Up until recently the only really good tool to use, when utilizing every possibility of the PDF-platform was to use Adobe’s own system Acrobat, which of course is a very good application. However as with all great software from Adobe it is quite expensive.
Luckily for those of us who don’t have that big wallet or rich boss who can afford to buy all the licenses needed – some people have decided to not only give us a cheaper alternative, but a simpler one all together.
Nitro PDF Professional v.6
As long as there has been computers there has been a need to share information between them. Different machines, operating systems, platforms and software made it a daunting task. Way back in the “stone age” Adobe decided to do something about it and introduced the Portable Document Format (PDF). At first the PDF documents and its usage was very limited. But the idea (and solution) at the time was a divine gift for us all. Since then the PDF platform has evolved and is now being used not only as first intended but also in everyday activities, such as press or printing, encrypted document handling, information retrieval, multimedia, collaboration … the list continues for ever.
Adobe Acrobat has become large over the years and at times very heavy to operate. Which is why it is a delightful surprise to me that the NitroPDF software is not.
The software is easy to use, feels light and everything you need is there – right in front of you. They have adapted the look and feel of Microsoft Office 2007 which makes you feel right at home right from the beginning. The menus are comprehensive and intuitive, leaving little doubt as to what to expect.
As in Microsoft Office they have put their own “start button” in the top left corner, along with the customizable “quick access” buttons where you can put all the functions you use the most. NitroPDF integrates with Microsoft Office as it comes with an optional Office plug-in which gives you quick access to its convertion features without leaving the software (it also works in Office 2010).
I’m not going in detail about every function available but I am going to point out a few things that caught my attention when reviewing the program.
Create and Convert
The first menu you see is the Create and Convert menu. With almost as little as a touch of a button you can create new PDF-documents from the usual suspects, a file, an Office document, a scanner and your Clipboard.
Another feature I like is the Convert TO function. Nitro Pro let you convert your PDF-document to Microsoft Word, Excel, Rich Text etc. And the result is (in my honest opinion) way better than Adobe. If you have a heavy loaded graphically designed document – then NitroPDF does a very good job in keeping your layout – even in the limited capabilities in Word.
Nitro Pro also install these functions in Windows Context Menu (Right click), making it very easy to convert documents on the fly – to and from the PDF-format.
Insert and Edit
The insert and edit functionality has the functions i would expect to find in a product such as this. Again I’m struck with the simplicity of it all. If I want to add a line of text to my document I click on the BIG “T”, place the cursor and type (of course I can choose font, size, color, embed a new font etc.). If you want to do this in Acrobat you first have to activate a function called “typewriter” – then you can write.
Editing text is as easy as adding text. If you find an error, fear not – choose the EDIT menu to the left of the big “T”, double-click on the line of text you want to edit and start writing. You can also change font, size, color etc.
Image editing is something I normally would recommend you don’t do in a PDF. But in NitroPDF you can actually get away with it both easily and without destroying you document. See the list under Other features for more details.
The Form editor
- Provide feedback with easy-to-use commenting tools. Consolidate comments from multiple reviewers, respond to others’ feedback, and more.
- Electronically approving and signing documents. Protect sensitive information.
- Converting scanned documents to text (OCR).
- Integrate with most popular document management systems.
- Insert and edit text (including font, size, color and more).
- Edit images — insert, resize, rotate, crop, flip, replace, arrange, delete, and extract.
- Edit image properties — brightness, contrast, color space, and resolution.
- Edit, Split pages, Add headers, footers, watermarks, and text to all pages in a document.
- Optimize, shrink and repair PDF documents.
Nitro PDF Professional has all the necessary features to be a competitor to its big brother Acrobat. The software is much easier to learn and use. All the functionality is there right in front of you in a familiar interface. it let you do all the necessary tasks I expect you’ll ever need.
As with everything there is room for improvements and Nitro PDF Professional is no different. PDF documents can get very large due to all the information we can put into it and we do need to reduce the file size now and then. I would love to see Nitro improving it’s file optimization utility. Where “big brother Acrobat” reduces file size with as much as 75-80% without significant loss of image quality (for screen view) – Nitro compresses the images too much making them pixellated, when “pushing the limits”.
[Update] A few readers wrote and asked if Nitro couldn’t compress PDF’s without quality loss at all, and the answer is, of course it can. Using the normal compression PDF’s have no or little visible quality loss. But When compressing a file from 20+MB down to 3-4MB then the quality loss becomes apparent.
Overall I think that the people behind Nitro PDF Professional has made a product that they should feel proud of. The decision to let it look and feel like it’s part of Microsoft Office will make you feel right at home.
If you want a lightweight, easy to use and not to forget an inexpensive solution that meets your daily needs – I will recommend you try Nitro PDF Professional. At a starting price of $99 per license – it really is a bargain.
On a sidenote
We have earlier mentioned their Free Online tools here on mintywhite. Read about it here!