Free PDF-XChange Lite!

There are plenty of PDF readers and creators/printers out there. PDF-XChange seems to be one of the more popular ones, even being featured on a Lifehacker Hive Five contest. While dotTech has never reviewed PDF-XChange, many of people recommend this program as fast, lightweight, and efficient piece of software. Giving users the ability to view PDF’s in a tabbed interface, providing a fast load time, and also allowing users to create new PDF’s and edit or convert existing ones is just some of the attractive features of PDF-XChange.

PDF-XChange is actually available in many different editions, PDF-XChange Lite ($26), Normal ($54), and Pro ($76), with each edition having different features. This chart illustrates the differences between the three editions (chart created by the developer):

Although we can only wish for a freebie of PDF-XChange Pro in the future, there is one freebie that is available now: Back on October 20 PDF-XChange Lite was made free for home and academic users! Here’s a list of features for PDF-XChange Lite as per the developer:

PDF-XChange 4 ‘Lite’ features include:

  • Terminal Server/ Citrix Compatible
  • Multi-Language UI support
  • Output Documents from any Windows Application & Create new PDF file
  • Control Basic Paper Settings including paper size & scaling; Basic graphic resolution settings; and normal, n-up and booklet layout settings.
  • Add Custom PDF AcroForms to PDF documents during creation.
  • Control how and where you save your converted PDF files or let’s you use standard Save As Dialog.
  • Embedded fonts support
  • Create PDF files with clickable literal URL links (http;//, mailto:) intact after converting to PDF.
  • Resolution – Max Output 2400 DPI
  • Mirrored Printing Supported
  • Add Document Information/Metadata/XP Metadata

The developer states this is a limited time offer, but does not specify how long this offer will last, so grab it while you can:

Version being given out for free: v4.0 Build 188

Free updates: Unknown

Supported OS: Windows 2000 and higher

Download size: 22.4 MB

Giveaway limitation: Free for home, academic, and non-commercial use only

Note: Unless specifically stated otherwise in this article, PDF-XChange Lite has not been tested or reviewed by dotTech (aside from checking to make sure this promotion is valid). Please do not take this post as an endorsement/rejection or review of the program. This article is simply to inform about the availability of this program as a freebie; nothing more, nothing less.

  • Simply head over to the promotion page and download PDF-XChange Lite.
  • Unzip the file and run the installer.
  • Install the program like normal. The only registration you will be required to do is enter your e-mail address at the end:

Oother than that there is no need to enter a serial key or anything.

  • Enjoy!

If you have any trouble getting PDF-XChange Lite for free, post below and other dotTechies or I will try to help.

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  • janetb


    The opening sentence of my first post (#16):
    “I have long been using PDF XChange Viewer as my default pdf viewer even though I use eXPertPDF as my pdf creator because I love the PDF XChange Viewer annotation functions!”


  • Connah

    @Janet Berg: Ah, ok. Sorry, i didn’t think about that part. I suppose you’d be better off with eXpert PDF for now then, since it is able to edit them (i presume it can anyway, i haven’t used it yet myself) but you really should consider PDF XChange as a pdf reader, as it does allow you to do quite a lot, and i must admit that it is pretty fast.

    You never know, there might be a few giveaways nearer christmas and they might be just what your looking for. ;)

  • Ritchie

    Once installed anywhere (virtual machine ?) the reader can be used as portable app.
    Just copy the folder. (But only the reader not the printer.)
    Using XChange free for years and love it.

  • Janet Berg


    Edit Post not working.
    Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.

  • Janet Berg

    “May i ask if you do actually use the editing features? Would it not be easier to simply create a wor) document and then use the PDF printer to convert it to a pdf?”

    I use a pdf editor to edit pdfs which are several pages and created in a graphics program (not Word)….Sometimes I want to add a page, or add pictures, or change a caption, or rearrange what I have, etc. The idea is to be able to go back later and make changes (ie., not to create but rather to edit). Also I use eXPert PDF to make a single pdf out of either several pdf’a or a combination of jpgs and pdfs.

  • Janet Berg

    @Ashraf: and Connah

    Hey–you were both OK!!! I was trying to say that I hadn’t noticed that the quote about the editing did not actually refer to Lite but rather to PDF-XChange in general (=all the programs). So no mistakes on yo0ur part here!

  • RobAC


    Well said Ashraf.

  • DJ

    I am another one who also has been using this for years and highly recommend it to anyone asking if they should try it. It has lots of real cool options, such as sticky-notes than can be applied to documents as well as using the highlight, draw box, or underline tools to enhance text areas and if you double click your highlight, box, or underline (colors are also adjustable), it opens a new note in which you can add accompanying test to support why you highlighted, underlined, or outlined the text area. This is also useful when reading a PDF document that is a scan and does not allow (or detect) the text highlight so you can create a red (or whatever color you set it to) box around the text block and add your note.

    If you are new to this program, you could spend hours playing with all the tools on the toolbars to learn all of the things this program is capable of.

    Three – oops Two thumbs up!

  • Ashraf

    @Connah: As I told you via e-mail I believe you wrote a fine article; nothing wrong with what you wrote. However, I must disagree with you a little bit. Yes, we have not reviewed PDF-XChange Lite so we cannot pass judgement on the program. But we are posting about it as a freebie and while we may not have reviewed it but it is our duty to properly report all the features PDF-XChange Lite has to the best of our ability. That is not to say we cannot be wrong; that is to say we have to strive to make sure all the information we have provided is accurate. We post in good faith here on dotTech, not to mislead.

    This response is nothing personal and not a attack on you; rather it is me getting on my soapbox to properly explain as aspect of dotTech to avoid any misconceptions. Okay, I am off my soap box now.

  • Ashraf

    @Stranger…: I agree with you: eXPert PDF Pro’s creation abilities isn’t the best. I personally use Nitro PDF for creating my PDFs. I have not tested PDF-XChange’s PDF creation abilities, but from the comments posted by other dotTechies, this is a very good product.

  • Ashraf

    @Janet Berg: I edited the article so any blame also falls on my shoulders. However, I saw the article as first listing the features of PDF X-Change then mentioning the fact that it has different editions with different features, then specifically mentioning the features of PDF X-Change Lite. Sorry if you misunderstood that.

  • Connah

    @Janet Berg: Also please be aware that, as said in the article “Note: Unless specifically stated otherwise in this article, PDF-XChange Lite has not been tested or reviewed by dotTech (aside from checking to make sure this promotion is valid). Please do not take this post as an endorsement/rejection or review of the program. This article is simply to inform about the availability of this program as a freebie; nothing more, nothing less.”

    We have informed users about this freebie, and we have tried it to make sure it works, the knowledge of functions is limited to us as we have not fully tested it, save for ensuring that it works. The idea that it could edit pdf files was taken from the feature comparison list, as shown in the article.

    I apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

  • Connah

    @Janet Berg: I wrote this article, so it’s not Ashraf’s fault. I didn’t realise that it was unable to edit the pdf’s itself. But it’s main feature is to allow you to convert word documents and other files into pdf files.

    I must have misread the feature list, my apologies. I’ve been quite busy as of late, i shall update the article to reflect this. May i ask if you do actually use the editing features? Would it not be easier to simply create a word document and then use the PDF printer to convert it to a pdf?

  • Janet Berg

    Hopes dashed….:-(….Ashraf’s quote “and edit or convert existing ones” does not apply to PDF-XChange ‘Lite’, which only adds a virtual pdf printer to your printer list….:-(….I do not at present see any advantages over free pdf virtual printers. You still have all of the great annotation functions in the free viewer, but you can’t edit (eg add/delete pages, merge, etc)….

  • Connah

    @Tanmay: As i have said, and many others, the viewer Is included in the installer, there is an option to download and install the viewer within the installer for this.

  • Connah

    Okay, the Pdf viewer is definitely included, those who do not have it may have rushed through the installer, as it does give the option to download and install PDF XChange Viewer at the same time.

    Please attempt to reinstall and look for this option, don’t just rush through the installer.

  • For mukhi wanting to create secure PDF files as well as complex output you might want to give Bullzip PDF Printer ( a try if this does not work. It has been the best of the free PDF printers I have tried and yes it creates secure files easily. As for the complex tables I have not done anything that complex so I am not sure about that.

    Ashraf thanks for the excellent find. I like having lots of PDF printers as some are better than others and they all seem to have strengths and weaknesses.

  • Ashraf

    @njwood60: Yeah I can also confirm the pdf viewer installed with this freebie.

  • Janet Berg

    I have long been using PDF XChange Viewer as my default pdf viewer even though I use eXPertPDF as my pdf creator because I love the PDF XChange Viewer annotation functions! Thus I was delighted to learn of thisPDF-XChange ‘Lite’ offer and looking forward to getting a peek at this company’s pdf creation capabilities….I have downloaded and installed, but it only seems to have installed the Viewer (after uninstalling my old copy). It has given me a PDF Viewer folder as well as a PDF-XChange ‘Lite’ folder, but the only exe files in the latter are pdfSaver4l.exe (which does not open any window), unins000.exe, and PrnInstaller.exe. The only icon I got on my desktop is for PDF XChangeViewer. The Viewer window does have a button in the upper right-hand corner saying “Download PDF Creation Tools”, but it is for customers who have purchased a license for PDF-XChange Viewer (PRO version). So the question is, where is my PDF-XChange ‘Lite’ hiding…..:-)….?

    I have Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit and installed your program on D: Applications (where I put all non-MS apps).

    PS I have written to the company, but meanwhile hoped you guys could tell me if you have an exe file somewhere that opens a PDF-XChange ‘Lite’ window…..And if you got a desktop icon for it….

  • Have played further with PDF XChange and found the options to change the image quality – so you do have a choice (click the settings button in the print dialog box)

    Have decided this is a keeper for me and will use it rather than Expert PDF, based on the better image quality and a few things in the interface that I find easier
    The difference in text quality is absolutely minor and not noticeable on the printed copy.

  • I compared PDF-XChange Lite to the free PDFCreator 1.1.0 and I do not see the advantage of PDF-XChange Liste. You cannot change the Image-Compression Settings, no encryption. Where is the benefit? Is there a special feature that is missing from PDFCreator?

  • Connah

    @All: As far as i know, the actual viewer comes with this package, if not then you should be able to install the viewer alongside the Lite version of PDF XChange. Although as @njwood60 said, the viewer is included within the install.

    Reply’s may be delayed as i am currently busy.

  • I have tried the “print to pdf” feature of PDF-XChange

    I usually use Visage eXpertPDF.

    Comparing the two, I see that the text is slightly better with eXpert PDF but the images are heaps better with PDF-XChange

    Note that PDF-XChange didn’t give me any “options” to change the image quality whereas eXpertPDF does have “settings” for various things including image quality but I have always had a great deal of difficulty in getting these to “stick”

  • @Tanmay:
    PDF viewer is included and is an optional install (ticked by default)

  • Tanmay

    Ashraf, you have mentioned in your article: “Giving users the ability to view PDF’s in a tabbed interface, providing a fast load time, and also allowing users to create new PDF’s ……”
    But, I have checked on the developer’s website also, this is just a PDF creator and not a viewer. Can you pls clarify if the PDF viewer is also included in the setup.

  • Dru

    As I read through the comments it seems like some people may be confusing this with PDF-XChange Viewer. Just in case it helps to clarify, the subject of this article–PDF-XChange Lite–is a PDF creater app and not a viewer. I don’t know if the Viewer is included in the installer; if not then it’s a separate download.

    As others have noted the Viewer is superb; I’ve happily converted from Adobe’s Reader. The only time I use the latter is for Mind Mapper output, which for some reason isn’t handled properly in PDF-XChange Viewer; conveniently, there’s a one-click solution–a button that launches Adobe Reader (if installed) and opens the current doc in it.

  • Haakon Aas

    I have searched for and tried a LOT of PDF “tools”…. I was so happy with the eXpert that I finally bought the pro edition. I do not remember if the “Lite” version has any security functions… here are what the pro version has: (from the help)
    Security – choose whether to allow users to view, print, extract or add content to your files and password protect access to the functions allowed. Also allows you to use a Digital Signature on your PDF documents and to use the new Acrobat Reader 7 Page Markup/Commenting feature.

  • Aaron

    I’ve been using the freeware version of this software for a long time, simply the fastest and best reader I’ve found. Thanks for the link to this free ‘pro-ish’ version!

  • emarell

    I’ve had this for years. Outstanding, period. Great constellation of features compared with other freeware, and it all works smoothly. It’s on my Vista system & my sibling’s XP, both for standalone use and integrated into the 5 browsers we have between us. Never a bit of trouble. And, best of all, this is Adobe-free!! Meaning: no emergency security updates every other week.

  • Stranger…

    Is this better than eXPert PDF Editor Pro? (A GOTD catch) I like the eXPert Editor function, but I am not crazy about it’s creation abilities… I was looking for a free way for a friend to fill out a PDF without printing it and scanning it back in. Can the free version do this?

  • mukhi

    i wish any of the free programs could make secure PDF though. above all, all free programs have some sort of limitations and/or bugs for which i cannot use them as reliable PDF makers, say, for huge MS word file having pages that include complex pictures, tables, figures, etc. unfortunately, here i am stuck with heavy, space hungry, adobe acrobat pro.

    oh well, MS office is not free either, and unfortunately, the free open office is not as smart as MS office at all. OO even fails to do many primary functions.

  • Unicorn02

    PDF-XChange has one huge problem for me:
    No Cleartype/Cooltype Font-Smoothing. A total no-go these days!

  • Dave

    I have tested and evaluated many, many PDF programs including non-free versions and the free PDF Exchange Viewer is the best that I have found and is currently my default PDF reader. It’s also got some terrific editing capability too including full mark-up and comment capability as well as the ability to add text. Note that their lite version does not have this very useful functionality, at least according to that comparison chart. It is also very fast loading.

    It’s also interesting to see that Adobe just added the ability to add sticky notes and highlight text in their free Reader program in the latest version X. But PDF Exchange Viewer’s default comment and markup capability is much more extensive than Reader’s default (unless you have your PDF file enabled for full comment and markup functionality using their expensive Acrobat professional program).

  • Ashraf

    I really like how the developer made the Ask Toolbar opt-in instead of opt-out. Very professional and thoughtful.