Nitro PDF Reader Is The Only PDF Software You'll Need

Everyone needs to access PDF files now and again, but Adobe's Reader software is hideous to install and update and a major security risk. There are lots of free alternatives for reading PDFs, but the newly-released (and equally free) Nitro PDF Reader gives them a serious run for their money, letting you read, edit, create and save PDFs, without annoying crippleware features or intrusive adware.

I've been working with Nitro PDF Reader in beta ahead of its official release this week, and I have to say I'm very impressed. It's a lightweight install (22MB), with an unintrusive update mechanism. The software uses a Ribbon-style interface, which I've often railed against in its Office incarnation but which actually works pretty well here (and includes plenty of keyboard shortcuts). Like most of its rivals, it's easy to open, read and annotate PDF files, and considerably quicker at rendering than Adobe Reader. The select and copy tools can handle both text and graphics without requiring you to awkwardly toggle between different options.

The real standout benefit (and the real distinction from most other PDF readers) is that you can readily save your changes. There's nothing more annoying than filling out a PDF form and then discovering the only output option is to print it. Even on PDF files without explicit entry fields, you can enter text in any available space and save the results. There's also a handy automatic signing tool that lets you store a scan of your signature (password-protected it if you like), apply it to any document and resize it as needed.

PDF manipulation features include the ability to automatically create PDFs from a wide range of file formats, and export all the text or images from an existing PDF file. A built-in printer driver also lets you create PDF files from any other Windows application.

The only potential criticism is that there's no in-browser viewing plug-in, but that's no major loss: the software launches quickly, and not having a browser interface makes actually working with your PDF easier, as well as minimising the odds that Firefox will have a major meltdown. It's certainly worked out much better for me than Foxit, which has often been the recommended Reader alternative around these parts.

Nitro PDF Reader is a free download for Windows only. There's a Pro version available for $US99 that adds full-blown form creation, but the free version will more than likely cover anything you need.

Nitro Reader


    Thanks Gus! Appreciate the kind words -- we're stoked to see the reaction Reader is getting, and from fellow Aussies? Even better!

    We're big LH fans (and readers!)

    Any questions, comments, or Adobe Reader horror stories? Let us know! team[at]

    Thanks again.
    Nick Chandler
    Nitro PDF Software

      I've Been using foxit for a few years, but the inability to fill forms ,the annoying update system, and the fact that every time I load a PDF from firefox it makes my browser semi crash. makes me want to try this.

      I just hope the ribbon toolbar as not as annoying as the office one.

        Hi Mario. Have you had a chance to try it yet?

        Hopefully you'll like the ribbon. I think our guys did a great job with the implementation, works really well with NR's feature-set and not so confusing as some of the Office 07 apps, where it sometimes feels like there's a bit too much in there.

      You're an Aussie company and your iPad giveaway comp is only for US residents? Poor showing.

        To be fair, the regulatory issues involved in global competitions are pretty fiddly. Maybe Nick and the team should sort an Australia-only competition via, say, a well-known technology and productivity site :-)

        Hi Mike,

        Unfortunately, we couldn't run the competition in multiple countries (California sweepstake laws are as Angus says, ridiculously stringent!) but we're putting something together for our homeland. May even be Lifehacker based ;-)

        Stay tuned!

    Re Nitro PDF Reader - website says for Windows XP 32 bit only. Sounds interesting though.

      If you hit the download link, there is also a 64-bit version.

    When will this be out of beta?

      Full release will be later this year -- with some fairly exciting additions...!

    Repeated attempts to get the free download have failed, just does not work!!

    I downloaded, and it works like charm. In fact it installs plugins in your browsers (IE, firefox only) in order to print/convert the webpage into pdf. The graphics are great and it looks really good. Highly recommended. Thanks.

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