Foxit Reader 9.0 major new version released

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 1, 2017

Foxit Software released Foxit Reader 9.0, a new major version of the company's free PDF reading software for Windows, to the public today.

The new version of the program comes with new features and improvements, and security and stability fixes.

Existing users can run a check for updates with a click on Help > Check for updates. You may download the new version from the Foxit Software website as well, and upgrade existing versions of the program or install it anew instead.

Our last review of Foxit Reader dates back to 2013 and Foxit Reader 6.0.

Foxit Reader 9.0

foxit reader 9.0

The new features that Foxit Reader 9.0 comes with can be divided into usability and security features. Users may export digital IDs now, and the Foxit Reader MSI package comes with Enterprise security features such as Windows Information Protection (WIP) and support for Microsoft's PDF V2 IRM specification.

Single-key accelerators, automatic reflow on magnification, a new find command, and bleed mark and overprint simulation are new usability features.

Some of these features need to be enabled before they become available. You need to enable single-key accelerators that improve the accessibility under File > Preferences >  General > Use single-key accelerators to access tools before the feature can be used.

The user manual lists all single-key accelerators that Foxit Reader 9.0 users may use. Most require a single-key tab, some a modifier key. Here is a short list of available single-key accelerators:

  • V -- Select
  • Z -- Marquee
  • H -- Hand
  • R -- Select Annotation
  • M -- Audio & Video
  • Shift-M -- Cycle through multimedia commands
  • K -- Stamp
  • E -- Replace text
  • S -- Sticky note
  • Shift-D -- Cycle through drawing markup commands
  • X -- Text box
  • Page-Up -- Previous Screen
  • Page-Down -- Next Screen
  • Home -- First page
  • End -- Last page
  • Arrows -- Scroll
  • Shift-L -- Highlight fields in forms
  • F10 -- Focus ribbon
  • F5 -- Focus document pane
  • Ctrl-Shift-Tab -- Move to previous open document tab

Foxit Reader 9.0 supports a hundred or so single-key accelerators in total. Reflow upon navigation is another new usability feature. This is an automatic feature that will "reflow a PDF document" so that it is displayed in a single column matching the width of the document pane so that it can be read without having to scroll horizontally.

Foxit Software improved several features of Foxit Reader in the new version as well. The program's advanced search functionality may highlight all search results in a PDF file for instance, and users may not search for instances that match any of the keywords.

Other improvements include form enhancements, for instance data import from CSV files and the retaining of font properties when copying/pasting text from Microsoft Word, and improvements to the commenting system.

Tip: You can download or view the user manual on this page.

Closing Words

Foxit Reader 9.0 is a powerful PDF reader that opens rather quickly despite its large size. The application is more than just a reader application though, as it supports additional features such as signing or protecting PDFs.

If you just need a lightweight PDF reader, try SumatraPDF instead.

Now You: Which PDF Reader do you use?

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Author Rating
5 based on 4 votes
Software Name
Foxit Reader 9.0
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  1. Clairvaux said on November 5, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    I installed Foxit Reader 9.0.exe to have a peek, and uninstalled it almost right away.

    The only good thing I managed to catch about it during this brief period of time is the collapsible ribbon. You can now elect to have only the top tabs showing (Home, Comment, View…), and only when you click in one of them will the whole ribbon scroll down. However, you’re then back into that visual mess that the ribbon is. There’s no way to switch to traditional menus (unless I missed it).

    On the negative side :

    – Still not completely high DPI-aware. On my setup, the display is correct, except that the font, instead of being the tight one displayed here, is a biggish and unwieldy one, maybe Verdana. Typically a conversion made by some not really high DPI-aware programs. Ugly.

    – S-s-slow operation. You need to p-p-push hard into the documents tabs in order to switch from one to the next. This is instant in PDF X-Change Editor.

    – Irritating File panel which is mostly a distraction. And why are Preferences hidden into that ?

    – A depressing combination of bloat and product placement, meaning unnecessary features which either you need to pay for, or you need to open an account for, surrendering your data to Foxit servers.

    There were so many features of the corporate, teamwork, sharing, in-the-cloud variety, that I had trouble finding, among all that noise, the commands I really need and use in a pdf reader. And that was in the “home user”, free version…

    Finally, there was no way to undo the context-menu item, added by Foxit, that I had selected at the time of install. I had hoped that this could be reversed in the Preferences menu, but apparently this is not the case. So I tried to repair-install, supposing there would be a way to run the installer again just to change that setting. And indeed, right-clicking into Foxit in the uninstall panel of Windows, you get an Uninstall / Change popup. Alas, confirming this choice only leads to an uninterruptible uninstall, with no possible change in sight.

    And so I left it at that. Of course, Foxit’s uninstaller does a messy job, and lefts plenty of junk behind. I had to use Revo’s forced uninstall command to clean up after it. Which is not enough. I still have a ghost Foxit Reader 7.0 entry in my C-Cleaner, dating back centuries.

  2. chesscanoe said on November 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Clairvaux, I agree with you, especially re a mature product like Foxit. I have left Adobe Acrobat Reader DC as my default reader as I learn and use Foxit, which so far has me tending to change to Foxit as my default. Time will tell.

  3. PeeDeeEff said on November 5, 2017 at 12:40 am

    The last good version of Foxit was, when starting up it takes a bit more than 5 MB of space.
    3.3 is the version where they also introduced security features such as turning of scripts embedded in PDF documents, just download it, put it behind firewall and HIPS control (as with any software) and you are fine, and the best part is, it is very fast and has all the necessary features needed, only thing missing is the ability to mouse-scroll the tabs in similar way as with internet browsers.
    I tried PDF X-change but they have gone the same route, also some year ago something “weird” happened to it, I won’t touch it.

    1. Clairvaux said on November 5, 2017 at 11:53 am


      Would you care to share what is that weird thing that happenened to PDF X-Change ?

      Now you have piqued my curiosity, and I’m going to try Foxit again. It seems they now allow to collapse the ribbon. Their site is certainly impressive, and far ahead of Tracker Software’s (PDF X-Change).

      From the user manual :

      “Foxit offers two packages of Foxit Reader (EXE and MSI).

      Foxit Reader (EXE) is a free PDF document viewer and creator.

      Foxit Reader (MSI) is developed on the basis of Foxit Reader (EXE), but it extends the usability and performance. Foxit Reader (MSI) provides advanced tools equipped with proactive security features, and is fully featured with solutions such as RMS Protection, GPO Control, XML Control, and other PDF viewing needs of enterprises and governments.”

      1. Clairvaux said on November 5, 2017 at 3:28 pm

        [Meta-comment : now I’m going to have some fun by replying to George’s supposed reply to myself, which hasn’t yet been published, but has been sent by mail to followers of this thread…]

        [Meta-meta-comment : OK, the blog system beat me to it, and published George’s comment in the meantime… not fair.]

        So, George : you didn’t get my point. Of course it’s not the same people who develop the program and who develop the site. However, it’s the same people who manage both categories of developers, and that’s what matters…

        What we can see through the site is that Foxit has brought the lowly “pdf file reader” to a whole new level. It’s almost not the same category of software anymore. It’s not a utility, it’s an enterprise-wide solution which caters to business processes, and not just to an individual user trying to open a file and maybe edit it a bit here and there.

        So yes, it’s definitely important to realise that, even for people such as me, who use a pdf reader the old-fashioned way, as an isolated utility.

        The other reason a publisher’s site is important is that it’s a major reason to chose a program over another. The (possible) help, the knowledge base, the power users giving assistance on a forum are all on the website. Also, the information about new versions, whether the product is actively maintained or not, how clearly the different products are explained… of course, all this needs to be taken into account when deciding to commit to a program. Even if it’s free.

      2. George said on November 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm

        “Their site is certainly impressive, and far ahead of Tracker Software’s (PDF X-Change).”

        I highly doubt it’s the same people that make both software and respective websites… not really an argument, unless of course a website is extremely unprofessional and/or insecure, which is not the case here. Actually, in many cases a shiny website tries to make up for poor performance in other areas.

  4. George said on November 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    PDF X-Change Editor, you can’t beat the speed AND features of the free version. No bloat (Adobe/Foxit), and also offers both 32/64-bit browser plugins for those that want them in Pale Moon for example.

    1. STech said on November 3, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Yes. It’s the best and with the most useful tools.

      1. Clairvaux said on November 3, 2017 at 4:27 pm

        It does have a few drawbacks, though. The formatting for comments is a joke, for instance. From what I remember, it was much easier in Foxit, back when I was using it (and it produced more beautiful results).

  5. Boerseun said on November 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I use Nitro PDF reader.

  6. Lookmann said on November 2, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Sumatra [ supports epub, mobi too] and portable PDF – Exchange viewer are enough for me.

  7. Clairvaux said on November 2, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I was a Foxit lover for a long time, then they threw a spanner in the works by introducing a sneaky way to make you upload your pdfs on their cloud, without you realising it (that raised an uproar ; I don’t know if they sticked with this daft idea) ; also, they got Microsofty and forced the dreaded Ribbon upon the exploited hordes. I see the latter is still there.

    The Ribbon is mostly an abomination (it puts prettiness before usability, because yes, the damn thing is cute), but it’s all the more so in a blasted pdf reader, where the document is paramount, for God’s sake. You never have enough vertical space on a computer nowadays, because monitors are designed to accomodate manufacturers, not users. This is already bad enough, but if you shave off even more usable height with a Ribbon, you should be hanged upside down.

    So I switched to PDF X-Change Editor (free version), which has it quirks, but at least it is designed by half-decent people who think about the user’s needs first, not about whatever the last trends in software marketing might be.

    Also, I recommend PDF X-Change Lite, by the same publisher, Tracker Software. It’s extremely badly named since it’s not a light pdf reader at all, it’s just a tiny utility which will make a pdf file out of any document displayed by any software : just print it to a virtual pdf printer. You use the print function of your software, only selecting the virtual “printer” automatically inserted there by PDF X-Change Lite. Simple as pie, and free.

    1. Schwocher said on November 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      Same here. I did not update Foxit for a long time because it became bloated and less customizable.
      Had a hard time searching for alternatives. Still don’t have an optimal pdf-viewer, but nowadays I recommend PDF X-Change Editor for the advanced user and Sumatra for the average one.
      Although Sumatra could need a little more UI or at least easier menus for fitting height, rotating and stuff like that.

  8. Mick said on November 1, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Sumatra for me.

  9. RAC said on November 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Last I checked Sumatra didnt support fillable PDF forms. So I use Nitro PDF reader.

    1. said on November 3, 2017 at 4:31 am

      Isn’t Nitro, trialware? You then have to pay $159.99 for a license?

    2. intelligencia said on November 2, 2017 at 2:01 am

      Nitro PDF Reader . . . nice

      Nitro PDF PRO . . . The BEST


  10. John Wick said on November 1, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Sumatra is great, but it is slow with some pdf files (scrolling pages is tedious as you constantly have to “wait for rendering”), thus I have to keep Foxit as “plan B” only because of this.

  11. toni said on November 1, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    When it’s size was about 10 mb, yeah, it was true lightweight version. Now, with 90 mb…no thanks. I prefer sumatra. It would be nice if they make lite version of foxit, just viewer and that’s it.

  12. Seban said on November 1, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I prefer PDF-Xchange Editor. Best combo of features I need and usability.

    1. Reggie said on November 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm

      Ditto. I’ve been using it (and its predecessor PDF-Xchange Viewer) for a number of years now. I’ve tried Adobe, Sumatra and Foxit as well for the sake of comparison, but I always return to Xchange Editor. It has a great array of tools and loads of features.

      1. Emil said on November 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        +1 for that

  13. K@ said on November 1, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I don’t like bloat, myself. So, I avoid Bloatdobe and I gave Foxit the flick, too.

    The portable Sumatra does the job and is a fraction of the size.

    I abhor PDF files, personally.

  14. MOYcano said on November 1, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    I love the Area Highlight feature in Foxit Reader (I need to highlight a lot and normal highlighting is not always as useful for me). Also, it seems to be much faster when opening large files in comparison to Adobe Reader. Together with SumatraPDF, these two are my winning combo.

    1. Klaas Vaak said on November 2, 2017 at 5:46 am

      Why use a combo? What does Sumatra offer that Foxit does not?

      1. Klaas Vaak said on November 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm

        Agree with annotations, which I use very frequently.
        As for locking files: what do you mean by that?

      2. MOYcano said on November 2, 2017 at 9:02 pm

        It is faster and it doesn’t lock the files (a must when you are generating the pdf from another program (latex, word, etc.). Basically I use SumatraPDF as default reader, and Foxit Reader if a need to make annotations.

  15. Mike J. said on November 1, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I went from Adobe to Foxit to Sumatra. In general, what the browsers do is enough for my occasional PDF needs.

    1. said on November 3, 2017 at 4:24 am

      Same here. Sumatra is very lightweight and not bloated at all.

  16. chesscanoe said on November 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    I have been happy with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (free with limited features). However it stays loaded after closing, thus wasting resources unless you manually force to be closed, or use an AVG product to do so until actually needed again (my preference).

    I will try the new Foxit Reader; I am always open to a better choice.

    1. chesscanoe said on December 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      My imagination and knowledge are limited, but Foxit Reader meets all of my requirements – I am impressed.

  17. jupe said on November 1, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I used to like Foxit and recommend it, when the installer was only 3mb, nowadays I can get by just using the viewer built into the browser, when I did last install version I think 7 or 8 for my parents I remember having problems trying to stop some updater or something online task that runs along with Foxit, it was a bit of a pain.

  18. anonymous said on November 1, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    All these great features, but they still do not support updates through proxy. no use having all these features if they cannot reach everyone (especially users in corporate environment behind a proxy server)

    1. Claire said on November 1, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Use the portable version with no install required.

    2. TelV said on November 1, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      I think it depends on where you were located when you originally installed the program. If you subsequently try to update from another country then yes, it seems to fail.

      In my particular case I tried to update it with Belgium as my current location (I’m using a VPN) but had installed it originally where I actually reside which is the Netherlands. Once I switched my VPN location to the Netherlands as well, it updated without a problem.

      As for the Reader itself, I don’t use it that much, but it has a handy typewriter tool to enable users to complete PDF forms which is something you have to pay for using Adobe Reader.

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