Following the recent critical security advisory for Adobe Reader, questions have been raised in forums about an alternate PDF software program.
Although I provide security update information about Adobe Reader, I uninstalled it several years ago. I switched to the open source software program SumatraPDF.
SumatraPDF is a free PDF, eBook (ePub, Mobi), XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR) reader for Windows, created by Krzysztof Kowalczyk. The most recent update added support for FictionBook e-book format as well as support for PDF documents encrypted with Acrobat X.
I selected SumatraPDF because it has a small footprint, has no added toolbars and is not a target of malware writers. Although I indicated that SumatraPDF is not a target of malware writers like we have seen lately with Adobe Reader, that does not mean that the normal cautions should be thrown away.
A SumatraPDF feature I particularly like is that you can select text or an image and copy it. I have not had any problems opening PDF files at sites that specify "Adobe Reader Required". Someone mentioned that they heard there is a problem printing from SumatraPDF. My five year old printer has no problems printing from PDF files from Sumatra PDF.
How to Change the SumatraPDF Background ColorOne comment about SumatraPDF is that many people do not care for the bright yellow background. If you don't like the yellow background, it can be changed to the color of your choice.
The first thing you need to do is to select the color you want to use to replace the yellow. There is a simple chart to select a color on this color chart or this list of color codes. Another source for selecting colors is available here.
This can be done either via the shortcut or a Command Prompt, both illustrated below:
- Locate the SumatraPDF shortcut in Windows' Start menu.
- Right-click it and select Properties
- Select the Shortcut tab:
- Append the line line below the Target line, substituting the hex code for the color you choose following the # symbol. (Note the space before -bg and also before #)
The target line will read something like the following:
"C:\Program Files\SumatraPDF\SumatraPDF.exe" -bg-color #DDDDDD
or, on 64-bit systems,
"C:\Program Files (86)\SumatraPDF\SumatraPDF.exe" -bg-color #DDDDDD
- Click Apply and launch SumatraPDF to see the change from yellow to the color you select, in my case gray:
- Click Start, type cmd
- Right-click cmd.exe and select "Run as Administrator".
- Change the path to Sumatra and add the change as shown below.
Note the space between SumatraPDF and .exe
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
C:\Windows\system32>cd C:\Program Files (x86)\SumatraPDF
C:\Program Files (x86)\SumatraPDF>SumatraPDF .exe -bg-color #DDDDDD
C:\Program Files (x86)\SumatraPDF>
SumatraPDF does not support Windows 8, which has a built in PDF reader. The currently supported operating systems are Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
- Download Sumatra PDF -- Select the installer or the portable version
- Manual -- Includes Keyboard Shortcuts, Command Line
- Project Home