The PDF extension and the Portable Document Format are inevitably linked to industry leader Adobe, since they’re the ones who introduced it. It’s a highly effective standard that enables nearly universal ability to open and read complex documents, irrespective of the software which was used to create the initial material.
This is certainly the main cause that many forms, manuals, as well as various other written documents are made available for download in the pdf file format. The application required to open and view the files, Acrobat Reader, (currently at version 9.x and counting), can be obtained free from the Adobe internet site. The most recent version also includes an improved capability to generate comments or notes on a document and save the result, provided that the original author allowed that functionality.
What happens if you wish to accomplish a lot more than simply browse the file? What if you would like to delete a few paragraphs or entire pages, or perhaps add a couple more? Or come up with many other complex alterations? What if you need to generate your personal PDF’s? You are able to do all this plus much more as well if you decide to invest in the full Acrobat software. Ready to pay $299.00 (standard edition) or $449.00 (Pro edition)? That’s precisely what the full versions will set you back in most cases. I had the current edition (Standard) on my systems and it can perform many things adequately, but it was only because I did not know better back then. After I installed Acrobat Reader and met some of its limitations, I did a thorough search for alternate options (free or low-cost alternatives) to the overpriced Acrobat suite. I came across several choices at free download sites – most of these were 30-day free-trials (shareware), but some were provided completely free. The majority of the programs I tried using did an acceptable job of producing PDF docs; the differences came with what extras they were able to do.
The very first thing to be aware of is that pdf creation isn’t anything mysterious. Most of these programs can make compatible pdf documents using a custom printer module. Consider it as if you have an additional, imaginary “printer” attached to your computer system (only this one doesn’t occupy any space, requires no USB or parallel port and never needs any paper at all) and this kind of printer produces pdf files…from anything you tell it to. You got that right. ANY software that lets you print (just about everything) will probably permit you to make a pdf file. Even your Internet browser or e-mail client. Found a webpage you need to save? Turn it into a pdf with a mouse click. Text, images and everything else. An auction on eBay you want to review later? Make a pdf from the web page. The resulting documents look good too – crisp and clean. In addition, they e-mail well, considering that document storage sizes are typically better in pdf.
Should you be working with anything besides Adobe Acrobat to achieve this, you’ll most likely find yourself installing an application that will let you carry out this kind of operation with a couple of clicks whenever you want. This can be a straightforward installation and shouldn’t pose an issue for anyone with any computer knowledge at all.
Making a pdf file from that web page, or mail or whatever might be impressive but that is definitely only scratching the surface. Let us review what else you are able to do and you can evaluate what is essential or what you expect from such software. Among the great characteristics of PDF is the capacity to produce “booklets” from several individual documents. I am presently collecting cheat sheets for different applications used in web design and Internet marketing. Every time I get a bundle related to a particular topic, I collate them into a single booklet. This can be easily completed with a table of contents and arranged in any particular order I want. Such usage demonstrates yet another feature – merging documents as well as re-arranging them. Decided to add more content to an existing booklet? Or remove obsolete information? You can do any of these directly in the existing pdf document. Examples like these are features that many of the alternate programs can perform, along with different levels of user-friendliness. If this describes the scope of what you need to accomplish, it is possible to find a few that might do it for free, and there is a huge gap between 0$ and $449. Additionally, there are many commercial solutions in the $50-$99 range that will carry out all that plus some additional tasks. I will tell you about the one I use now and an alternative I have tested, but do not rely solely on my subjective opinion – go out there and do your own comparative research.
One program I use is called NitroPDF Professional. It was developed as a cost-effective alternative to Adobe Acrobat and packed with numerous features to make it an “irresistible” offer. With this software you can:
* Create PDF documents from 300+ file types and combine files into a single PDF file.
* One-click creation from Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
* Edit text, images, pages and document properties.
* Optimize, repair and optimize PDF files.
* Review documents electronically with sticky notes, stamps, drawings, and markup tools.
* Secure, digitally sign, and certify PDF documents.
* Fill in, save, submit, and create PDF forms.
* Automatically generate PDF bookmarks and hyperlinks.
* Perform advanced image editing directly within PDF files.
* Export complex content to Microsoft Word (DOC) and RTF, including table and header & footer detection, with different conversion modes for a range of document types.
These are the main features I had been looking for when researching an alternative to Adobe Acrobat. You can find a great time-saver if you can edit pdf files already created instead of regenerating them – and NitroPDF Professional goes way beyond that in allowing reformatting of the text paragraphs and pages and full in-document editing of photos and charts. The NitroPDF website lists NitroPDF Professional for $99, but you can search online for a NitroPDF coupon code and save up to 40% of that on your purchase.
The other application you might want to investigate is called Print2PDF. This software from BinaryNow is more suitable for the small office or corporate environment because of its collaboration features. If you have several computers in your network, and want to give each of them the possibility of generating PDF documents, Print2PDF allows you to share the virtual printer the same way you would do with a physical one. Print2PDF has advanced collaboration features – it can monitor a disk or e-mail folder for new documents and convert them automatically to PDF. You can also use the built-in SMTP client to send an e-mail with the PDF attachment to a designated SMTP server directly from the application – no default e-mail client is required. These functions are all included in the Standard version of Print2PDF (a Premium version is also available – it allows advanced integration with other applications and features like PDF conversion through a standard web browser) – and you will find a 3-user license for $99.95 on BinaryNow’s website.
The PDF format is a great standard no matter what kind of documents you are managing. Using less paper is the most obvious benefit, but also storing and organizing massive amounts of documents is very cumbersome and time consuming. It’s is up to you now to choose the most effective tool and find the cheapest way to procure it.
Victor Everett started his own Internet business in 2008 after a bad online shopping experience. To save on your software order, you can use a NitroPDF coupon code or look for a Print2PDF discount before completing your purchase. You can reach Victor and ask for his advice on Facebook or alternatively you can follow him on Twitter.