There’s less and less reason to fork over the expensive license fee for a full version of Adobe Acrobat these days. The web is littered with free, lightweight options that will allow you to do pretty much anything you’d want to do with Acrobat. Web app PDFVue is a relative newcomer to the field, and it brings a lot of useful PDF editing features to the table for the budget-conscious web worker.
Right away I was attracted to PDFVue because of its Firefox integration. Currently, the feature is still in testing, so you’ll have to have a free Mozilla.org account to use it. You can then download the Firefox PDFVue plugin, which opens PDF links in a new tab in PDFVue, instead of trying to launch Acrobat or Preview, both of which cause headaches and hang-ups on my MacBook from time to time.
PDFVue offers editing and annotation of files directly in your browser. You have text selection and annotation tools, and a variety of viewing options. You can automatically zoom the document to fit the page, although PDFVue is missing a fullscreen reading view, which would be greatly appreciated.
It may not have all the nice-to-haves of a fully-featured app like Acrobat, but it does all the necessary bits, like commenting. You can tweak your comments as desired, including changing the font and text color and size, comment box color and border, and whether or not the comment will show up on a printed copy of the document. You can also add links wherever you want, and attach sticky notes. Any markup you add shows up in the summary in the right-hand menu so that you, or anyone else, can quickly jump to it.
You can also create and edit forms using PDFVue. Clicking the “Forms” tab will give you access to checkboxes, text fields, radio buttons, drop-down menus, and submit buttons. It’s not as full-featured as Adobe Acrobat Pro’s own form creation tool, but it’s enough to get the job done if you just want to throw together something simple quickly.
Of course, you can save and download any PDF file made or edited in PDFVue, and share it with others via an automatically generated unique URL. All in all, it’s a handy little tool, and a nice, lightweight alternative to desktop-based options. Check it out if, like most web workers, you find yourself running into a lot of PDFs in the course of your daily web work.
What do you use for working with PDFs?