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

ScanSofts PDF Converter Professional 3 impressed us as a capable tool that handily converted documents and files. Like Nitro PDF Desktop, its best for sites that dont need all the power of Acrobat.

ScanSoft, better known for its award-winning Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software, has also provided add-on tools for Acrobat for some time, and the companys familiarity with Acrobat shows.

PDF Converter Professional 3 was released last month, and volume licensing is available. PDF Converter is a relative bargain when one considers the functionality it offers to business users, but IT managers should consider freeware PDF options if users need to create only an occasional PDF.

Most of the features we liked in our review of Acrobat 7.0 Professional earlier this year are also available in PDF Converter. For example, PDF creation was a snappy process during tests, providing documents that are compatible with Adobes popular Reader. We could also easily apply passwords to our PDFs, encrypt them, and add watermarks and stamps.

Click here to read Labs review of Arts PDFs Nitro PDF Desktop, another Acrobat competitor. One feature we particularly liked was the ability to edit PDFs directly. Using PDF Converter, we selected, resized and moved both text and graphics without a hitch. We could also cut and paste content from a PDF into Microsoft applications—including Visio, a feature that was previously available only in Acrobat Professional. This enabled us to easily fix errors or make quick changes without having to go back to the source document.

PDF Converter includes FormTyper, which allows users to fill out PDF forms online. We easily launched PDF forms from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and filled out those forms directly with no trouble. We also liked that we could design and build a form with PDF Converter.

Users who are frustrated with Adobes PDF-to-Word conversion should give PDF Converter a try. In our tests, Version 3 ably preserved layouts, including elements such as bulleted lists, headers and footers—and in some cases text flow—better than when we converted PDFs into Word documents using Acrobats Save As command. In fact, the more graphically rich the PDF we were trying to convert, the better PDF Converter performed.

However, while PDF Converter ably converted our Word and Corel Corp. WordPerfect documents, we ran into troubles when trying to convert a Web page into a PDF if the page would not shrink to fit.

Furthermore, users can automatically send a PDF to Microsofts Outlook and embed it in an e-mail message.

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.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel