Sorry, Windows, but where’s the PDF reader?
Sometimes life throws up its little ironies, and while they don’t necessarily make you laugh out loud they do cause the corner of your mouth to curl slightly into a grin and an eyebrow to rise just a bit. Today was one such occasion.
As a Mac user I’m told that one of the disadvantages I suffer is that I don’t have access to industry standard software or the sheer range of applications PC users enjoy. The fact that I’ve never, not once, been unable to find software to help me achieve whatever I’ve needed to is immaterial.
Anyway, much of my work involves PDF files. A man in Germany emails me a few files every month or so and I add comments and layout suggestions, mark-up the copy – that kind of thing. I do this in an Apple application called Preview; it’s fast and does exactly what I need. Imagine my surprise, then, when I double-clicked on my PDF file from the continent to be told that I couldn’t open the file, as there wasn’t any software on this machine capable of opening it.
Now, before you all start shouting at your monitor telling me that I can get Adobe Reader for free, I know, but it was a surprise to me that it wasn’t: a) pre-installed; and b) there was no Microsoft equivalent that could, at the very least, open a PDF file. If I’ve missed an application in Windows 7 that can open PDFs you may now commence shouting at your monitor. Like I said, it was only a mild eyebrow-raising smile, but still it was the PC I had to upgrade to get the tools for my work and not the Mac.
The fact that a modern operating system doesn’t support an industry standard file is, to me, a touch weird. Now, getting a PDF reader isn’t the world’s most difficult task and it took maybe 20 minutes to get one installed and updated so it’s hardly a major drawback, but it was nonetheless a hurdle that many users could do without. (I should also point out that I had to install Windows 7 from scratch on my HP; I realise that HP et al may well install PDF readers by default.)
But still, I can easily print to PDF from any application without installing anything just like in the Mac OS, right? Erm… what’s this XPS Document Writer nonsense…