Working with PDF 

As part of its document-centric focus (Dragon Naturally Speaking and OmniPage form the main thrusts), Nuance has recently updated its PDF (Portable Document Format) tool with the release of PDF Converter Professional 5.
PDF Converter 5 Professional from Nuance

PDF Converter Professional 5 sets out to allow the user to create and edit files using the ubiquitous Adobe PDF standard that dominates the electronic document market plus take a PDF file and convert it into a range of other popular common text file formats. As is standard practice with Nuance products (and it has to be said those from several other companies as well), you will need to enter a product serial number. In this case it consists of 16 characters. The software will need to be activated. This task can be carried out immediately although Nuance does allow you a limited trial period before enforcing this procedure. You can use the product to carry out five tasks such as convert or create a PDF document. As a further encouragement to carry out the activation process, each document processed before activation will be overlaid by a very evident trial watermark.

By default, rather than clutter up your desktop with its icon, PDF Converter Professional 5 just adds three entries to your Start menu. These entries can bring up PDF Converter Assistant; PDF Create! Assistant; and PDF Converter Professional. The two Assistants provide a simple set up that allows you to select a single or group of files that will be processed accordingly.

When using the Create! Assistant you will have the option to create a PDF file for each of the selected items; combine items into one file; or package files within a PDF container for distributing to others. There is a range of quality levels available and these include standard, draft, tagged and searchable. Generally the creation process is quick with an animated system tray icon providing visual feedback. A log is displayed of activity during the current session. This feature is also available via a menu item that is automatically added to the menu bar, or Print option, of appropriate applications such as Word.

If you want to convert a PDF document into another format then the Converter Assistant tool can carry out the task. Selected files are viewed as large thumbnails with an option to flick between pages. You can convert to Word, WordPerfect, Excel, PowerPoint or Rich Text format. As the conversion process is carried out so the thumbnail view will change to reflect the current page. Converting a 33-page PDF document, containing text, images, tables and Web links, into Word format took 140 seconds. Apart from the odd occasion of a graphics box being placed too close to a text column, the layout was almost identical to the original.

Bringing together the creation and conversion features with additional various bells and whistles is the main PDF Converter Professional 5 program. Rather than the small window approach adopted by the Assistants, this program opens in full screen with a request to become your default PDF viewer. Buttons are available to create or convert documents. You can view, navigate and edit content that is displayed in an Acrobat-like environment. Passwords, encryption, digital signatures and certificates can be assigned to documents for security purposes.  Also useful in this respect is the Redaction feature whereby you can black out pieces of text or images you might not wish to be viewed by a wider audience. Other features include the ability to include and control video and audio files; create documents for booklet printing; and use various mark-up tools.

I was impressed with the general speed of operation when various tasks were carried out. In generally I could find little to complain about with regards to layout anomalies. It was also noticeable that the files produced by PDF Converter Professional 5 were of a reasonable size. Converting an existing PDF file into Word format and then reverse the process even managed to save on the space taken up by the file. The original file was 3.53MB. Converted to Word produced a 1.86MB file. Further reduction was obtained when the file was resaved as PDF resulting in a 1.09MB file (This was increased to 1.36MB when opting for a searchable PDF file).

Nuance has released three different versions of this product. The standard PDF Converter 5 title costs £49.98, PDF Converter Professional 5 is priced at £89.98 (as reviewed), while PDF Converter Professional 5 Enterprise Edition has a price tag of £149.

Nuance has released three different versions of this product. The standard PDF Converter 5 title costs $47.49, PDF Converter Professional 5 is priced at $58.99 (as reviewed), while PDF Converter Professional 5 Enterprise Edition has a price tag of $103.99.

Nuance has released three different versions of this product. The standard PDF Converter 5 title costs €42,05, PDF Converter Professional 5 is priced at €78,97 (as reviewed), while PDF Converter Professional 5 Enterprise Edition has a price tag of €179,95.

Minimum specifications are a Pentium running Windows 2000(SP4) and later with 256MB RAM and 250MB of available hard disk space.

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Comment by gs, 4 Sep 2008 19:34

Beware of Nuance's total lack of reasonable support for this product.
$19.95 per incident via phone and $9.95 per incident via email (yes - you have to pay if you want them to reply to your emails!!!)

Good luck...

Comment by William Tunstall, 7 Aug 2008 14:27


I've tried reching you before via email but I haven't received a reply.
Perhaps I ended up in your spam filter. Anyway... I work with a
client who would like some exposure on your site.  Preferably in
connection to when you do a review/post about a product.  

My client works with tech gadget reviews and they would blend in great  
with your site. If you are interested I can explain a bit further about
what I have in mind.


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