Seems like every application you download these days comes with a user’s manual, and often those user manuals are in PDF format. PDF is great, in my opinion. It lets the creator of the document make sure that his/her document ends up looking exactly the way it was intended to, no matter what operating system the viewer is using. Whether on Windows, Linux or Mac, the document always looks the same.
Which brings me to the program I’m reviewing in this article, a completely free PDF viewer from MOApp, named Betrachten. Betrachten is one of those one-trick pony applications I just love. It’s nothing more than a PDF viewer, but the “trick” is that it displays each and every PDF in full screen mode, automatically.
So why do I like this so much? One of the problems I’ve noticed in viewing a lot of PDF documents, is that the creator often isn’t as careful (or as cognizant of what people will be viewing the document with) in creating the PDF as is possible. Not that these documents have anything wrong with them, but many PDF viewers are set, by default, to display the entire page of a PDF file. What this means to the reader is that – especially when viewing the PDF on a small monitor (like a laptop), the page will be rendered so small as to be practically not viewable, especially if the original document used small fonts!
So what is the solution? Well, the one I often used (before discovering Betrachten, at least) was to expand the window as wide as possible, which meant the document enlarged to fill the screen, which usually took care of the problem. In fact, on a small laptop screen (like I’m using now), I’ll do that with almost any PDF file. The fact is that PDF files are great for viewing full screen. Unlike graphics, a correctly-formatted PDF file will enlarge almost indefinitely, with the fonts remaining crisp and clear, no matter how large.
And now, finally, with Betrachten, that happens automatically. I don’t want to make Betrachten out to be some world-changing piece of software. It isn’t. In fact, it isn’t as good a PDF viewer as Preview, and certainly not as Adobe’s own Adobe Reader. Preview is better because it offers a drawer that shows a small thumbnail of each page of the PDF, and a scroll bar to quickly move from one end of the PDF to the other (especially helpful if reading a book in PDF format). In addition, Preview also allows for text (and section) selection, as well as setting bookmarks. Adobe’s reader offers this as well (plus it will also automatically display the PDF at full-screen size).
But for some documents, Betrachten still wins, because sometimes all I want to do is view the PDF file (not copy or edit), and Preview, which also allows full-screen viewing, makes me make that adjustment manually. Not a big deal, of course, only a couple seconds to do that, but sometimes I’m lazy! And Adobe Reader, while a powerful piece of software, is just slow on my computer. Sometimes I feel as if I could have started up Betrachten and read a page or two before Adobe Reader finally started up!
So, there it is. Betrachten isn’t going to change the world. It’s not going to replace Preview or Adobe Reader. But what it will do is make your life a little bit easier, every once in a while. It’s a one-trick pony that I find worth keeping around. If you’d like to check it out, head over to MOApp, and download it from this page (located near the bottom). Enjoy!