Sunday, 17 February 2013

Review: Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8

As a regular and frequent user of Adobe Acrobat – the full version, not just the reader – I was intrigued to see whether anyone could come up with a product that was more useful or cheaper, so I welcomed the chance to have a look at the PC version of Nuance’s PDF Converter Professional 8.

It was easy to install and opened up a variety of PDFs that I had lying around. So that meant it was at least as good as the Adobe Reader! So next I had a look at some of the facilities and features it promised. In these days of cloud computing and document sharing, it offered that facility easily and fully. There’s a drop-down menu called ‘collaborate’ that calls up the Gaaiho Collaboration feature. When I installed, I included the Nuance Cloud Connector. I now have an ‘N:’ Nuance Cloud drive as one of my storage drive options. You can also save and open files on Dropbox.

The first thing I wanted to try was the ‘Advanced Edit option in the top row of the tool bar. This converts the PDF into a format that is editable. I changed the font and font size of text in a document. I was also able to insert whole paragraphs of text. I could even have added tables. I liked this feature.

It’s got quite a clever form-filling feature. You can download a form and start filling in the boxes. It’s even clever enough to tab to the next field. And it’s clever enough to convert an old PDF to a searchable PDF. And you can convert your PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and WordPerfect documents.

Nuance also do Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software, and I hear they have something to do with Siri on iPhones, so they’ve included voice recognition in this software. It allows you to annotate your PDFs. Not sure whether I really need it, but it’s fun! And if you don’t want to speak, you can type into a resizable text box to make notes.

And like Acrobat, you can reduce file size and split the document. Tucked away on the left-hand side is the Pages tool. That gives you the option to add, replace, and delete pages – a feature I use quite often.

On the right-hand side is a pull-out menu that provides stamp options (you can make a stamp from any area of the PDF), security options, envelope and watermark options, as well as recovery and clip-art options.

Overall, it’s a clever and feature-rich piece of software. Considering its price compared to Adobe Acrobat and the extra facilities it offers, I think it is well worth taking a look at if you’re a regular (or plan to be a regular) user of PDFs.

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