ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 3.0

This recently updated package is in essence, a bundle of ScanSoft's PDF Create 3.0 and PDF Converter 3.0. The basic deal remains the same - PDF Converter Professional 3.0 comprises a printer driver that lets you create a PDF (portable document format) file, plus a conversion utility with which you can extract PDF content for editing.

This year's model sports some potentially useful bells and whistles. As well as running a bit faster, it allows you to convert PDFs into WordPerfect WPD files as well as Word DOC and Excel XLS formats. You can add mark-up comments and stamps, which is useful for collaborative working. And it features a slightly revamped graphical user interface, with a flat, borderless appearance.

As before, PDF Creator 3.0 adds a PDF virtual printer to Windows so you can generate documents from any program through its Print dialogue window. It also adds a PDF Create menu and toolbar to Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

It is just as easy to edit PDF files, which means that if you want a PDF to stay the way you created it (for invoicing purposes, for example) you'll need to password-protect it, which Converter Pro can help with. This time you can edit in native PDF mode - there's no need to convert out to, say, Word and back again. Format retention is good.

The PDF Converter Pro 3.0 bundle uniquely features PDF Form Typer, a tool which analyses PDF forms, inserting editable fields. We had mixed success with this potentially strong feature.

Verdict PDF Converter Pro is good value, compared to the pricey and less sophisticated alternatives from Adobe.

ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 3.0
Price: $195
Vendor: Scansoft Australia
URL: www.scansoft.com.au/sales/distributors
System requirements: Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP; 128MB RAM; 140MB hard drive space.

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