2014-04-18

Working efficiently with PDF on Windows

Mostly because of my problem of getting used to new multifocal glasses I made a few months ago for presbyopia, more and more books I (buy and) read have become electronic, mostly in PDF (but sometimes in ePub). So it has become far more crucial than before to work efficiently with PDF. The following is a list of my most favorite PDF tools on Windows, which other users of Windows might also find useful.

I buy most of my ebooks from eBooks.com and Kobo Books (I would never buy ebooks from Amazon as it uses a proprietary document format). The ebooks they (and many other ebookstores and publishers) sell are protected by Adobe DRM, which forces readers to use Adobe Digital Editions, which I find bloated and intrusive.

So the first thing I do every time I buy a new ebook protected by Adobe DRM is to circumvent it by using PDF ePub DRM Removal (commercial). A number of similar tools are available, including Ultimate DRM Removal (commercial), All DRM Removal (commercial), PDF DRM Removal (free), to name just a few.

This way I can use any PDF reader instead of being stuck in Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe Reader, which is probably the most widely used PDF reader (and annotator), is no less unbearable. My favorite is PDFlite (free), which is a minimalist and light-weight PDF reader. I have tried many Windows Modern UI applications, including Adobe Reader Touch, but I haven't found any that is less bad than Reader, which is preinstalled in Windows 8. I hope Bookviser, my favorite ePub reader, will support PDF soon as its developers are planning. I also wish Mantano, which used to be my favorite PDF and ePub reader when I still used Android, would also become available for Windows Modern UI.

When I annotate PDF documents, I use dedicated programs instead of those that can be both readers and annotators such as Adobe Reader. If money were not a problem, I would use PDF Annotator (commercial), but I'm satisfied so far with PDF-XChange Editor (free). For Windows Modern UI an amazing but inexpensive application is available: Drawboard PDF (commercial), which is a pleasure to use.

Other PDF tools I use all the time for making and manipulating PDF documents include PDFCreator (free) for converting printable documents to PDF, Print Pages to PDF (Firefox addon) for converting webpages to PDF, Page Cut (commercial) for breaking PDF document pages, often scanned ones, into smaller ones, and PDFtk Pro (commercial; a
free version is also available) as well as PDF Tools Pro (commercial; a free version is also available) for tweaking existing PDF documents.

PDF Hacks, a book written by the developer of the last tool mentioned above, lists many other tools for working efficiently with PDF not only on Windows (but the book needs to be updated).