Earlier, Windows never shipped with a built-in PDF viewer. It shipped an XPS Viewer in Windows 7. But starting with Windows 8, Microsoft has decided to include a PDF reader called as Windows Reader. Windows Reader is Microsoft’s first and very own built-in PDF viewer for Windows. It will support XPS documents too and is available for download as a Metro-style app for Windows 8.
How to open Windows Reader
- Go to Metro UI and type Windows Reader.
- Click on the Windows Reader icon to open it. To pin it to the start screen, right-click on it and look towards the bottom left of your screen.
- Click on ‘Pin to Start’. (In my case you will see the ‘Unpin from Start’ option. this is because I already have it installed)
- Press the WinKey and return to the Metro UI
- Scroll until you find the new Windows Reader tile.
Windows Reader looks pretty simple but serves the purpose well. The application when accessed and opened, greets you with a file browser. And once you select the PDF you want to read, you are displayed with a full screen PDF file. This is something I really don’t prefer as it makes the task of quickly switching between folders in Windows Explorer and viewing PDFs in Windows Reader inapt. And you cannot change this in any way. Personally, I believe this behavior is common and acceptable on Smartphones where screen space is limited but not on Desktops.
That said, Windows Reader features multiple view modes. This includes:
- One Page View: The view mode allows viewing only one page at a given time
- Two Pages View: In this view mode two pages of the current document are displayed adjacent to each other i.e. side-by-side.
- Continuous view: Here, only one whole page can be viewed at a time but the end of the current page is attached to the start of the next page so one can scroll through the document continuously.
The Reader as mentioned, offers some very basic but useful features. For instance you can use the ‘Find’ button to look for text within the current document. You can hold down the Ctrl key and scroll the mouse wheel up/down to Zoom in or zoom out. It is important to mention here that Windows Reader does not offer editing abilities – however it allows highlighting a text, add notes (including ink-based notes) and fill out forms and save the changes to the PDF, or to a copy.
For most of us, we will now no longer have need to install a 3rd party PDF reader like Adobe, Foxit, etc. but if you are interested in checking out some, you may have a look at our list of 10 Adobe alternative, free PDF Readers for Windows.
There are also third-party PDF reader apps Adobe Reader and PDF Reader For Windows 8 that you may want to check out.