Adobe may have developed the PDF (Portable Document Format) and made it the perfect format for sharing documents, largely due to the free Acrobat Reader, but Adobe isn’t the only company that makes PDF editing software. Nuance PDF Converter runs a close second to the full Adobe Acrobat, but at £100 is half the price so perfect for those on a budget.
This latest edition has a host of new features and allows you to create new PDFs as well as edit existing ones up to version 1.7. Installation is quick and easy and getting to grips with the program is straightforward. You can create PDFs either from the program itself or you can choose to run it as a macro from within your Office application.
With an eye to the future, this version now also supports Microsoft’s XPS (XML Paper Specification) format, which is being pushed as the rival to the PDF.
With a large number of editing tools on offer you can mark up changes to the PDF in a variety of ways, For instance, the Active Markup Tool allows you to mark-up sections you want changed without affecting the original. There is also a new document compare feature that allows you to check changes made by others, which makes mass editing easier to manage.
The feature we liked the most is the capability to save emails and even your entire inbox in PDF format. Email attachments are added too and saved in their original format so they can be easily accessed. The main benefit of this is a smaller package, with Nuance claiming it can cut the file size down by 50%.
A feature that will be in the next version of Acrobat is already present in PDF Converter and that is the ability to create a PDF that contains a variety of different formats and still maintain their original form. This is ideal if you need to email out a selection of files for people to use as it helps minimise the number and size of attachments you need to send.
What’s more, if you want to create a PDF as a media presentation you can embed video and 3D objects into the actual PDF, so when the viewer passes over certain parts with their mouse they will play. This makes presentations far more interactive.
When it comes to exporting your PDFs into other formats, such as converting to a Word document, PDF Converter handles this far more effectively that Acrobat. We found it could maintain far more of the formatting of the page’s layout, which is a great help if you are batch editing.
Adobe has a new version of Acrobat due for release later this year with many similar features present here until then Nuance PDF Converter Professional 5 is the best tool for the job and certainly the most cost-effective solution we’ve seen.