Abbyy PDF Transformer 1.0
Price$ None (AUD)
Hard on the heels on ScanSoft PDF Convertor 2.0 comes a rival. PDF Transformer's brief is identical: to take a PDF document, extract its contents and save them in an editable form, preserving the layout and formatting of the original as closely as possible.
PDF Transformer has a few advantages over ScanSoft's offering. It can, for example, save in Excel, HTML and ASCII text as well as Word. Installation is simple enough, but Abbyy programs now feature product activation. The software itself is wizard-based. Simply browse to the PDF you want to convert and PDF Transformer then whirrs away, converting the file into one of the four file formats. It also installs itself as a plug-in for Word, Excel, Outlook and Windows Explorer, so you can perform conversions from inside your main applications.
As with PDF Convertor, Transformer appears to work quite slowly - a 59-page PDF conversion took over 15 minutes on a 1GHz PC, but that's OCR (optical character recognition) for you.
Conversion fidelity is also on a par with its rival - good, but not perfect. But bread-and-butter stuff, such as multicolumn layouts and close font matching, was carried out with aplomb. PDF Transformer carries the same price tag as its rival and offers a similar feature set, with the advantage of a wider range of output formats.
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