The font rendering quality of Adobe Acrobat Reader is far superior to that of other PDF viewers. It also supports scripting via JavaScript. The debugger for JavaScript can apparently be enabled in the (free) Reader product by editing the registry.

Laurens, developer of SyncTeX, claims that the command line SyncTeX tool could in principle be used to perform direct and inverse search on a PDF open in Acrobat reader


Does anyone know of a Latex IDE on any platform that has attempted to connect the IDE's text editor to Acrobat Reader by using the SyncTex commandline tool as described in Laurens' article above?

  • 2
    Why do you think the font rendering is far superior? Is there any particular case in mind? Don't get me wrong, I would like to see such cases. Besides, Acrobat locks the opened files hence there is not much hope for SyncTeX in Acrobat, but there are others that use it.
    – percusse
    Dec 21, 2011 at 7:12
  • @percusse: A good comparison of the issues involved in text rendering can be found here. Perhaps the file-locking issue can be circumvented by using the DDE extension (on Windows). Dec 21, 2011 at 18:51
  • @Wright: You're right that this is probably not an easy feat and would probably require a lot of platform-specific hacks to pull off. I'm following the development of a javascript-based PDF rendering engine by the Mozilla team with interest, but am not too hopeful that the quality of the text rendering will be on par with Acrobat Reader. It's still a puzzle to me why after all of these years, no one in the open source community has been able to match the quality of Adobe Reader. Dec 21, 2011 at 19:04
  • @StackExchanger Note that this is a highly debatable article as the author cites Jeff Atwood's and others articles. You should view these as suggestive but not conclusive. Also I couldn't find the reference to Adobe as being far superior. Can you show me the exact location of the argument?
    – percusse
    Dec 21, 2011 at 21:38
  • @percusse: The claim that Adobe's font rendering is superior is in part a subjective one. Just open a few different PDFs in Adobe and compare to SumatraPDF, Foxit, Xpdf, Google browser plugin, etc. and especially focus on quality of rendering at lower magnifications. The differences are quite stark. This may be in part due to the fact that Adobe uses a sophisticated LCD filtering technique called CoolType (which virtually eliminates color fringing), whereas none of the open source engines even incorporate a basic color antialiasing algorithm yet. Dec 22, 2011 at 0:00

1 Answer 1


This is a rather 'hopeful' reading of the article by Jérôme Laurens. He points out that Adobe Reader does not and will not have SyncTeX built in, and uses this as a led-in to why a command line SyncTeX interface is useful. I'd take it as not more than a throw-away line to set context. Moreover, as this would at best work for forward search but not allow inverse search (PDF to .tex), it would not be that useful anyway.

  • I still wonder if something reasonable could be cobbled together by using Javascript to control Adobe Reader using the command-line SyncTeX tool, although this is hardly worth the effort if one still believes that it is only a matter of time before the rendering quality of open source PDF viewers improves to a level that is on par with Adobe. May 2, 2012 at 6:49
  • @StackExchanger, see the comment here: tex.stackexchange.com/a/167308/1871
    – alfC
    Apr 6, 2016 at 21:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .