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PDF Explained by John Whitington

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Chapter 10. PDF Software and Documentation

In this chapter we list and describe software for viewing, converting, editing, and programming with PDF files. We consider both open source software, and zero-cost commercial software where it is provided by Adobe or operating system manufacturers. There is a large variety of commercial software from third parties, which we do not discuss here.

We also list sources of further documentation and information.

PDF Viewers

The job of a PDF viewer is to:

  • Display the graphical and textual content of the document.

  • Allow the user to interact with the document using bookmarks and hyperlinks.

  • Enable searching of the textual content, and extraction of text via cut and paste.

Not every viewer has all of these features. Due to the huge complexity of the PDF format and the formats it encapsulates (for example, fonts and images), performance can vary significantly—especially on files using more modern PDF features.

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader is Adobe’s own, free PDF viewer and the only one guaranteed to support the various proprietary extensions Adobe has made to PDF (for example, the more modern kinds of forms and annotations). It comes with a PDF plug-in for common web browsers, and is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, and Android. It allows forms to be filled in and submitted electronically.

Adobe Reader can be found at Adobe’s website.

Preview

Many Mac OS X users prefer the fast, simple PDF viewer Preview, provided with the operating system. ...

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