PDF Reader Sumatra 3.4: new command palette and support for translations

Martin Brinkmann
May 26, 2022
Updated • May 26, 2022
Windows software
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27

The developer of the lightweight PDF reader Sumatra released Sumatra 3.4 to the public. The new release is the first of 2022, and it adds several new features and improvements to the application.

sumatra-pdf-reader-3.4

Note: shortly after releasing Sumatra 3.4, Sumatra 3.4.1 was released, which includes a single fix.

Sumatra 3.4.1 is available as a portable version and an installer for Microsoft Windows. Downloads are provided on the developer website as usual.

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Sumatra is a lightweight open source PDF reader for Windows. It is a popular choice when it comes to reading PDF documents on Windows.

Sumatra 3.4

sumatra translate

Sumatra 3.4 adds a number of new features and improvements to the PDF reader. Users find the new text translate feature under Menu > Selection. The initial version supports Google Translate and DeepL, but it is possible to add custom translation services to the application.

All it takes is to select text, and then one of the available translate options. Sumatra opens the translated text on the service's website.

Users may add custom translate options under Settings > Advanced Settings; this opens the configuration file in a text editor. The SelectionHandlers section accepts new services, but it requires a bit of detective work to configure these services properly.

While you need to add two parameters only for each service, URL and Name, it is necessary to manipulate the URL to make sure that it includes the selection variable.

Here is how this would look like for DuckDuckGo:

SelectionHandlers [
[
URL = https://duckduckgo.com/?ia=web&q=${selection}
Name = &DuckDuckGo
]
]

Basically, what you need to do is copy the target URL of the service and replace the query with the ${selection} parameter.

Sumatra 3.4 introduces support for custom keyboard shortcuts and for the remapping of existing keyboard shortcuts; this is done using the configuration file as well under Settings > Advanced Settings.

The Shortcuts section of the file handles custom keyboard shortcuts. For each, Cmd and Key variables need to be set. The Cmd parameter accepts any of the supported commands, e.g., CmdBookView, which you find listed here on this page.

The key variable accepts single keys and key combinations, e.g., Alt-I or q.

Command Palette

sumatra command palette

The new Command Palette unlocks all functions of the PDF reader when it is opened. It may be used to open recently opened PDF documents quickly, to switch between tabs, and to invoke any of the available commands that Sumatra supports.

Open the Command Palette via Menu > View > Command Palette, or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-K. You may browse the available selection of commands or type to filter available commands and options.

Users who prefer the keyboard can use the Command Palette using the keyboard only.

Other changes in Sumatra 3.4

Here is a list of other changes in the new Sumatra version:

  • Epub documents support text selections and searching now.
  • Installer supports the -all-users command line argument to install Sumatra system-wide.
  • Keyboard shortcut i inverts document colors, while Shift-I shows the page numbers.
  • Pressing Delete or Backspace removes annoations under the mouse cursor.
  • SVG files are supported.
  • Support for opening .heic files, if the heic codec is installed.
  • Scrolling is faster if the mouse cursor is over the scrollbar.
  • Experimental support for smooth scrolling added (enable in Advanced Settings).

Closing Words

Sumatra is a well designed PDF reader for Windows. While it can only be used to view documents, it does a stellar job at that. Our first review of Sumatra dates back to 2008.

Now You: which PDF reader do you use?

Summary
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Author Rating
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5 based on 4 votes
Software Name
Sumatra PDF Reader
Operating System
Windows
Software Category
Office
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on May 26, 2022 at 8:55 am
    Reply

    “While it can only be used to view PDF documents, it does a stellar job at that.”

    This is inaccurate. Sumatra PDF supports various formats. Quote from the official website: “PDF, eBook (epub, mobi), comic book (cbz/cbr), DjVu, XPS, CHM, image viewer for Windows. Small, fast, customizable, free.” I’ve successfully opened and read various books in the epub-Format with Sumatra PDF.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 26, 2022 at 11:06 am
      Reply

      You are right, of course. I removed the PDF-bit from the sentence to make it clear.

  2. Gavin B said on May 26, 2022 at 8:57 am
    Reply

    Hi Martin thanks! – but your Closing Words needs updating
    > While it can only be used to view PDF documents
    since Sumatra does epubs too.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 26, 2022 at 11:06 am
      Reply

      Edited, thank you!

  3. Paul(us) said on May 26, 2022 at 9:18 am
    Reply

    To bad that Sumatra still can’t support multiple operating systems.
    I always like a reader with has several platforms compatibility.
    This is especially handy because I do not have to learn all the different command’s from all the different programs.

    Programs that are compatible on multiple platforms are:
    XpdfReader https://www.ghacks.net/2020/04/17/xpdfreader-is-an-open-source-pdf-reader-for-windows-and-linux/

    PDF Studio Viewer https://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudioviewer/download/

    And there are more PDF readers that are compatible with different operating systems.

  4. Tom Hawack said on May 26, 2022 at 9:29 am
    Reply

    I had just noticed and downloaded the updated Sumatra (3.4.1 indeed) prior to my morning visit to Ghacks.
    Thanks for the article Martin, especially that I couldn’t find the application’s history log on its site.

    I’ve always used the Sumatra PDF Viewer. The only feature I’ve always missed as well is that of the typewriter, otherwise a great application.

    1. Anonymous said on May 26, 2022 at 10:14 pm
      Reply
      1. Tom Hawack said on May 27, 2022 at 8:46 am
        Reply

        Thanks! As often I didn’t search enough. History in Documentation / View History and i always expect the link to be on the homepage… :=)

  5. Drey said on May 26, 2022 at 1:39 pm
    Reply

    Too bad it’s not on Linux

    1. Anonymous said on May 27, 2022 at 11:31 am
      Reply

      It works well on Linux with Wine.

  6. Shiva said on May 26, 2022 at 2:41 pm
    Reply

    Great improvements.

  7. Marv said on May 26, 2022 at 4:12 pm
    Reply

    My favourite reader, I have the old Adobe Reader installed too as a fallback, but Sumatra is comfier to use on a daily basis.

  8. TREE said on May 26, 2022 at 4:24 pm
    Reply

    I don’t want any new features. Like Adobe reader, is Sumatra turning into BLOATWARE?

  9. Sebas said on May 26, 2022 at 4:34 pm
    Reply

    Great improvements, especially the option to translate selections with Deepl and copy to clipboard. This is outstanding software, from the Windows XP era (well thats how I call it). Just as another hidden gem from the dawn of internet: Karens Replicator.

    1. JSos said on May 27, 2022 at 2:17 pm
      Reply

      Nothing to do with PDFs, but yes! Karen’s Replicator! – still have not found any backup program as customizable as that, and it is still maintained and it still works perfectly on Windows 10.

  10. Alex said on May 26, 2022 at 7:52 pm
    Reply

    Is there a free (or cheap) Windows application that allows editing PDFs?

    1. Anil said on May 26, 2022 at 8:13 pm
      Reply

      Inkscape can edit PDF files, it is not convenient as a word processor while editing PDF documents but I regularly edit PDFs with it, without a problem. If the fonts used in the PDF doc cannot be found on the system, Inkscape falls back to some font family, all the problems I had run into with Inkscape editing PDFs were about fonts.

      1. Anil said on May 26, 2022 at 8:14 pm
        Reply

        Btw, Inkscape is free software, open source and a great vector editor.

    2. Shiva said on May 26, 2022 at 9:13 pm
      Reply

      ‘Icecream PDF Editor Creator’ is free until the release 1.23. The are also ‘Ashampoo PDF Free’ and ‘PDF-XChange Editor’ but didn’t try them. I guess they are all cheaper than Adobe.

      Since Adobe Acrobat XI has reached the end of support I have lost the will to edit .pdf files.

      1. Alex said on May 27, 2022 at 6:27 am
        Reply

        Ashampoo worked for me. Thanks!

    3. Anonymous said on May 27, 2022 at 2:32 am
      Reply

      Edge’s PDF Editor is really good, have you tried it?

  11. Anonymous said on May 26, 2022 at 8:29 pm
    Reply

    Great software! More developers need to go back to developing proper programs like this instead of bloated crappy electron apps.

  12. Steven Leach said on May 27, 2022 at 1:25 am
    Reply

    While I used to use Sumatra I now use Open Source Okular
    https://okular.kde.org/
    Okular supports many formats, including PDF, EPub, DjVU and MD for documents; JPEG, PNG, GIF, Tiff, WebP for images; CBR and CBZ for comics; and many, many more.

    1. CBT said on May 27, 2022 at 1:25 pm
      Reply

      Okular for the win! Plus it has some editing/annotation options as well. All for free, with no catch. Looks good on Windows 10/11 too.

  13. Coriy said on May 27, 2022 at 3:04 am
    Reply

    Martin, you overlooked a few changes. It no longer uses a separate set of UI settings for Ebooks, but uses the FixedPageUI settings for them, as well. Also, Windows 10 took back PDFs for Edge, until I manually reset it to SumatraPDF. That setting of default has also been deprecated.
    It’s still an excellent program, and I’d love to have it ported to Linux so I don’t have to use Wine or dual boot to keep it. Yes, Calibre is decent, but I like how fast SumatraPDF loads and displays documents. I’d also like to see it on Android, though muPDF is okay there (well, except for the bizarre handling of epubs).

  14. Rumpnisse said on May 27, 2022 at 3:33 am
    Reply

    I like that it shows pdf thumbnails, but that needs to be checked in the advanced options during install, for some reason..

  15. Tim said on May 27, 2022 at 6:29 am
    Reply

    Sumatra is really nice and I recommend it too but the pdf text font is not as crisp and clear as in Foxit or Pdf X-change editor. On Linux, which is now my OS, the issue is widespread as well. The abandoned Foxit for Linux and Master PDF are the only apps to render pdf font well. All the other software displays blurry/fuzzy/pale fonts, so basically with a lesser degree of clarity. Do you know any free linux app that does the job correctly?

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