Why poor display quality in all PDF readers except those from Adobe


When I read PDF files with Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat Pro, the display quality is superb. However, for the same files, other PDF readers like Foxit Reader, Sumatra PDF Reader, etc show poor quality: quite timid and fuzzy display. At least in Windows. In Linux systems, any reader is not satisfactory even the Adobe Reader.

Why? Is it because the PDF format is created by Adobe?

EDIT: Here are some sample screenshots. All viewers are set to zoom to page width.

(1) Sumatra PDF

Sumatra PDF

(2) PDF X-Change

PDF X-Change

(3) Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader

(4) BlueBeam


(5) Adobe Reader


To me, Adobe Reader clearly is the best. Especially look at the italic capital T.

Here is the sample PDF file.

Best Answer

Only Adobe and Foxit (of those 5) have subpixel rendering. This is seen by zooming way in on the screenshot and seeing color fringing. This is because each pixel on an LCD display is made of 3 subpixels: red, green, and blue. These can provide extra resolution. Foxit maybe just doesn't have as good of a rendering method. Hinting could play a part.