PDFS are a great tool – until you have to do something with them!
The one advantage is that they look the same for all users and aren’t dependent on fonts being installed on their systems. The problem is that, if like me, you deal with a lot of PDFs there will be a point in time where you’ll need to make a change and you don’t have access to the original source material, or you need to convert it in to a different format for a use that wasn’t thought of originally.
Perhaps you need to change a couple of figures in a financial report, maybe there’s a spelling mistake or you need to update the company logo. If your document is a PDF it generally means that you will need to find the original files or recreate the whole thing again in order to rectify a small mistake.
Quite often, as a web developer, I’d be sent PDFs as content to use as web pages – yes, actual web pages, not downloads! Obviously trying to get the graphics and text out of a PDF for use on the internet was usually impossible – or not financially viable in terms of time and effort.
If, like me, you really don’t have the time to try to extract information from a PDF (or to hack it about in some way) then Able2Extract is going to save you an awful lot of time! Native PDF management on PCs is nowhere near as good as that on a Mac and Able2Extract brings a lot of the missing PDF features to the Windows platform.
With Abel2Extract you’re able to add, delete and re-order pages, resize and rotate and extract them for use elsewhere. You can also export the PDF to a variety of other formats including OpenOffice, Publisher, Word and Excel – a real timesaver I wish I had on some of my web development projects!
But, the most useful aspect of the software is the ability to edit PDFs natively without the need to have the source file or import each page individually into another program to make your changes.
Details of editing cabailities available in Able2Extract
You can change the font style and colour, add and delete text, add shapes, redact text and add images – and that’s only the functio
nality I’ve found during the few hours I’ve spent trialling the software.
Another great function is the ability to add editable areas to your PDF. This is fantastic if you’re making worksheets or forms that you’d like your users to fill in. I’ve started using editable PDFs on my worksheets (check out my 7 habits of Highly Effective People Workbook here)
Able2Extract allows you to create editable form areas
My one complaint would be that the design is a little dated – I guess I’m used to a lot of programs using Microsoft’s ribbon style of menus now rather than having separate panels. Also, I found that some of the buttons weren’t as clear as to what they actually did – although I am running a test version and some of the tool-tips aren’t working yet so this may be why.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of work with PDFs and find that the standard Windows, Mac or Linux functionality isn’t quite enough and you don’t want to pay the high cost of Adobe Acrobat, or don’t want to upload files to a third party website then I highly recommend checking out Able2Extract.
I have been lucky enough to have been asked to evaluate the new version of Able2Extract (version 12) so some of the functionality I’ve highlighted here isn’t available in the currently available version – don’t worry though, a public beta of the new version is going to be available within the next couple of days!
Disclaimer: Please note that I received a free licence key for the beta version of this software. The views expressed in this article are my own and represent my own thoughts on my testing of the software.