Microsoft Reader App 8.1 Preview – the Hidden Gem

I have in several previous blogs complained that Windows RT and Windows Surface RT did not have a Metro PDF reader that matched the capabilities of Goodreader on the iPad.

One of the main reasons I was looking forward to the release of Windows 8.1 Preview was the hope that it would include an improved Reader app. I was disappointed in reading all the reviews of the 8.1 Preview there was no mention of any improvements to the Reader App in the media. I was therefore very surprised to discover, that the Microsoft’s Metro Reader App does contain most of all the improved capabilities I was hoping for. It can now:

  1. open a maximum of 5 PDFs at the same time; and
  2. those PDFs can be viewed either in separate windows or switched by selecting tabs

The Reader App will not automatically close a PDF document if you open another.

Two Sample PDF’s shown open in separate windows.

The Metro App retains all its existing annotation and commenting capabilities. It is now a very powerful PDF reader.

The Reader App only recognises internal hyperlinks. It cannot open an externally hyperlinked pdf document; neither does Goodreader. Nor does it recognises embedded PDF documents that may be in a PDF Portfolio; neither does Goodreader.

Given the inherent advantages of the Windows RT in recognising USB drives, the Metro App by default has become a much more capable pdf (and XPS) reader than Goodreader can ever achieve.

Some functionality (opening multiple instances of itself) could result from the additional functionality of Windows 8.1. It could also be we can look forward to similar functional improvements (and more) in Adobe Reader Touch and other PDF readers in the Store once 8.1 is officially released.

JDC 17 July 2013

4 thoughts on “Microsoft Reader App 8.1 Preview – the Hidden Gem

  1. infinicat

    Thanks for the article Jeff. I’m also a heavy user of the Reader app, and with the recent price drop the Surface RT is starting to seem like a good portable digital library. But I’m just wondering, … does the app now allow you to add highlights in more than one colors? What about underlines, strikeouts, etc?

  2. Oliver Townshend

    I love the Reader App, if only adobe could make a simple elegant app like this I’d like their stuff too.

    1. Jeffrey Chard Post author

      Oliver, thank you for your comment.

      I still use Reader as my primary PDF reader. However, if I need to mark up or annotate a PDF I now use Drawboard. That application is becoming increasingly more powerful.

      1. Oliver Townshend

        Oh spare me the day I’d have to annotate a PDF – but I suppose it’s not far away. I’ll have a look. I’m looking for something better than Visio or Smartdraw.

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