When Will Windows Include A Native PDF Viewer?
There are some aspects of Windows 7 that are noticeably different than that of it’s predecessors. For me the most striking difference is the introduction of libraries in Windows Explorer. Almost instantly, with what feel like mostly minor changes, the user interface for Windows Explorer and general usability has been rocketed into the 21st century.
Another change that really stands out for me is the new visibility that’s now given to the preview pane in Windows Explorer. A button for the preview pan now exists permanently on the toolbar, instead of being hidden away in a menu. It might seem like a small thing, but the visibility of the preview pane button has meant that I’ve been using it a lot (as opposed to never at all).
Which brings me to the point of this post. In Windows 7 a viewer for XPS is provided as part of the operating system. XPS is also a supported format for the preview panel and thumbnails. This means that when you begin using Windows 7 you can immediately take advantage of the preview functionality to view XPS documents without needing to open them.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the same support isn’t extended to PDF –XPS’s big competitor — even though PDF is an ISO standard and there’s nothing stopping Microsoft from including preview functionality for PDF as part of the operating system.
All of which begs the question: why does Microsoft provide this support for a format that only a very small number of people use, while simultaneously ignoring a format, which according to a recent AIIM study, is used by 90 percent of organizations for document archiving.
Unfortunately, although Windows 7 is a big step in the right direction, Microsoft still have some lessons to learn. Specifically they have to learn (the hard way apparently) that they need to pay more attention to what people actually want, rather than what they want — which is to promote Microsoft technology at the expense of more popular and commonly used technology.
So Microsoft, when will Windows include a native PDF viewer? You’ve still got time before Windows 7 ships, don’t let us down.