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Feb 19 2010

Review: Nuance’s FREE PDF Reader

r3latl4v thumb Review: Nuance’s FREE PDF ReaderFrom my standpoint, Nuance would be the last company I would see that would be offering a free product to the public, even more so a FREE PDF reader, but they have; they’ve come out with their own PDF viewer for FREE.

The installation file is 18mb. It’s a MSI file, just double-click the file to run it. The PDF reader from Adobe is much larger than this; Adobe Reader is complete BLOAT-ware.

Nuance has shown up to put Adobe in it’s place and beat Adobe at their own game. It’s nice to know someone else is doing it besides Steve Jobs.

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Running the installation…pretty standard. The installation file can be download from here.

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I like this option here; it’s a stop and look, with a what do you want to do. I’m a cautious person and I chose not to use JavaScript in my PDFs; I just don’t have the need and don’t like the idea of the threat.

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Product Registration…

I didn’t like this last portion at all.

With the FREE version of their software, Nuance wants you to go to their website and register the software. The license key is provided, but there’s no option to decline registration; you’ve to register. This is a complete turn-off for users and free software.

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I just think having to register for free software is wrong. And in this case it’s time consuming.

 

Using the base program…

Opening a PDF that’s 99 pages takes a few seconds to open with the viewer.

The charcoal colored interface is kind of a different GUI color in comparison to other programs; but this is different, not bad.

But where this PDF viewer REALLY shines is the PDF FORM FILLER.

Below I’ve screenshots of the program with a W-9 IRS form [standard] and then next to it I’ve the same form with the fields highlighted using the programs ‘highlight form fields’.

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Notice how the forms are different and the fields are already highlighted; even the check boxes. Incredible.

This is awesome work. Nuance used their years for experience in handling documents and refined a process to find form fields in documents to enable the users to edit the fields right there… awesome work. This is going to make many people very happy and has just set the bar a little higher for other form filling PDF viewers.

Side note:
My favorite PDF Viewer is PDF xChange Viewer [freeware], and despite Nuance claims that no one else has this form filler feature…

Fill and save PDF forms hassle-free – No other free PDF file viewer enables you to fill and save PDF forms without support from a premium product. Nuance PDF Reader is perfect for all kinds of applications and forms, including childcare reimbursement forms, quarterly tax forms, expense reports, and more.

PDF xChange Viewer has a form filler in it, but doesn’t have the auto-detection of the fields. So, I’m going to have to keep Nuance loaded now for my PDF forms, when they come my way…

 

Update 02/23/2010

Nuance updated their website to correct the wording…

Fill and save PDF formsMost other PDF viewers do not enable you to fill and save PDF forms without support from a premium product. Nuance PDF Reader is perfect for all kinds of applications and forms, including childcare reimbursement forms, quarterly tax forms, expense reports, purchase orders, surveys and more. 

 

 

Browser Integration…

Nuances PDF Viewer meshed right in with Firefox and being able to display the PDF right in the browser tab. I had an error [Zeon plug-in failed] initially, but after I rebooted my system, the plug-in worked fine.

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But the advertisement of this PDF Viewer was that you would be able to fill out forms and type in information; you can’t do this in the browser.

I’ve to assume this is by design, but I think this is a mistake because from the example I show here, I can’t fill in the form right here; I’ve to save it, go to the file, open it and then I’ll have edit/form options.

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There should be a button for form filling from right here…

 

Microsoft Outlook integration…

I can’t answer this one; I don’t have Microsoft Outlook, but I’d love to hear back from anyone that has it working in Outlook.

 

Exporting/Converting PDF’s…

I don’t know how a lot of people are going to feel about this…

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The export/converting process is done remotely. The information is sent to Nuance for processing. You upload the file, you choose what to convert it to and they email the file to you…

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Where privacy is such a sensitive issue with users, I don’t know how someone would feel about filling out a PDF with personal data on it, uploading it to a website to be converted/recorded/stored or whatever and then having it sent back over the web via an email- Especially with the use of the OCR functions…

Conspiracy theorists will go wild over this…

But I think Nuance is realizing that they can do a  hellofva job with their servers there and YOU here; leave the processing to them and keep the clients thin.

For the first venture for Nuance in to the freeware arena, I think this was a very nice gesture on their part; they didn’t have to do it, but they did and it’s a very good offering to the public.

Again, download the FREE PDF Viewer from Nuance; here’s the link.

Enjoy.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…

 

Thanks,
L. Henry Jr.
http://www.lehsys.com

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  • MA Naylor

    Before I download and install this Nuance reader, one question: Will it allow you to open any pdf document from within the Internet Explorer browser? – or do you have to do that silly file download and save thing, and THEN open the file from your hard drive? The only reader program that I have found which will consistently open and view PDFs from the IE browser is Adobe reader 8 or 9. (I saw that you do have to download-save-open when you want to fill forms – OK, fine – but what about simply opening a pdf doc from IE>)

    • http://www.lehsys.com Lehenryjr

      Well it seemed to work fine with Firefox; I don't use Internet Explorer, but Firefox was always the one with the 'opening in browser' issue. I’d have to assume yes.

      I don't think this helps much, but thanks for dropping by.

      I appreciate it…

      ————-
      Later,
      LEHenryJr.

      • MA Naylor

        Thanks LEH … One would assume so too, but I found that Firefox has recently been much more forgiving than IE on this pdf-browser issue. You know how it is …. you download something, find that it doesn't do what you need, try to uninstall, and there is always junk left behind that somehow messes up something else. My system restore point for some reason isn't working even though I cleared its cache, so I just hate to risk it by loading Nuance before I know if it can work with IE here.

        Sure would be nice if this new Nuance put this issue to rest, though. We (and a lot of other online governmental and educational sites) are actually losing customers who can't open our pdf links …. and I'd like to be able to recommend something simpler to them than Adobe Reader and all its bulk. Thanks again – MN

  • Russell Bateman

    I just now opened a PDF from Microsoft Outlook with no trouble whatsoever.

    • http://www.lehsys.com Lehenryjr

      Hey thanks – that's good. I don't have Outlook to test with… it's great to get feedback like yours!

      Thanks so much…

      ————-
      Later,
      LEHenryJr.

  • Hip Hop Harry

    Have to be honest – still prefer PDF-XChange Viewer !

    • http://www.LEHSYS.com lehenryjr

      It's funny you should say that about PDF-XChange Viewer. When Nuance released it's PDF view they said that no other FREE viewer had the functions that theirs did. And specifically, the PDF-XChange Viewer was the one that had all the functions Nuance was talking about. Now Nuance's release/offering for a PDF viewer is really good– I have to acknowledge that; it is… but if you are looking for speed and portability in a PDF viewer.. PDF-XChange Viewer is a great option. I copy lives on my jumpdrive.

      Thanks for your comments!
      -Larry

  • Christopher R. Mack

    Great piece of software! Thanks. I stumbled yesterday on a nice site offering only FREEWARE PDF software (pdf editor, pdf reader, converter, etcc)
    http://www.pdfreader.info/

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