Last year we celebrated 20 years since the appearance of the most popular and often still neglected document format: the holy PDF! Google missed to mark this important anniversary with some interesting doodle, but many of us gave silent homage to creators of the most universal format for transmitting and storing electronic files.
Adobe was the first company to publish PDF specifications so that anyone could create PDF software (we are very grateful for that), thus becoming a name that now everyone associates with the Portable Document Format. Nowadays, using the free Adobe Reader goes without saying for many computer users who only need it for its PDF viewing options – at least on this planet. However, despite some of the quirks Adobe is showing at times (we looked at those in our former blog post “PDF Lifesavers: Things You Would Have Liked Knowing Before”), users who work with PDFs on a regular basis often choose some other company for its PDF conversion software, rather than Adobe Acrobat, either for cost factors or simplicity.
In our last chapter of our PDF series, we’re looking at a software we stumbled across the other day, providing a great alternative to Adobe packages offered:
Able2Extract PDF Converter 8 is one of the nicer PDF conversion gadgets, created by the Canadian company Investintech.com. The software is created specifically for users who need advanced options for managing their PDF files on a daily basis, without needing the whole package Adobe Acrobat is offering. While many users still use Adobe Acrobat for PDF conversion, it is worthwhile looking at some of the reasons why using Able2Extract could prove to be more useful in their work. Let’s take a closer look:
Usability Across Operating Systems.
For one, Adobe Acrobat XI Standard is developed only for Microsoft Windows users – dohhh. The fact that a surprising 90% of computer users still use this operating system could be a valid argument for creating a program only for this specific platform, but that still leaves out many potential customers and people like: us. Judging by the number of Mac and especially Linux converts, this percentage could and probably will be much larger than 10% in the near future. However, users willing to pay a whopping $200 extra for the Acrobat Pro version can use the tool on their Mac OS.
On the other hand, Able2Extract PDF Converter (Standard and Pro) is a cross-platform tool that can be easily used by Windows, Mac and Linux users. A winning point to start with…
Conversion Options Rage.
Adobe Acrobat XI has a limited range of editable output formats. Users of the standard Acrobat XI version can only convert to Word and Excel, while users of the Pro version can also convert to PowerPoint.
People frequently use PDF conversion services for converting PDFs to MS Office suite formats, but there are still many users, such as web designers, photographers, open source program users, architects, marketing managers, etc., who need the software for other purposes. Able2Extract allows users to convert PDFs to all widely used formats, including MS Office formats, MS Publisher, image files (JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PNG, GIF), OpenOffice documents, AutoCAD, and it can also convert HTMLs into Word, Excel and PDF. A winning argument.
Advanced PDF to Excel Function.
Users of previous versions of Adobe Acrobat have issues with its PDF to Excel conversion function, because the rows in the original PDF often do not correspond to the same rows in Excel, or the converted data get exported into only one cell, making it impossible to sort information, make calculations, use aggregate functions, etc.
Acrobat XI now provides an improved PDF to Excel exporting option and an option to copy a PDF table and paste it into Excel spreadsheet, keeping the formatting intact.
Able2Extract 8 offers an advanced PDF to Excel conversion. The company’s software developers specifically focussed on this feature of Able2Extract, because the majority of PDF conversion users are accountants, bankers, auditors and other finance professionals, who work with complex data spreadsheets on a regular basis.
That is why Able2Extract now allows users to manipulate their PDF table structure and customise their spreadsheets prior to conversion, thus making sure they will end up with the appropriately formatted tables. Users can also preview their output format before they make the conversion. A definite Plus!
Last, But Not Least: The Price.
Quality is factor number one that professional users consider when looking to purchase new software. That is not to say that price doesn’t matter; on the contrary, as we all know. Adobe’s product prices are often the subject of criticism on software users’ forums (we are aware of the pain). On the other hand, Able2Extract provides its users advanced, smooth features at a highly competitive price of $99.95 for the Standard version and $129.95 for the Professional version that includes OCR technology.
Adobe PDF Converter’s main advantage over Able2Extract has been its PDF creation option which Able2Extract PDF Converter 8.0 doesn’t include. However, Investintech.com is in the process of introducing a new version of the software, Able2Extract 8.2., which will enable PDF creation options for all new and existing users who purchase a $40 annual premium support. This will allow users to have priority expedite support, free updates to the software and PDF creation feature. Something to definitely keep an eye on…
The Facts in Overview.
Adobe Acrobat XI
|Accessibility||Standard – only WindowsPro – Windows and Mac||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|Conversion Options||Standard – Excel, WordPro – Excel, Word, PowerPoint||PDF to Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, HTML, OpenOffice, AutoCAD, Images, HTML to Word, Excel and PDF, Text to Excel, Word and PDF|
|PDF to Excel||No table structure customization options||Table structure customization options included|
|Price||Standard – $299, Pro – $499||Standard – $99.95, Pro – $ 129.95|
Despite some technical quirks mentioned formerly, Adobe Acrobat XI does include several other useful options like PDF editing, applying security options and combining different types of documents to merge into one PDF. What now? If you do create and edit PDFs and/or forms on a regular basis, there is no way around Adobe Acrobat and you will have to grin and bare it price-wise.
If you deal with a significant amount of document conversion solely and don’t necessarily need the other functions Adobe Acrobat offers, Able2Extract software might be a great alternative to consider. It has a great range of possibilities, ease of use and comes at an affordable price, making it a more attractive choice for many business professionals.
What conversion software are YOU using?