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Friday, June 15, 2012

Where Tracker XChange beats Adobe Acrobat

My analysis is based on my personal usage of the two PDF viewers named above. Personal usage varies from person to person, therefore I must clearly define here what are the features that I use while analysing any PDF application. Being a heavy book (mostly technical) reader myself I prefer to read in the Fullscreen mode, in addition I prefer having easiest way to annotate (highlight, underline ...) PDF documents & here the competition starts.

  • Fullscreen mode is quite resource demanding & here I have seen that Xchange beats Acrobat with a great margin. The sluggishness in Acrobat is dominant when you open scanned PDF documents. These documents may or may not be OCRed but even then Acrobat relative to Xchange just shoots up processor usage, especially at page transitions.

  • Even though you can annotate while enjoy reading in Fullscreen mode in both applications but you can’t edit an annotation while in Fullscreen mode in Acrobat. For instance if i have wrongly highlighted a paragraph & need to change it I have to quit from Fullscreen & then remove the highlighted portion & then switch back to Fullscreen, this isn’t the case with Xchange. Of course you can undo any mistake but Acrobat is quite strict (or should I say limited) in its Fullscreen (or Reading) functionality in that you can’t add remarks , write in comment boxes while remaining in Fullscreen mode and believe me its quite irksome in Acrobat to leave & then re-enter Fullscreen mode.

  • The biggest boner in Acrobat reader is its inability to allow for custom keyboard shortcuts. The built-in shortcuts are messy, limited & not being custom may appear difficult to memorise. In Xchange you can add as many custom shortcuts as you want, plus as a bonus these custom shortcuts appear as tooltips so you won’t forget them. Using this powerful feature in conjunction with Fullscreen reading makes your productivity as a PDF ‘reader’ & ‘annotator’ reach on skies.


For users on budget & having low-end computing machines Tracker Xchange fully substitutes Adobe Acrobat in functionality & purpose.  Advance functionality such as Form creation & manipulation is soon to be introduced by Tracker, with print modules optimisation Xchange surely will come at par with Acrobat.

**Application versions used are current, under Win7 x32

Additional Notes

If you have opted to install Tracker Xchange, do download this ‘setting’ file. What this file will do:

  • It will create some relevant stamps, like interrogation signs, important signs...
  • It will automatically create keyboard shortcuts  for some popular commands like highlighting, hand, zoom... If you find them hard enough to memorise feel free to change them & backup your setting file. I chose them because most of these shortcuts are same as Acrobat shortcuts & it offers commonality, because one unfortunately can’t change Acrobat shortcuts.

See the following pictures where I covered commonly used functionality of Tracker’s powerful application & how do integrate my ‘setting’ file.

Download the .dat file mentioned above & import it via:

Now you will have many useful custom stamps:

Right-click on the toolbar of Tracker XChange & select ‘Customize Toolbar”

In the next pop-up under ‘Commands’ tab select customize keyboard shortcuts for every possible function(s):

In Fullscreen mode (press F12)  by pressing any of the above shortcut key respective  function can be accessed easily. For instance, I highlighted a line & then stamped ‘v.important’ beside it:

Shortcut keys appear as tooltips when you hover any function:


  1. Wow this is really amazing article of adobe software. Tracker xchange is very beneficial for me and those who daily access pdf files using adobe software and for printing purpose also.

  2. Just waiting for their Android app.