Product Reviews

Review: Download review: Sumatra PDF review

Sumatra PDF is optimized for speed and ease of use. There are no fancy extras – just the essentials for viewing PDFs and ebooks, navigating, searching and organizing them.

Download Sumatra PDF freeAs an added bonus, the app is also available in a portable edition so you can stick it on a USB drive and take it with you to use on other computers.

User experience

Sumatra PDF is just about as simple to use as you could hope a program to be. Once you have loaded a PDF (or one of the other supported files), the minimalist tool bar provides easy access to the most common things you might want to do – zooming in and out, skipping back and forth between pages, searching, and printing.

In the majority of cases, all you’ll want to do with PDFs is view them, so you may never have to venture further into the program. However, if you peek into the menus you’ll find that there are more viewing settings than you first thought, as well as the option to send files via email without leaving the program and add an attachment to a message manually.

Another nice touch is the screen that appears if you launch Sumatra PDF on its own rather than using it to open a PDF directly, which presents you with a list of the files you have opened most frequently. This is a handy feature if you tend to use certain documents for reference – which could be the case if you’re looking at recipes books or manuals.

Sumatra PDF frequently read files
Unlike many lightweight PDF readers, Sumatra PDF is full of thoughtful little touches like the list of frequently read documents, which can serve as a handy virtual bookshelf

We liked

PDF readers have, over the years, managed to earn themselves something of a reputation for being slow, lumbering beasts – thanks largely to Adobe Reader. Sumatra PDF bucks the trend. It is small, svelte, lightweight and lightning fast.

Sure, the program is a little light of features, but that’s because the focus is on quick and easy viewing of PDFs, plus ebooks in EPUB and MOBI format, and XPS, DjVu, CHM, CBZ and CBR reader files.

Sumatra PDF options
Sumatra PDF offers different viewing options designed for different document types, including a setting for viewing pages side-by-side – a good choice for magazines

We disliked

One thing that’s a little strange about Sumatra PDF is the apparent paucity of settings available for adjusting how the program looks and behaves.

The main Options link in the Settings menu reveals a few things you can change, but more can be found under Advanced Options. The only problem is that this is an HTML file that you need to edit. While this isn’t a major problem, it’s a strange approach to things that could have been better implemented.

Sumatra PDF basic settings
It’s easy to tweak Sumatra PDF’s basic settings, but to access more advanced options (like customizing the program’s interface) you’ll need to edit a text file manually

Final verdict

Download Sumatra PDF freeIf you’re looking for a quick, simple PDF and ebook reader and organizer, SumatraPDF is perfect. It really is no-frills, but it has all of the essentials covered.

Specifications

Developer: Krzysztof Kowalczyk

Licence: Freeware

System requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Processor: Not specified
  • RAM: Not specified
  • Disk space: 4.34MB

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Ola Thomas

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