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  • Wisconsin Lawyer
    June
    01
    2013

    Comparison of PDF Software for Lawyers

    Nerino J. Petro Jr.

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    Several products for working with PDFs are available, but as with many categories of technology, different companies’ products are not identical and a product good for one firm is not necessarily the best for another. The author describes the highlights and drawbacks of four PDF products – Acrobat, Nitro Pro 8, PDF Converter Enterprise 8, and pdfDOCS – that have many law firm-appropriate features. A detailed chart lists and compares the features of each product reviewed. The author’s choice? Nuance PDF Converter Enterprise 8, because its feature set strikes a good balance between functionality and price. Your preference will depend on your particular needs.
     

    Acrobat

    Nitro Pro 8

    PDF Converter Enterprise 8

    pdfDOCS

    Creating PDFs

    Word - Printer

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Word - Tool Bar Add-on

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Excel - Printer

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Excel - Tool Bar Add-on

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    PowerPoint - Printer

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    PowerPoint - Tool Bar Add-on

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    WordPerfect - Printer

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    WordPerfect - Tool Bar Add-on

    N

    N

    Y1

    N

    From Scanner

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Drag and Drop to Open Program

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Drag and Drop to Desktop Icon

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Watched Folder

    Y

    N

    N

    Y

    Toolbar Add-on

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Right Click Context Menu

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Combine Multiple Files in Single PDF

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Binders/Portfolio

    Y

    N2

    Y

    Y

    PDF/A-1a

    Y

    N

    Y

    Y

    PDF/A-1b

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Outlook Ribbon Integration

    Archive Outlook Message/Folder

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Searchable Archive

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Attachments in Native Format

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Convert non-PDF Attachments to PDF

    N

    N

    Y

    N

    Append to Existing PDF

    Y

    N

    N

    N

    Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

    Native to Program

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y3

    Make Searchable

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Convert to Word

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Convert to Excel

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Convert to PowerPoint

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Convert to WordPerfect

    N

    N

    Y

    N

    Convert to RTF

    Y

    Y

    N

    N

    Convert to TXT

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Convert to Image

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Editing Documents

    Editing Text

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Add New Text

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Replace Text

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Text Reflow

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Strikethrough

    N

    Y

    Y

    N

    Underline

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Subscript Text

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Superscript Text

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Highlight

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Comments/Notes

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Callouts

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Stamps

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Bookmarks

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Links

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Native Compare Capability

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Compare 2 PDF Documents

    Y

    N

    Y

    Y

    Compare PDF Document to Word

    N

    N

    Y

    Y

    Compare Any Doc Type to Any Doc

    N

    N

    N

    Y4

    Working with Pages in PDFs

    Auto-rotate

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Rotate

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Extract

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Delete

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Split

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Insert

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Insert from File

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Insert from Scanner

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Insert from Clipboard

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Insert Header/Footer

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Bates Numbering

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Working with Forms

    Add Form Fields

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Form Wizard

    Y

    N

    Y

    N

    Typewriter Tool

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Applying Security to PDFs

    Redaction

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Metadata Removal

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y5

    Digital Signature & Certificate

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Create Self-signed Digital Certificate

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Restrict User Actions to Change,

    Print, Edit, etc.

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Document Encryption

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Password Protect Documents

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Connectors

    Worldox

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Other Document-Management Software

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Evernote

    N

    Y

    Y

    N

    Dropbox

    N

    N

    Y

    N

    Box.com

    N

    N

    Y

    N

    Google Drive

    N

    N

    Y

    N

    SharePoint

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Share PDFs from within Program

    Email

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Ease of Use (Rating scale: 1 (low) to 10 (high)

    8

    10

    8

    8

    Feature Set

    9

    8

    10

    6

    Value for Cost

    8

    9

    10

    7

    Manual/Help/Online Resources

    9

    8

    7

    8

     

    34

    35

    35

    31

     

     

     

     

     

    Cost

    $449/$1996

    $119.99

    $149.99/$125

    $2507

    Notes

    1 Installs PDF Converter Assistant to Open PDF/XPS command in File Menu.

    2 Nitro Pro 8 will not create portfolios but can open individual PDFs inside a portfolio using the attachments panel. Documents will open using the associated program, that is, Word for a Word document, Excel for Excel worksheets.

    3 OCR module is now included as part of pdfDOCS base package.

    4 Requires optional CompareDocs.

    5 Metadata that can be removed is limited compared to the other products reviewed.

    6 CompareDocs adds $400 per user to this price.

    7 Upgrade from Acrobat 7 Standard or Pro or newer for $199.