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How I read PDFs now

I find I have a lot to read these days. Mostly electronic stuff. And I can’t/don’t always print things out.

I would love an Amazon Kindle, but almost everything I read is in .pdf format. And I like writing notes on paper, or if I’m reading on my laptop, I use OneNote or Tomboy Notes.

Of late, I tried out speed-reading techniques, and found that I read best when I’m able to look at the entire page at one shot. The problem with trying to do that on Adobe Reader is that if you view the entire page at one shot, the font size is too small to read without squinting.

So. What I do now is to flip the screen by ninety degrees. Ctrl-Alt-leftArrow. I get the same feel as reading a book, my finger running down the page, as is recommended for speed reading. I’m just surprised it took me so long to arrive at this. The downside, or rather, the upside of this is that I can’t do anything other than read, because typing, moving the mouse pointer via the touchpad and everything else becomes more demanding.

It’s definitely not a substitute for paper, but it’s better than the other options.

What other options, you ask? I found this tool called Readability, which makes reading HTML pages so much easier. I tried converting pdf to HTML, but when you have a combination of text and images and tables, like in many published papers, the conversion is not perfect, and there are quite a few hiccups in reading seamlessly.

I also tried converting .pdf into the Sony Mobipocket format, but again, seamless conversion is a lofty aim, it turns out. The results are hard to read.

So… for now, it’s Ctrl-Alt-leftArrow.

Do you have a better way to read PDF files? Please do share.

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