ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 3
- Directly Edit within PDF files, FormTyper, Interaction with Microsoft Office
- Cluttered interface, Have to register before use
A valid alternative to the popular Acrobat Reader, ScanSoft has done an admirable job and the FormTyper function may be a clincher.
Price$ 189.00 (AUD)
Generally, most people who create or edit PDF files will be using Adobe's popular Acrobat application. But ScanSoft has definitely given the multitude of Acrobat users something to think about with the release of their PDF Converter Professional 3.
PDF Converter Professional 3 is very similar to Adobe Acrobat in that is utilises separate modules for dealing with PDF files. But ScanSoft has made it very easy to use as well; you can simply open, for example, a Word Document using PDF Converter Professional and it will "print" to the ScanSoft PDF driver, turning the document into a PDF file in one simple step. This convenient function means that even those who've never had experience with creating or managing PDF files shouldn't have too many issues with the basic function that this program provides.
The three main functions that PDF Converter Professional 3 provides are creating PDF files, editing PDF files and exporting PDF files. The ease of use and interaction with other commonly used programs is excellent; while you're working in a Microsoft Office document (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) you can create a PDF file from directly within that document. You can also unblock PDF files and edit them as Word and Excel documents and save them in multiple file types.
In addition to simply opening a document in the software, you can drag a document into what ScanSoft calls the Create! Assistant; this then allows you to change important settings as well as combine multiple files into a single PDF document. Options that can be tweaked include image compression, security settings, file attachments and digital signatures. While there are plenty of options, new users will undoubtedly be frustrated with the cluttered interface; there's a lot to get your head around and the we think the toolbar should be a little less overloaded. The menu interfaces could also have been improved - they lack that finishing touch and look similar to what you'd see in an incomplete version of the software. Overall, the interface leaves a lot to be desired, which is disappointing.
There are however, a few small touches which complement this program well. The first is the ability to directly edit within PDF files. This means you can add text, delete, rearrange and even remove and edit the position as well as contents of graphics such as charts and tables. This is extremely convenient and we found it worked well most of the time. We did have one or two issues with editing charts, but it wasn't anything that hindered the software but it was worth a mention.
Undoubtedly one of the best features of PDF Converter Professional 3 is what ScanSoft has dubbed "FormTyper". Designed to combat having to print PDF forms and fill them out on paper, FormTyper allows you to make any PDF form fillable and then save and share it electronically. It's surprisingly effective and we are really surprised that it's taken so long to come to fruition in this type of software.
Unfortunately, ScanSoft requires you register the program before you use it for the first time, which we found a little frustrating. It doesn't take long to register, but if you don't do it straight away, you'll repeatedly see a pop up asking you to do so.
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PCW Evaluation Team
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