Viewing PDFs in Windows 8

Portable Document Format (PDF) is arguably one of the most popular formats to represent documents, independent of software, hardware and OS.

Each PDF document is self-contained; it contains the complete description of how to display itself, font, graphic, text, etc. Its ability to display itself in a consistent format, regardless of the hardware or OS, is what makes it highly usable.

Up until now, you required a separate PDF reader software like PDF-XChange Viewer, Foxit Reader, Sumatra PDF, Adobe Reader, etc., to view PDF files.

Windows 8 changes this; it comes with built-in PDF reader software, named Windows Reader.

Windows Reader is wrapped in the new, much-talked about Modern UI. Following the Modern UI principles, it does only what is supposed to – display PDF files.

Reader’s minimalist UI doesn’t get in your way when reading a PDF.

Windows Reader, being a bundled app in Windows 8, becomes the default PDF viewer. Hence, you can simply double-click on a PDF file to launch the Reader.

Alternatively, you can launch the app from the Start Screen, or using the Search Charm on Start Screen.

The main screen of the app shows nothing, but only the PDF file. The background is kept black in order to emphasize the PDF content. Even the context menu is not displayed until it is summoned.

To summon the context menu, right-click anywhere on the screen. In case of touch screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. The so-produced context menu provides several options.

View Styles

You can view your PDF in three styles.

  • Continuous – The default style. The PDF is displayed as a continuous stream of content, regardless of any page breaks.
  • One Page – This style fits a single page on the screen. Hence, scrolling will change one page at a time. Fitting an entire page on the screen may require zooming in to view the content.

  • Two Page – This style fits two pages side by side at a time.

Rotate PDF

You can rotate the PDF in any direction. This may be helpful if the file contains an inverted image or something like that. To rotate the open PDF, click on “More”, and then “Rotate”.

PDF File Details

You can check the file’s details like size, creation date, total pages, and permissions (like print, copy, add notes and highlight, etc.) given to the file.
Click on “More”, followed by “Info” to get the file details.

Search through PDF

Windows Reader provides search functionality to locate desired text in a PDF file. Click on “Find” in the context menu. This will replace the context menu buttons with the buttons related to search function.

You can navigate back and forth through the search results. The real advantage, however, is the results pane, which lists all the search results. You can simply click on the desired result in order to directly reach to the result in the file.

Share PDF

The app implements the Share Charm so that you can share a PDF file directly from the app. For example, I choose Mail app from the apps listed by Share Charm, to share the currently opened PDF file.

The file is shared as an attachment to the mail.

Send PDF to other Devices

Windows Reader also implements Devices Charm so that you can directly print the PDF from the app, or to display it on a secondary display (say, a projector).

 

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