PDF tools seek to undercut Acrobat

Zeroing in on the specific needs of business users, Arts PDF and ScanSoft are introducing PDF creation and editing tools designed to offer more functionality at a lower price point than Adobe's Acrobat products.

ScanSoft this week unveils PDF Converter Professional 3.0, a PDF creation, conversion, editing, and form-filling application for business users. The product gives business users a way to create and edit PDF files and forms simply at a low enough price point that it can be deployed across all of an organization's desktops, said Chris Strammiello, director of marketing at ScanSoft.

PDF Converter Professional 3.0 offers features that Acrobat does not provide, including faster PDF creation functionality, Strammiello said.

Features in Version 3.0 include the ability to edit PDF text and graphics; a FormTyper feature that turns any PDF form into a fillable form; and a conversion tool that retains formatting between PDF and Office documents.

The conversion feature and the low price were selling points for law firm Spilman Thomas & Battle, said Greg Jones, a software specialist at the firm. "The ease of converting a [PDF] document to a Word document and keeping all the formatting was one of our biggest selling points," Jones said.

Adobe Acrobat Professional, which includes tools for graphic design professionals, is priced at US$449, compared to US$99 for ScanSoft's PDF Converter Professional.

Arts PDF last week shipped its Nitro PDF, a PDF creation and editing product also priced at US$99. Nitro PDF gives users full control of PDF documents, including commenting, form filling, text editing, and one-click creation from Office documents.

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