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Sumatra PDF
Sumatra PDF Logo.png
Sumatra PDF 1.0.png
Sumatra PDF 1.0.1 running on Windows 7
Original author(s) Krzysztof Kowalczyk
Developer(s) Krzysztof Kowalczyk
Initial release 1 June 2006
Stable release 1.0.1 / 2009-11-27; 50 days ago
Written in C++
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Available in Multilingual
Type PDF reader
License GNU General Public License

Sumatra PDF, also known simply as Sumatra, is a free, open source, lightweight PDF reader for Microsoft Windows, written by Krzysztof Kowalczyk.[1]

The first version of Sumatra, designated version 0.1, was based on Xpdf 0.2 and was released on 1 June 2006. Version 1.0 was released on 17 November 2009 after more than three years of cumulative development.[2]



Sumatra has a minimalistic design, with its simplicity attained at the expense of extensive features. It uses the MuPDF PDF rendering library.

Sumatra was designed for portable use, as it consists of one single file with no external dependencies, making it usable from an external USB drive.[3] This classifies it as a portable application.[1] As is characteristic of many portable applications, Sumatra takes up little disk space.[1] It has a 1.2 MB setup file, compared to Adobe Reader's 26.1 MB, for Windows.[4] Installed size is also 1.2MB, whereas Adobe Reader requires 335 MB of available disk space.[5]

Sumatra does not lock the PDF file. Without closing the PDF file, a user can recompile the text document and generate a new PDF file and then press the R key to refresh the PDF document.

Printing is achieved in Sumatra by transforming each PDF page into a bitmap image. This results in very large spool files and potentially slow printing on printers with little memory.[6][7] Sumatra 0.5 and earlier versions can print PDFs that have disallowed printing. This feature has been removed from the newer versions.

Since Sumatra 0.9.1 hyperlinks embedded in PDF documents are also supported.[2]

Sumatra is multilingual, with 20 community-contributed translations.[8]

Sumatra supports SyncTeX, a bidirectional method for synchronizing TeX source and PDF output produced by pdfTeX or XeTeX. Since version 0.9.4, Sumatra supports the JPEG 2000 format.


As it was initially designed when Windows XP was the current version of Windows, Sumatra has some incompatibility issues with earlier versions of Windows, including Windows 95, 98, Me and 2000.[9]

While there is no source code package by the author, the source code can be downloaded via its Subversion development repository.[10][11]


The first version of Sumatra was designated 0.1 and was released on 1 June 2006.[2]

First Sumatra was based on Xpdf (v<0.2), then Poppler as backend but it changed to MuPDF because of better support for the Windows platform. (Poppler decided to focus on integration with Unix platforms.) After a phase with support for both (v≤0.4) Poppler was removed in version 0.9 that was released on 10 August 2008.

Version 1.0 of Sumatra was released on 17 November 2009.[12]

Name and artwork

The author has indicated that the choice of the name “Sumatra” is not a tribute to the Sumatra island or coffee, stating that there is no particular reasoning behind the name.[13]

The graphics design of Sumatra is a tribute to the cover of the Watchmen graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.[14]

Critical reception

Sumatra has attracted acclaim for its speed and simplicity,[15] its keyboard shortcuts[16] and its open source development.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Krzysztof Kowalczyk. "Sumatra PDF - A PDF Viewer for Windows". Retrieved 2008-02-19.  
  2. ^ a b c Kowalczyk, Krzysztof (May 2008). "Sumatra PDF - A PDF Viewer for Windows - Version history". Retrieved 2008-07-14.  
  3. ^ Alan Henry (2007-08-11). "Sumatra PDF Viewer: Fast and Simple PDF Reading". AppScout.  
  4. ^ Adobe Systems Incorporated (2009). "Adobe Reader". Retrieved 2009-10-15.  
  5. ^ Adobe Systems Incorporated (2009). "ADOBE READER AND ACROBAT 9.2 RELEASE NOTES". Retrieved 2009-11-26.  
  6. ^ Johnson, Adrian (May 2008). "poppler Printing with poppler on Windows". Retrieved 2009-11-29.  
  7. ^ Kowalczyk, Krzysztof (October 2008). "Issue 378: mass memory needed for printing any pdf document". Retrieved 2009-11-29.  
  8. ^ Krzysztof Kowalczyk. "Translators". Sumatra PDF - A PDF Viewer for Windows. Retrieved 2007-10-29.  
  9. ^ Tobias F.; Krzysztof Kowalczyk (2007-09-24). "Missing Menubar". Sumatra PDF Viewer forum. Retrieved 2007-10-27.  
  10. ^ Mohammad shafie; Krzysztof Kowalczyk, TJS (2007-07-03). "Source Code". Sumatra PDF Viewer forum. Retrieved 2008-02-13.  
  11. ^ Paul; Krzysztof Kowalczyk (2007-12-18). "I can't download the source". Sumatra PDF Viewer forum. Retrieved 2008-02-13.  
  12. ^ Krzysztof Kowalczyk. "Sumatra PDF / A PDF Viewer for Windows / Version history". Retrieved Nov. 19, 2009.  
  13. ^ Krzysztof Kowalczyk (2008-02-21). "Name of Application". Sumatra PDF Viewer forum. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  
  14. ^ Lifehacker (September 2007). "Open PDF's in a flash with Sumatra". Retrieved 2008-06-22.  
  15. ^ Anders Ingeman Rasmussen (2008). "Sumatra PDF 0.8". Open Source Alternatives. Retrieved 2008-02-21. "Sumatra PDF is a fairly young project aiming to create a small, simple and fast PDF viewer. It main features are showing PDFs and starting up really fast - and it does both just perfectly."  
  16. ^ Gina Trapani (2007-08-09). "Open PDF's in a flash with Sumatra". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  
  17. ^ Gina Trapani (2007-08-09). "Open PDF's in a flash with Sumatra". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2008-02-21. "The Sumatra PDF Viewer is a tiny open source portable reader that opens PDF's in the blink of an eye. Bloat and startup time is a major drawback to Adobe Reader, so we fled to the faster arms of Foxit Reader long ago. However, at 850KB, Sumatra is way slimmer than FoxIt."  

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