By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-06-20 Print this article Print

Organizations that dont need workflow capabilities, but are looking for an application that will let their users create PDFs, will find that Arts PDFs Nitro PDF Desktop does the job.

Nitro PDF Desktop, which shipped last month, includes a decent set of features. Among them are the ability to edit PDFs directly and to retain formatting when copying and pasting from Microsoft Corp.s Word into a PDF. Overall, Nitro PDF Desktop does not have as many features as ScanSofts PDF Converter Professional 3. Only power users are likely to notice the difference, but enterprises will get more bang for their buck with PDF Converter Professional.

Click here to read Labs review of PDF Converter Professional 3.
Nitro PDF Desktop is not as intuitive as PDF Converter Professional 3, either, but it makes up for that in slickness.

When creating simple PDFs and using Nitro PDF Desktops editing tools, few users will probably notice they are not using Acrobat. In tests, we were able to create PDFs from Microsoft Office applications with no problems and could use Nitro PDF Desktop to easily make comments, fill out forms and add watermarks.

It should be noted that while Nitro PDF Desktop offers all the features basic users are looking for, power users accustomed to the workflow management power of Acrobat Professional will find the product lacking. Nitro PDF Desktop stacks up best against Acrobat Standard.

Nitro PDF Desktops speed distinguishes it from its rivals. In our PDF creation tests, the product outperformed PDF Converter Professional 3 and bested Acrobat Professional 7.0. In fact, we were able to convert two PDFs using Nitro PDF Desktop in the same time it took Acrobat to complete the first conversions on our IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad X40 laptop.

When we converted Office applications, we also liked that the PDFs were smaller in size than those from PDF Converter Professional 3 and Acrobat Professional 7.0.

Nitro PDF Desktops ability to e-mail a specific page of the PDF directly from the software, rather than the entire PDF, is an outstanding feature. We could select a range of pages to e-mail or specify which pages we wanted to include in an outgoing message—a handy feature when working with large PDF files.

PDFzones Jim Felici says Nitro PDF Desktop may find a niche in the office market, but it doesnt deliver what publishers need. Click here to read his review. Unfortunately, Nitro PDF Desktop stumbled when we tried to edit the PDFs we had converted. When we attempted to correct the spelling in one of our documents, for example, the program was unable to retain the formatting or the font size and type. The product was also unable to retain the formatting in Word documents when we copied and pasted directly into a PDF.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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