Foxit Software launched Foxit Reader 4.0 earlier this month, the latest major iteration of the company's popular free PDF reader software. I have recommended the use of Foxit Reader in the past, which has a tiny footprint and is less prone to the myriad security problems reported in Adobe Reader or Acrobat. Personally, Foxit Reader has proven to be a reliable product for viewing and printing of PDF files. The Foxit Reader team also has a track record for responding rapidly to new security problems with patches.
Well, Foxit Reader 4.0 now comes with the ability to edit PDF documents and more importantly, to save the changes without the annoying watermarks inserted by the previous free edition of the software. Users can now make text annotations with the Typewriter tool or use the Commenting tools to place comments on the documents. To round things up, the availability of a Stamp tool means users can use it to drop stamps anywhere on the document, or tap into the drawing and mark-up tools to insert shapes and graphics on PDF documents.
George Gao, senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Foxit Corp., said in a prepared statement:
Foxit Reader 4.0 is a powerful platform, beyond a simple reader, that provides a more interactive and secure document creation experience. With today's upgrades, Foxit is confident that the PDF document needs of all PDF users are not only met, but exceeded.
Not everyone is happy with Foxit Reader 4.0 though. Seth Rosenblatt over at CNET Download.com thinks that the installation processes is too cluttered with irrelevant opt-in features that are selected by default. Rosenblatt also pointed out that Foxit Reader doesn't supply "print to" PDF capabilities.
Then again, the third-party toolbars or sponsored icons from the Foxit Reader installation process can be deselected or just deleted later. So the slight hassle, while real, is amply compensated for by the inherent value of the PDF reader application.
Ultimately, Foxit Reader 4.0 pushes the envelope to bring a number of features traditionally found only in commercial software to the masses - making it a worthwhile upgrade all by itself. I've in the past advocated distributing electronic PDF reports as a means to reduce paper consumption. The ability to add annotations and put stamps on reports using a free tool means that even the most cash-strapped SMBs can start to tailor their business processes to conform to a paperless work-flow.