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by Ray DeCosta

Q. I use Adobe Reader to read PDF documents on a website or ones people send me but it takes a long time to open the file. Is there any other program I can use?

A. You're quite right - Adobe Reader (usually called "Adobe") does take a long time to open a file for viewing. It's one of those programs that is considered to be "bloated" or having many features that most people will never use. In addition, there are numerous security concerns associated with Adobe.

Right now, Adobe is typically the default PDF viewing program that comes with new computers or is suggested when you go to a website which offers PDF documents. But you don't have to use Adobe if you don't want to. You might consider using one of the numerous substitute programs which developed after Adobe made the PDF format an open standard about two years ago. Many people use the free Foxit Reader instead. It is a small download, quick to display the PDF file and has been stripped of all those "features" which clog Adobe. The current free version is 4.2 and is available here.

You do not have to uninstall Adobe from your computer - it's perfectly OK to use both programs as you see fit. So give Foxit a try and see if it meets your needs. If it doesn't, there are more free readers available and reviews of them can be found here.

Published: Courier 11/14/10 - Page 5C