A Practical PDF Reader for Android
by Alan German
to easily read PDF files on a smartphone is somewhat
restricted by the small size of the display screen.
Practically, only a portion of a page can be displayed at
any one time. The problem often comes when it is
necessary to move to the next page.
Let's suppose, for example, that I have finished reading
the text at the bottom of the first page. When trying to
scroll down the document, most PDF reader apps will move
the pointer laterally, and place it at the bottom of the
second page. Clearly, this isn't all that useful. I need
to be able to restart reading the text at the top of the
second page, not at the bottom! It's very inconvenient -
I would say unnecessary - to have to scroll up to the top
of the page before being able to do so.
But, it's amazing how many apps follow this model. I
tried several different apps, including the
"industry leader", with no success in finding a
logical approach. That is, until I came across MuPDF, a
free, cross-platform app for Android, Linux, Windows and
With MuPDF installed on my phone, reading a PDF file
became much more user friendly. The program is lean and
mean. It doesn't have a lot of fancy features. It loads
documents very quickly, provides a sharp rendition of the
content, and just lets you read your PDF file.
Best of all,
with a document loaded, one tap in the lower-right corner
of the screen scrolls down the page. And, when at the
bottom of one page, the on-screen tap moves the pointer -
to the top of the next page!
As might be expected, tapping on the bottom the screen
scrolls down through the document, while tapping at the
top scrolls upwards. And, in the latter case, when moving
up between pages, tapping on the screen takes you from
the top of one page to the bottom of the previous page.
So, as when scrolling down through the document,
scrolling up also maintains the focus on the current
material being read.
As indicated, MuPDF is a lightweight app - a PDF reader
no more and no less - but it achieves this purpose
Artifex Software, Inc.
Originally published: June, 2015
top of page
The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.