The document viewer (atril) that comes with MATE is pretty rubbish :(

Sorry but it has to be said. The program is completely unconfigurable. I always have to install okular instead because the default settings which cannot be changed are just unnatural and not user friendly at all.

For example if you open a pdf it always defaults to page width as the size. This makes the pdf document massive and so zoomed in its nuts. You can change the zoom to something else but since there are no preferences you can set for the program, if you go and open another pdf it defaults back to this ultra zoomed in experience. It genuinely makes me angry even thinking about it. I hate bad design. I feel like some basic configurable preferences would make the default document viewer about a million times better. I would love to be able to just open a pdf at a reasonable size by default instead of wanting to gnaw my own fist off in frustration at being visually assaulted by a pdf viewer.

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I totally agree with you. I always end up installing other software to read
pdfs. That same problem drove me crazy, it always defaults to page width as the size.

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Can't be any worse than the one in W10, surely...…………

I'd use Acrobat if its available - but the viewer in MATE is something I can tolerate in small doses.


I am assuming you are referring to "Atril" .I experience the same results as you upon initial opening a new document. However once I resize the document, It retains my setting (for that document) from that point onward.


Fixed that (atril) for you again pallebone.

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It seems you can change the defaults for new documents by setting the zoom level and going to EditSave Current Settings as Default. I came across this closed issue from 2014 as well.

When I ran Ubuntu MATE, I found Atril to be perfectly fine as a lightweight PDF viewer. The default "page width" zoom didn't bother me - but you could raise an issue on the project page to request for a more obvious default zoom preferences area:


Wow thanks lah7. You are indeed correct. I did not know this and just trusted it and it worked. Great find!

For viewing PDFs, I always used my browser. While not the best solution, one could omit the PDF viewer entirely when using most modern web browsers and have something that doesn't suck. Nice to know for cheap on-the-go setups where space is as limited as size.

Even better if you define the application to be used in future for PDFs, a definition doesn't have to be included in /usr/share/applications for it to be used.

I don't mind Atril (or Evince, for that matter), but I think of them as very basic PDF viewers.

Since I've always struggled to open bigger PDFs (multi-page scans of documents) with these, I'm using "Master PDF Editor" for PDF viewing, light editing (like removing pages), and printing all the time.

I haven't bothered with Adobe's PDF viewer in years, mostly because it was always a pain to install and IIRC there were some security issues as well in the past.

I feel the same way.

I am also using Master PDF Editor. It's not everything I want, but it is the closest thing I have found so far.

It hurts to say it... but Foxit Phantom for Windows is an example of a great PDF tool. Foxit Reader for Windows is an example of what is required at minimum for a PDF reader. Basic editing tools. The Linux version of Foxit Reader it is not quite as nice as the Windows version (both are free). It is like Master PDF Reader in that it is missing simple click buttons for basic edits like highlighting, strike out, etc. It's also missing the quick pop up options for copy and highlight upon dragging over text.

Atril (Evince) is exactly what it pretends to be: "a simple PDF reader" and nothing more. It works similarly to the PDF viewer available in a browser.

If you require "basic editing tools" then you should probably look for another tool.
Or, you create a ticket with a change / feature request to add "basic editing capabilities" into Atril / Evince.

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