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I'm on windows 10, using foxit free version, looking to switch since it doesn't support saving sessions, I saw many alternatives with fancy features but I'm not sure I want any of them. The features I'm looking for must be included in the free version, maybe by using a plugin.

  • Must be free, works well on windows 10 64 bit and active development
  • Support zooming in and out, opening multiple pdfs in different tabs and the ability to restore a session and ability to remember the last page opened before closing the PDF
  • Ability to highlight text and take notes and write (like foxit, but unlike adobe free)
  • Ability to save multiple sessions, each session containing multiple PDF tabs.
  • Optional: EPUB support, but I don't really care about it
  • Optional: Ability to sign documents, but I don't really care about it
  • Lightweight and ability to search

If I can't find an answer, I'm going to buy acrobat pro, which I believe has most of the features and I'm going to try something like this Or I would try to pick one from my previous question, but I asked first, since it's a different OS with different requirements. Mendeley seems my best bet but I don't know if they support saving sessions.


Please don't comment, if you are sure that software x saves sessions then at least I will upvote it even if the software sucks. 3 users posted 3 comments, I installed all 3 software and none saved sessions.

  • pdfx viewer doesn't do what you want? – Herman Toothrot Oct 17 '16 at 16:27
  • @user4050 didn't check it, will do now if you say so, but the free version looks limited from their comparison chart, doesn't? anyway will check it – Lynob Oct 17 '16 at 16:29
  • Sumatra PDF satisfies all of these requirements except the ability to highlight text. Not adding it as an answer since it does not fit the above mentioned requirement. Supports EPUB and lightweight. I would suggest you to give it a try. :) – Aswin P J Oct 17 '16 at 16:40
  • @user4050 tried it, unless im missing something, it doesn't save session – Lynob Oct 17 '16 at 16:48
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    Actually, after all this, I installed Foxit free pdf reader, carefully disagreed to install of browser extension & one antivirus like app that shows up with installer and was greeted with foxit. It is quite nice and restores all the tabs like a chrome browser would. You can even configure how many tabs to restore and file view settings etc. But guess what, after installing Foxit, even Sumatra started playing nice and now even that is restoring tabs if I close & reopen again. Didn't try the windows restart scenario though. Foxit does render fonts marginally smoother so I would keep it. – Mr.Hunt Jun 15 '18 at 15:44
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It should now be solved in Acrobat Reader, see https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/whats-new.html#PreferencetoreopenPDFsfromthelastAcrobatsession

I'm not sure how it is in Acrobat Pro. Not available in Pro 2017 after update.

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SumatraPDF is the only PDF reader I know of that will save your session. Other things from your list it DOES:

  • Free
  • Windows 10 64-bit compatible
  • Opens PDFs to the last page you were viewing
  • Lets you zoom in/out on PDFs
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Lets you search across documents
  • EDIT: EPUB support

And the bad news: here's what it CAN'T DO:

  • Highlight / take notes
  • Sign PDFs
  • Save multiple sessions

On this last one, I'm not sure of any PDF reader which will do that. As a work-around, perhaps you could try installing both 64-bit and 32-bit versions? Then you could have two sessions...

  • if by save your session session you mean remember the last session then foxit can definitely do that, i use it everyday, pdfx too ccm.net/faq/… and adobe too forums.adobe.com/thread/2162553 – Lynob Oct 17 '16 at 20:59
  • I tried sumatra earlier today, other than the fact that it's extremely lightweight, I didn't find anything special about it, and I would have used it if it had the feature i wanted – Lynob Oct 17 '16 at 21:02
  • I dont kmow, I'm a foxit user. Maybe you are correct however foxit has that and more – Lynob Oct 17 '16 at 21:54
  • SumatraPDF actually supports ePub. It says so in their about page – Tymric Oct 18 '16 at 9:32
  • Sumatra doesn't restore sessions. Found out after recent windows 10 restart. Although if you manually reopen all those PDFs again then it will load them from last setting but the those tabs won't restore. Looking for something that restores tabs like google chrome. – Mr.Hunt Jun 14 '18 at 10:06
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PDF-XChange Editor has sessions. It costs $43.50 (€38) in it's standard edition. €48 in the Plus edition. Its discontinued pre-decessor PDF-XChange Viewer has sessions as well, and seems to be available for free.

  • tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-viewer The PDF-XChange Viewer has been discontinued and replaced by the PDF-XChange Editor and Xchange editor costs $43.50 so nope.. but as promised I'll upvote – Lynob Jan 26 '18 at 22:05
  • Welcome to Software Recommendations! This post does not contain enough information to be considered an answer. Please read our discussion on what makes an answer high quality to see if you can incorporate some of these improvements into your answer, otherwise it might be removed. Especially, answers must point out how they fit the requirements, where to find the software, and whether any costs are involved. So could you please edit and update your answer accordingly? – Izzy Jan 27 '18 at 12:00
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Create a bat file and list the pdf files that you want to open as a group. It might not be the greatest solution but will do the job. Here is an example:

start acrord32.exe "D:\my documents\mypdf1.pdf"
start acrord32.exe "D:\my documents\mypdf2.pdf"
start acrord32.exe "D:\my documents\mypdf3.pdf"
  • But then you would have to manually edit that file when the files in the "session" change – Mawg says reinstate Monica Mar 19 '18 at 10:42
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    True this is not the most convenient solutions. But, a programmer can wrap this to a nice interface or even integrate with Adobe reader via an add-on. I wish I had time to do this. – Cyrus Mar 27 '18 at 18:36
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After that crazy windows 10 restart

Sumatra doesn't restore sessions. Found out after recent windows 10 restart. Although if you manually reopen all those PDFs again then it will load them from last setting on exact page but those tabs won't restore. Looking for something that restores tabs like google chrome.

Update

I installed Foxit free pdf reader from their website, carefully disagreed to install of browser extension & one antivirus like app that shows up with the installer and was greeted with Foxit reader start page. Went straight into settings and there is option to restore tabs & sessions, turned all that on.

It is quite nice and restores all the tabs like a chrome browser would after I close the whole window. You can even configure how many tabs to restore and file view settings etc.

But guess what, after installing Foxit, even Sumatra started playing nice and now even that is restoring tabs if I close the window & reopen again!

Didn't try the windows restart scenario though. But I compared both and found that Foxit does render fonts marginally smoother so I would keep it. The installation size of Sumatra is ~11MB, while that of Foxit on my system is around ~216MB.

So based on your machine & requirements you can try between these two.

Here is a side by side screenshot for you fine folks. I think the Foxit font looks smoother and less strain for eyes. (Yes I couldn't get rid of Foxit menu's to get clutter free look like Sumatra)

enter image description here

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  1. STDUViewer is free and has a similar session manager as pdf x-change editor (EXCELLENT but costly... save window layouts with sessions+more options than stduViewer) http://www.stdutility.com/stduviewer.html http://uvviewsoft.com/uviewer/lister_plugins.htm

  2. Open Sumatra with Pre-Loaded books as tabs Sumatra settings: Remember opened files+ create different folders for each session e.g accounts,comics, histories and create shortcuts for each session (quoted from site)

c:\sumatrasettings\day + c:\sumatrasettings\night “c:\program files\sumatrapdf.exe” -appdata c:\sumatrasettings\accounts “c:\program files\sumatrapdf.exe” -appdata c:\sumatrasettings\comics If you have 5 groupings then make 5 folders for your different histories

I use TotalCommander with ~26 blank folders a-z and a drop down menu (*.bar file) with ~26 links to those folders a to z. e.g Format for folder 'z': N:\PortableAppsZ\SumatraPDF\SumatraPDF-64p.exe -appdata N:\PortableAppsZ\SumatraPDF\settings_s\s_n1\z

NOTE: those links can be auto-created really quick, using akelpad scripts, Manually it took me ~4 minutes to create all..

Each time i need to keep a set of ebooks (pdf,epub,azw,etc) i just rename the tooltip of one link for a proper name (e.g changing 'a' to 'cooking' in the tip only..)

Sumatra allows multiple instances but STDUviewer no. You have to use sandboxes... I tried, its ok...In practice, I keep one STDUViewer for set of books i need to change very often (e.g reference manual/data sheets sets for physics, math, chemistry, etc). I have sets of books for say chemistry (e.g fixed set of 15 text-books) which wont change often... for those, I use SUMATRA. Its good to remember that the software Calibre offer a vast array of plugins to convert rare format of books to one SUMATRA reads. Its extremely rare to meet a format Sumatra won't read... Even DJVU format (there is a special reader DjVuReader 2.0.026 though)

There are lots of shortcuts in sumatra for single-continuous page view, etc fixed width,etc...

PDF reader that can save multiple sessions?
https://forum.sumatrapdfreader.org/t/how-to-create-and-run-sessions-concurrently/2301 https://forum.sumatrapdfreader.org/search?q=session

  • What do you mean by "previous post"? – Chenmunka Jan 13 at 18:24
  • there was a similar question i gave an opinion about pdf sessions... – JeanPaulRUCHE Jan 15 at 18:54

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