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Author Topic: Editor for PDFs: recommendations, please?  (Read 39328 times)
rjbull
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« on: November 10, 2008, 04:02:00 AM »

At work, it looks like we will have to edit finished PDFs generated by a proprietary program.  Does anyone have any experience with the full version of Acrobat, or one of the other programs that claim to edit PDFs?  Is there anything that works like a normal editor/word processor does but with PDF as its standard format?

Thanks...

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Edvard
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2008, 04:47:08 AM »

I'd have to give Acrobat the benefit here. Expensive as it is, there really is none better.
You could try Foxit's pdf editing software, but I have no experience with it.
If it does what it says on the tin, then it's a steal at $99 usd, compared to Adobe's base price of $299 for Acrobat Standard to $699 for Acrobat Pro Extended.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 06:07:47 AM by Edvard » Logged

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tomos
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2008, 04:54:25 AM »

I remember Zaine recommended a couple of cheaper alternatives in his older (windows) Software list - maybe someone remembers or knows how to use google to find older webpages
(was one by Abby - Fine Printer people .. not sure though)
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Tom
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2008, 04:55:03 AM »

I'd Say PDFXchange. Not as expensive as acrobat, works well.
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rjbull
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2008, 09:25:11 AM »

Thanks, folks!   smiley

The company decided to go with Acrobat 9 Standard Edition, which claims to be able to convert things into Microsoft Word format as well as do minor editing on the PDFs directly.  If the Word conversion works, it'll be useful in itself, as the third-party programs and services I'd tried for that have been hit or miss.  If there was less urgency to get the job done, I'd have looked harder at alternatives.

@tomos
Take a look at the Wayback Machine Internet archive.  The trouble is, you need the original URL (or you did last time I looked) and of course, you're unlikely to still have it when you need it.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 09:27:44 AM by rjbull » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 05:12:46 AM »

An addendum to this thread: the company bought Acrobat 9 Standard, and to my dismay, it can't really edit PDFs as you'd expect a word processor to.  This from its Help:

Quote

"It’s a fact that Adobe® PDF is unlike other document formats, in which you can freely copy, paste, and move text and images on a page. Instead, consider a PDF as a snapshot of your original file. Use Adobe® Acrobat® 9 Standard to touch up and enhance the file for readability and distribution, and reserve more substantial revisions for your source application."

The Advanced Editing TouchUp Text Tool is very hard to use.  It deleted text I hadn't marked, and screwed up formatting when I tried to add anything or to close up gaps.  Adobe 9 does not really convert into Word DOC format either.  The DOC output is only RTF with the extension changed, and very minor internal changes from "official" RTF output.  These RTFs do not always import properly into Word, which sometimes locks up with "This application is not responding" messages.  Strangely, they will import into WordPad 5.1, and if saved in WordPad, will then import into Word.  They needed much editing, especially of tables, so much so that it might have been better to get a skilled person to type parts of the file from scratch.

I briefly looked at the PDFXchange Web site, but it didn't look as if it offered editing.  Maybe I was in too much hurry.  Next I tried Edvard's suggestion of Foxit PDF Editor - three cheers  Thmbsup, it works very well by comparison to Acrobat 9.  Editing still tends to be fiddly and time-consuming, but at least I can get what was wanted done.  At the time of writing Foxit are still offering a 10% Thanksgiving promotion, reducing the cost from $99 to $89.

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f0dder
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2008, 06:00:46 AM »

Perhaps you'd been better off using ABBYY FineReader to OCR the documents into word format? smiley Iirc it supports PDF source, and it has definitely worked wonders for the OCR jobs I've used it for at the museum. Not exactly cheap, though.
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rjbull
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2008, 08:11:44 AM »

Perhaps you'd been better off using ABBYY FineReader to OCR the documents into word format?

I didn't think of that...  I more or less gave up on translation to Word after Acrobat itself, Zamzar and Convert PDF to Word.net all failed to give usable results.  Sometimes I've wondered if there's a problem with the originating app.  I suppose the more complicated the source, the harder conversion will be.
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Lutz_
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2008, 10:32:25 AM »

PDF editing is obviously very iffy - since PDF is a dedicated output format.
That said in my experience Adobe Acrobat is the worst product I have tried (horrible interface). I can only imagine it is need for some high, high, high end options that perhaps others do not offer. For everyday tasks I believe other programs are far better; I have tried the Foxit editor and was impressed; I am using Nitro PDF Pro (got it very cheap at Fry's) and am very satisfied.
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Darwin
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008, 11:56:12 AM »

Lutz_, no doubt I've asked this question and received an answer (from you or others) in the past, but does Nitro PDF also convert pdfs that are comprised of scanned images into searchable pdfs? Essentially, this would require the developer to ship Nitro PDF with OCR capabilities... I need a PDF solution for my XP machine and Scansoft won't do it (somehow manages to mess up the text in some of my applications - renders dialogues and things like the taskbar icon text into KOREAN?!).

Like the new avatar, BTW  Thmbsup
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"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
Lutz_
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2008, 03:18:17 PM »

Hello Darwin,
no, Nitro PDF does not do any OCR at all. It just embeds bitmaps and the created PDFs are consequently not fully searchable. I guess you have tried omnipage OCR?

Hope the avatar shows off my brain capacity.  huh
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Darwin
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2008, 03:27:57 PM »

Hello Darwin,
no, Nitro PDF does not do any OCR at all. It just embeds bitmaps and the created PDFs are consequently not fully searchable. I guess you have tried omnipage OCR?

Hope the avatar shows off my brain capacity.  huh

As does mine! Actually, Amud 1 has the highest recorded cranial capacity of any known hominin... However, given that it's empty space... you get my drift!

At any rate, I have Omnipage Pro and ReadIris Pro and both work well  Thmbsup
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mateek
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2008, 12:37:28 AM »

Everyone missed a PDF editor I've been using for a few years: PagePlusX3 is about three years more advanced than my version, but i don't do all that much PDF editing to care.  It's going for $100.  You're always going to run into locked and uneditable PDFs, but this puts out great looking rebate forms, or whatever you happen to need professional looking.  I like the interface, but I hope they've improved the page manager. 

I don't have any ads on my websites, but two of Serif's programs impressed me enough to make it the only advertisement on my website, unsolicited.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that I got emails for great bargains on out of date versions.

As for OCR, I've used ABBY and Omnipage, and I'd say it's pretty much a toss up between the two.

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Antonimo
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2008, 02:02:34 AM »

Not sure if the OP is still interested, but ABC Amber PDF Converter might be worth a look. They make converters for almost anything - I have used / bought several in the past and they have been excellent.

Here is their opening blurb:
Quote
ABC Amber PDF Converter is a powerful tool which allows you to convert PDF to any document format (HTML, CHM, RTF, HLP, TXT, DOC, DBF, XML, CSV, XLS, MDB, DB, etc.) easily and quickly. You can export all pages or just selected pages, as plain text or as preview pictures.
http://www.processtext.com/abcpdf.html
Price: $12.95
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rjbull
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2008, 03:35:58 AM »

Not sure if the OP is still interested, but ABC Amber PDF Converter might be worth a look.

I'd briefly looked at just a few programs and services, and decided that while Zamzar came very close, none of them did a perfect job.  Besides, though I'd forgotten it when I started on this, Gizmo's TechSupportAlert premium edition newsletter did a group test of a number of converters.  He came to the same conclusion as I did, though he rated one of the commercial ones best, a whisker ahead of Zamzar.  However, at some point I suppose I'll have to take another look, making sure to try before I reach for my credit card this time...

@mateek:
I thought PagePlus was a DTP program, not a PDF editor?

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rjbull
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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2008, 03:46:49 AM »

does Nitro PDF also convert pdfs that are comprised of scanned images into searchable pdfs? Essentially, this would require the developer to ship Nitro PDF with OCR capabilities... I need a PDF solution for my XP machine

Darwin,

Have you looked at Able2Extract Professional ($129)?  I haven't tried it, but the Web site seems to suggest it has what you're looking for:

Quote

Able2Extract Professional 6.0 adds scanned (image) PDF conversion capabilities to the Able2Extract 6.0 feature set. For users working with documents that are paper based and need to be scanned or, have already been saved as image PDFs, Able2Extract Professional is the choice.

[Edit]
They have some cheaper options if you only need to convert to Word, not Excel or HTML or whatnot.  See their Product Comparison table.
[/Edit]




« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 03:55:26 AM by rjbull » Logged
mateek
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« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2008, 09:20:16 AM »

Quote
@mateek:
I thought PagePlus was a DTP program, not a PDF editor?

rjbull, it is a DTP, which I tend to forget, because I've never used it for anything but PDF editing.  Like I say, my version in about 3-4 years back (PagePlus11), and the interface was fairly crisp, so I didn't get distracted by other features at all.  That may have changed.  Serif doesn't seem to offer a trial, just a money back guarantee.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 10:41:10 AM »

Of course, there's a whole range of PagePlus versions available - from SE (free) which won't export PDFs to 9 (which will) and 10, 11 to X3 which is the most recent. 9 is fairly cheap (under ÂŁ10). All Serif software seems well recommended by its users for functionality and value, but I don't use it myself and so don't know the best value way in. The do use free older versions as a marketing technique and do appear to give discounts on newer versions to people who are upgrading.
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rjbull
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2008, 10:59:07 AM »

@mateek, Dormouse:

I've never tried Serif stuff, but have never heard anything bad about it.  It tends to do fairly well in magazine group tests, for what those are worth, though seldom wins, and it sometimes turns up on "free" cover disks in the UK.

Maybe worth investigating, then; an interesting out-of-the-blue suggestion, too.  Thanks!   smiley



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Grorgy
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2008, 02:38:47 PM »

Not sure how easy it is to find their free and cheap site so here it is if you haven't got it, http://www.freeserifsoftw...ware/PagePlus/default.asp   

Looks like the free one won't do PDF but version 9 will which is under 10 dollars (or pounds) and version 10 is also very cheap compared to the new one.
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rjbull
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2008, 04:34:41 AM »

Not sure how easy it is to find their free and cheap site so here it is if you haven't got it,

Home page for Free Serif Software which includes PhotoPlus, DrawPlus, 3DPlus and WebPlus as well as PagePlus.

Quote
Looks like the free one won't do PDF but version 9 will which is under 10 dollars (or pounds) and version 10 is also very cheap compared to the new one.

Thanks, Grorgy!  smiley  I couldn't see any link to their older free offerings from the main Serif page...  On the free Serif software page I see SE and version 9, but not version 10.  Is that in limbo between low-cost 9 and PagePlus X3, waiting for an even newer version before it gets "remaindered?"

Turns out I had a disk with version 8 on it, but that's probably a bit too old now.


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Grorgy
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2008, 05:16:00 AM »

http://www.freeserifsoftware.com/store/default.asp

No, they didn't make a mention of it, they aren't particularly forthcoming about their free and cheap stuff, anyway its in the value store, the link is above, v10 is $29.99.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2008, 09:09:45 AM »

FWIW Serif PagePlus version 11 is advertised @ $29.99 at this link.


I haven't any experience of this software so cannot comment on how "fantastic" this claimed ability might be.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 09:18:42 AM by cranioscopical » Logged

Chris
rjbull
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2008, 10:23:06 AM »

its in the value store, the link is above

Weird... a three-tier way of doing business?  Yet it seems to work for them.

Thanks for the Serif Value Store link!


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Grorgy
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2008, 10:36:39 AM »

Yeah I agree, it does all seem a bit weird, I've only ever played with a bit of their software I've got off magazine cover disks, always seems ok but I've not used any of it long term.  But I am interested in this PDF editing ability, sounds particularly useful.
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