Australian software developer Nitro PDF Pty Ltd has released Nitro Reader 3.0, the latest version of its free PDF viewer and creator that also includes tools for filling forms and annotating PDF documents.
Version 3.0 – also available in 64-bit form includes three major improvements first seen in Nitro Pro 8, the company’s commercial tool for creating, editing and converting PDF files, namely auto-save and recovery, smart alignment for improved static form filling and smaller PDF files sizes.
Nitro Reader 3, which is billed as “the only free PDF viewer and creator that enables users to easily create, read, sign, secure, and collaborate with digital documents”, adds auto-save and recovery features to this latest build, with open documents automatically saved every 10 minutes in the background to minimise the possibilities of data loss. Upon recovering from a crash or power outage, Nitro Reader automatically recovers the latest version. Users can tweak the auto-save interval via the program’s preferences.
Version 3 also introduces “Smart Alignment for Type Text”. The feature is aimed at helping fill out forms where interactive form fields aren’t provided by ensuring all typed text is aligned neatly using an invisible grid.
Nitro has also taken steps to alleviate the effects of what it describes as “one of the biggest headaches with the PDF format”. These days, the annotation layer of a PDF contains all kinds of different information, from digital signatures using Nitro’s popular QuickSign tool to form fields and comments. With little in the way of encoding or compression available on this layer, file sizes can quickly blow up out of all proportion.
With Nitro Reader 3, Nitro has taken the opportunity to rewrite its annotation compression engine to ensure the size of annotated files in Nitro Reader 3 are significantly smaller than those produced in the previous version, with potential savings of up to 75 per cent.
Other changes also mirror those previously revealed in Nitro Pro 8, including support for 15 more languages, including various right-to-left and vertical languages such as Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Nitro also includes a number of unspecified bug fixes that it claims makes Nitro Reader 3 quicker to load, faster when opening documents and better at handling larger documents.
Nitro Reader 3.0 32-bit and Nitro Reader 3.0 64-bit are both available as a freeware downloads for PCs running Windows XP or later. Nitro Pro 8 is also available as a trial download – check out our in-depth review here.