In search of an Adobe Reader alternative on Mac

I’m looking for an alternative to Adobe Reader on OS X after discovering its “Find” function can’t find jack.

As I’m still running Tiger (OS X 10.4) I find Preview to be a tad lacking in usability – if only the ‘Maximize’ button maximized height and width, I’d be happy. But no, it’s a typical Mac-spastic application – maximize makes the application full-height, but doesn’t change the width. If you’re viewing a PDF using “Fit to Width”, this means the text-size stays exactly the same… which is never what I want.

If only Foxit Reader worked on Mac, I’d be using that (it’s a damn nippy and reliable piece of software on Windows.) But sadly it doesn’t – I even downloaded the Linux version, you know, just in case it worked on OS X (being a *nix ‘n all.)

So, I’m currently taking a look at PDF-XChange Viewer which comes in a couple of different versions. They provide a wee comparison chart to help you choose which version of their PDF viewer to download – but guess what format the chart’s provided in. You guessed it: PDF.

That doesn’t give me much confidence…

Updated 7th July 2008

It didn’t take long to realise PDF-XChange doesn’t even work on OS X. I’d been working my way down the “multi-platform” list of PDF viewers at wikipedia assuming “multi-platform” meant Windows and OS X – but it seems someone thinks PDF-XChange is multi-platform simply because it runs on more than one version of Windows.

Finally, I installed Skim from sourceforge. This open-source PDF reader works pretty well. Searching within documents is user-friendly – (by default) a pane on the left shows extracts matching the search term; click-to-navigate brings the document to the right page and highlights the search-term with both background-colour changes and by ringing the terms in red, making them easy to spot.

Posted Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 under Mac.

Comments are closed.