The power of Adobe Systems Inc.s Portable Document Format is its ability to exchange documents regardless of the program with which they were created or the operating system used by either the sender or the receiver. As such, eWEEK Labs has long urged broader use of PDF technology.
Unfortunately, Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0s price—$449 per user—makes it difficult for most IT managers to rationalize (and rightfully so) for anyone other than a graphics professional or power user. In addition, although Acrobat Standard 7.0 is priced considerably lower, at $299 per user, its still cost-prohibitive for many organizations.
However, since anyone can develop applications that read or write PDFs royalty-free, there are many third-party options that make it easier and less expensive for IT managers to offer PDF creation tools to users.
To determine whether the current crop of third-party tools offers Acrobat-like functionality at a lower price, we evaluated two PDF creators designed for business users: Arts PDF Inc.s Nitro PDF Desktop and ScanSoft Inc.s ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 3.
Our tests show that both products deliver what most business users will want from a PDF solution, especially those looking mainly to create and edit PDFs while retaining fine-grain control over documents after they are sent out.
With their practical price point—each costs $99—Nitro PDF Desktop and PDF Converter Professional make general PDF authoring available to far more users. That said, users who require more sophisticated functionality, such as designers and prepress professionals who rely on Acrobat Distiller, should continue to purchase and use Acrobat. Conversely, IT managers should consider freeware PDF options if users need to create only an occasional PDF.
Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at email@example.com.
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