This painless download took about five minutes in our tests on Windows XP. During installation, FeedDemon holds your hand. Don't know OPML from a URL? No matter; FeedDemon's first setup choice, for newbies, recommends feeds in subjects that include entertainment, health, sports, and so on. Or if you're already comfortable with RSS (Really Simple Syndication), just import feeds from NewsGator, an OPML file or URL, or a Windows Common Feed List in a few quick steps.
Once open, FeedDemon 2's layout arranges headlines and stories within the center pane, with a list of publications and other feeds along a narrow left-hand column. Drop-down menus and buttons along the top provide copious choices. Lose your place while jumping around stories? Just click the back-arrow button or select the smaller arrow to unfurl a list of your latest reads. Keyboard shortcuts work--such as Ctrl+W to close a tab--and you can customize them. The star icon lets you add an open story to your Internet Explorer Favorites, though we also wish for a quick icon that would add stories to a bookmarking service such as Del.icio.us or to a news aggregator such as Digg.
To add more feeds at any time, a FeedDemon keyword search lets you choose to look through 10 search engines, from Blogdigger to Technorati. You even get five Advanced choices to show the style of your feeds, such as Photo Strip or the purplish Prince theme. Right-click a publication name to bring up Feed Properties, to update the feed, or to mark it as read. And if you own NewsGator, you can synchronize the feeds between the two programs.
We like the customization afforded by FeedDemon 2. You can set this app to display full articles, excerpts, or headlines only and arrange by feed name, date, or title. The clean layout enables you to categorize and automate your feeds, making it easy to separate, say, your recipe feeds from news subscriptions. FeedDemon opens tabbed windows within its interface, so you can read right away without waiting for a new window to pop up, unlike the Rojo reader's default settings. FeedDemon's thorough Statistics menu lists feeds that receive the least or most of your attention.