Tuesday, 25 August 2009 00:00
Nuance PDF Converter Enterprise 6.0 at $150 takes on Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 (Acrobat comes from the originator of the PDF format) and does so with a strategy that is both obvious and ambitious. Nuance provides scads of features aimed directly at business users, including most of Acrobat Pro 9's advanced features and some that it lacks, for a third of Adobe's $450 price tag.
No PDF tool is worth considering unless it quickly and faithfully converts documents of all sorts into PDFs. In my tests, Nuance's package did just that, and it's full of niceties that help you create better PDFs with less effort. I even liked its new thumbnail viewer for juggling the pages in a PDF more than Acrobat Pro's equivalent, for instance. And if you open an image file that contains text, PDF Converter now asks you if want to use its optical-character-recognition feature to make the text searchable, and whether you want to keep the image or replace it with editable text.
One of the best things about PDF Converter is its ability to reverse the process by turning a PDF back into an editable Word, WordPerfect, Excel, or PowerPoint file. The new version even lets you select a single chunk of a PDF for conversion--very handy when you don't need the entire document.
PDF Converter Enterprise doesn't match Acrobat Pro in every respect, though. I found some of its icons, terminology, and error messages to be a tad cryptic. Its new Portfolio PDF-bundling feature offers only one template versus Acrobat's four, and Acrobat's support for embedded video is better. And you get integrated access to Microsoft SharePoint document repositories, but no support for Adobe's Acrobat.com collaborative service.
That said, Nuance's package has lots to like. And it's today's best value in full-featured PDF-conversion software.