PDF Create and Convert 

Most people think that PDF is the sole property of Adobe, however other companies make packages that can create and convert PDF files, here I am looking at packages from Abbyy and Nuance (ScanSoft), both cost a fraction of the Adobe product.

Abbyy PDF Transformer Pro 2.0

Installation was straightforward although I was less than pleased that if you wanted to create a file without notation from Abbyy you had to register. The install took seven minutes and took 176MB of hard disc space.

Assuming you want to create a PDF file you need a document .TXT .RTF Microsoft Word or HTML are the likely candidates. These can be in a range of languages. Give it a file name and assuming it's only a page or so in a few seconds you have a PDF file. How close it will be to the original depends on several things, for instance if it has any horizontal lines they often shifted slightly making the next text line almost crossed out.

Most things stayed in place but using the layout caused some problems and indeed the 'smiley' box was placed at the end. Another box lost it's surrounds and became part of the text making the read rather strange.

I am well aware that with up to ten boxes a Gadgetspeak article is not an easy document however it could have certainly done better. Working directly from documents in Microsoft's various formats seemed to work better, to the point they looked similar. So maybe HTML is a less precise format.

Reading the specs on the back of the box makes no claims to be able to convert HTML to PDF although it does it, however the claim to convert PDF to HTML is there. The product will work in eleven languages and PDF documents in thirty seven languages can be converted.

Doing my Internet searches found ABBYY PDF Transformer Pro 2.0 for a best price of £59.98 from the second link below.

ScanSoft PDF Converter 4 Professional

Here without activation you could only use the product five times, not sure if that is more or less offensive than with the Abbyy product above, and, you still have notation printed on the document during that 'trial' period. The install took only three minutes and took 166MB of hard disc space.

Giving this the same file to work with produced almost the same results the top horizontal line was too low meaning the next line of text was almost crossed out. While the Smiley box was within the text it was still moved from it's actual placement.

Once you have a PDF document the interface seems to allow you to adjust things better and easier. Some will love the Form Typer this allows any PDF form fillable, I know someone who has use of this feature and says it saves him hours of work.

Two new features for version 4 are the ability to listen to documents on your MP3 player or iPod. This feature is exclusive to PDF 4 Professional and uses Nuance Real Speak technology. The second is 'save your document forever' where your file is turned into a PDF archive file (international format) insuring it will both print and display properly for the next century.

Doing my Internet searches found ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 4 for a best price of £62.99 including free delivery from the link below.

Both packages require Windows XP (SP2) to work.

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