Tysen Woodlock said on September 7, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I went from Adobe Reader to Foxit but now I prefer PDF XChange-Viewer

  8. Josh said on September 7, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Oh I meant what you need Adobe Reader for… there are no features I use apart from simply reading… so lighter the better…

  9. Oton said on September 7, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Hmmm, let’s see… Right now: gray’s, netter, harrison, some random study, all in pdf, loaded firefox, itunes, minimized assasins creed and encoding a dvd… 3 years od pc with 2GB of ram. Haven’t bought any hardware in all this time.
    I won’t run any benchmarks right now but since all apps respond immediately with no delay I see no point in doing it.

  10. Josh said on September 7, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Wow… I’m shocked. What I thought would be a fairly dull topic (PDF reader on a pretty slow day (Weekend) actually turned out to my must popular post! Well, controversial if not popular =P


    @Transcontinental sorry, I put in the wrong link. There is a shareware version of Foxit Pro, but if you go to the downloads page you’ll find the free Foxit Reader.

    @xpgeek it comes with mine, but perhaps Toshiba stuck it on? I have no idea.

    @darkkosmos my computer is plenty good… why use software which uses 3 times more RAM then you have to?

    @Oton It all depends on what you need it for of course =)

    @Boss see what gokudomatic said =P he got it exactly right!

    And btw… I don’t hate Adobe, but a good company can still have some crap software. I also like AIR too, think it’s great.

  11. Lincoln said on September 7, 2008 at 5:14 am

    When I switched from Acrobat Reader to Foxit several years ago, it took .pdfs from being a pain in the a$$ to being worth using.

    Foxit all the way!!

  12. Dotan Cohen said on September 6, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    I just tried Adobe Reader for the first time in years, thanks to this post. It actually it’s so bloated as I remember it, and it had some nice features that I haven’t seen in other PDF readers. It has autoscroll (I will look to see if Okular has that, but I never noticed) and it smooths graphics at high resolution (1680×1050 screen) better than Okular, xpdf, and KPDF do. I’m actually impressed, and I might start using it a bit. This was Reader version 8 on Ubuntu 8.04.

  13. fsr said on September 6, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Foxit has lots of PDF compatibility problems, support and unninstall really sucks, the only way to get me to install this one, is using it’s Portable version. I use the free PDF-Xchange… for now.

  14. Rarst said on September 6, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    >Foxit Freeware — hard to find on Foxit Homepage though I remember it did exist, thought it had disappeared

    Hard to find? You mean you are missing “Get the free Foxit Reader” button in the middle of their page? Or “Get It Free” button on the 2.3 version overview page?

    I use Foxit because it’s light, fast and takes second to install (copy executable and run once).

  15. Thinker said on September 6, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    I use foxit reader and love it :) It’s much better than Adobe :)

  16. Boss said on September 6, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Why do u always complain about memory use? what kind of PC do u have? one from 1995 or what?

  17. Fractal said on September 6, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Look into Sumatra PDF (

    It is a very lightweight open-source PDF viewer. It has fewer features but is very fast and uses little memory.

    It is also available as a portable version at

  18. darkenrahl said on September 6, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Mature software gets bloated.
    The fast little new software comes along and run rings around the older contender.
    A familiar story.

    When will google come out with the OS to compete with MS?

    Question for bloat lovers (fast PC owners?):
    Do you commute to the office in a motor home?

    -(I’m a) Foxit user!

  19. gokudomatic said on September 6, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    guys who wonder why we’re spitting on adobe, have already tried to open 4 big pdf documents and keep them open, while surfing on firefox, have 5 explorer open either on local or on lan, have a office app opened 2 or 3 times and using your fav’ work tool (e.g. netbeans)? that’s a common work usage. And if the pdf reader takes 100MB or more you will feel it, unless you have 4GB of memory.

    a reader should not taking so much memory as adobe reader does now. it’s why I suggest foxit too.

  20. Oton said on September 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    What is wrong with adobe reader? I never get people who constantly say it sucks. It works great if you ask me…

    It’s fast to start, great browser integration, don’t care one bit how much memory it consumes and it’s luckily being updated.

    I’m talking about the reader not the pro version which is another story altogether.

  21. Anonymous said on September 6, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I have been using another excellent freeware pdf reader—Haihaisoft pdf reader.

    It can be downloaded from—

  22. iampriteshdesai said on September 6, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    @Dotan Cohen
    Well said, I hate Adobe. All their products turn out to be crappy. Usain Bolt can run 1 mile before Photoshop starts up. Hell I could read all the names of the developers on the splash screen of Photoshop. I wonder how Adobe manages to become such a big company despite making such crappy products. I predict that thanx to Adobe AIR 2 yrs later we all will be complaining how Crappy AIR is and how Prism would have been better. Guys plz support Mozilla Prism.

  23. Dotan Cohen said on September 6, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Haha, Arsgeek just recently had an Adobe rant as well:

    You guys might want to try Okular for a PDF and general document reader. There should be a Windows version in a few months as well from what I understand.

    What is a ‘crappy computer’ and what does it have to do with a computer program that has bloated source code and uses RAM irresponsibly? YOU might not mind throwing money at your hardware twice a year just so that you could continue opening the same documents that you opened last year, but some people have a problem with that.

  24. coco said on September 6, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    wtf? u’re still using adobe reader? i’ve used foxit reader quite a while already.

    how can u not know about foxit ready lol.

  25. iampriteshdesai said on September 6, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I have been noticing, you do lots of self promotion of your extendibly blog in your posts. I like your blog, I had commented on it (Adblock post).

  26. iampriteshdesai said on September 6, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Joshua there is another lightweight PDF reader PDF-Xchange which allows you to get previews in Explorer. I have written a nice blog pitting Foxit Vs Adobe Reader Vs PDF-Xchange here

  27. darkkosmos said on September 6, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Wait what? Foxit sucks, these arguments are for people who don’t have a good computer -.-

  28. Transcontinental said on September 6, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Foxit Freeware — hard to find on Foxit Homepage though I remember it did exist, thought it had disappeared, couldn’t find it — seemed (seems) to exist either for very basic pdf output functions, either to show how greater and necessary is the shareware version. Why would I pay when Adobe offers it free ? OK, it’s heavier, and so what if it loads fast ?!

    I think Foxit is a fashion, as well as anti-Adobe and anti-Microsoft systematic mentalities are. Nonsense.

  29. xpgeek said on September 6, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Adobe comes bundled with Windows? News to me.

    Foxit user here too, and its not shareware, its freeware. Theres a pro version thats shareware that allows PDF creation, and Adobe don’t give that away for free either.

  30. David Bradley said on September 6, 2008 at 10:42 am

    There’s one annoyance with Foxit…the menu bars sometimes relocate themselves. Anyone know how to fix this?

  31. Transcontinental said on September 6, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Foxit is shareware. I use Adobe Reader 9.0 Lite (20Mb is lite compared to 34Mb), works fine, loads fast and is freeware. Where’s the problem ?

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