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Last post Author Topic: Free PDF tools review?  (Read 63898 times)

yacht_boy

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Free PDF tools review?
« on: August 21, 2005, 09:40:15 PM »
Hi all-

How about a review of the best of the free PDF tools out there.  There are a ton of tools that will let you print to PDF, but very few that will do the more important stuff--splitting and merging, etc.  Anyone else like this idea?

mouser

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2005, 10:23:04 PM »
review of pdf tools is a great idea - since buying acrobat is not feasible for a lot of people.

zridling

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2005, 02:06:20 AM »
Yea, it's a great idea. Lots are listed in various categories at PlanetPDF.com.

Edvard

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2005, 06:27:38 PM »
Not much of a review, but I have tried quite a few of these things, and this (IMHO) is the cream of the crop. Should I post more in 'mini-reviews by members'?

PDF995 is VERY easy to use and the trial version is only limited by popups that ask you if you are tired of the popups yet (and so pay $9.95) This is what I recommend for my CAD customers who can't afford Adobe. No complaints yet.

PDFCreator is what I use. Nice and techy, like I like it. Choose from GPL Ghostscript or AFPL Ghostscript for the encoding. Also does .ps .tif .png .jpg .eps .bmp .pcx. Free

PdfBlender I use for... DUH! merging multiple PDF's. Next version promises pdf splitting. Minimal, clutter-free but intuitive interface. Free

That's my two cents and in my honest opinion, a pretty darn shiny two cents.

mouser

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2005, 06:59:01 PM »
edvard i definitely invite you to post more in mini-reviews whenever you get the urge - we need to encourage more user mini-reviews, i think they would be very welcome.

pdfcreator sounds really nice, im going to check it out now (pdfcreator is open source, and author offers more of his open source software for download there - and he requests donations.  remember to support donationware!)

rjbull

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2005, 08:08:47 AM »
How about a review of the best of the free PDF tools out there.  There are a ton of
tools that will let you print to PDF, but very few that will do the more important stuff--splitting and merging, etc.  Anyone else like this idea?

I mentioned this somewhere else, but here's a bit more blurb;

pdftk - PDF toolkit

http://www.accesspdf.com/pdftk/


=== begin quote ===
If PDF is electronic paper, then pdftk is an electronic staple-remover,
 hole-punch, binder, secret-decoder-ring, and X-Ray-glasses. Pdftk is a
 command-line tool for doing everyday things with PDF documents. Keep one in the
 top drawer of your desktop and use it to:

Merge PDF Documents
Split PDF Pages into a New Document
Decrypt Input as Necessary (Password Required)
Encrypt Output as Desired
Fill PDF Forms with FDF Data and/or Flatten Forms
Apply a Background Watermark
Report on PDF Metrics such as Metadata, Bookmarks, and Page Labels
Update PDF Metadata
Attach Files to PDF Pages or the PDF Document
Unpack PDF Attachments
Burst a PDF Document into Single Pages
Uncompress and Re-Compress Page Streams
Repair Corrupted PDF (Where Possible)
Pdftk allows you to manipulate PDF easily and freely. It does not require
 Acrobat, and it runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and Solaris.

Pdftk is free software (GPL).
=== end quote ===

The password feature didn't work for me the only time I tried it, but the splitting and merging features work a treat.  Although this is a command-line application, the Web site has a link to a WinGUI shell for most of the major features.

Darwin

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2005, 04:14:34 PM »
I'd be very interested in this review. However, I'd like to see the "cheaper" shareware alternatives to Adobe Acrobat  - products by Fineprint, Nitro, Scansoft, and Jaws for example - reviewed as well. I'm curious about how these compare to each other and most importantly which is the best alternative to Acrobat.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Carol Haynes

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2005, 04:13:09 AM »
I know you'll want to wait for the review but I have used Acrobat 5 (full version) and Jaws PDF Creator and Editor. I was lucky enough to get a free copy of Jaws PDF Creator as I had a registered version of their earlier software (which I got free from a magazine disk).

Jaws software is chearp, solid and reliable. The only places it falls down in comparison to Acrobat are speed (the Editor is quite S..L..O..W at loading and saving files - in fact sometimes with large files you may as well go and get a coffee) and updating. The updates for Acrobat are pretty regular and the file format grows and grows with time. So far I haven't felt the need to splurdge out on the upgrade to version 7 but I do now have some files that aren't fully functional in version 5. I haven't seen updates at Jaws which address all the growing options in the PDF format.

If you simply want to create PDF files and edit them, Jaws is well worth a look. If you want to edit files from other sources then you may need to look elsewhere. (Actually just been to their website and note that new versions are due out soon. For the new version of PDF Creator see the press release at http://www.globalgra...0EE38025706E00688280 which is the enterprise version but new consumer versions of Creator and Editor are due soon and will be free upgrades if you purchase current versions now. See http://www.jawspdf.com/products.html for details of upgrading.)

Personally I haven't had very happy experiences with ScanSoft software. I haven't tried their PFD software (and have no wish to) but other software I have used (and purchased ... TextBridge, OmiPage and PaperPort) always promised much but the results are never as good as  expected. Their upgrade prices for new versions are always high (often higher than the cost of the new software if you keep your eyes open for special offers), and free updates (even for bug fixes) are few and far between ... not that there aren't bugs that need fixing.

rjbull

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2005, 04:56:13 AM »
Not sure if this qualifies.

Iceni Technology, makers of Infix PDF Editor.  Windows 95/98/9x users should check the demo for compatibility.  9 Mb download...
http://www.iceni.com/

This is a $99 WYSIWIG PDF editor which, in unpaid-for form, puts a watermark in every PDF it saves.  But if you don't want to pay that much, they will sell you a cheap (IIRC, $6 or so) one-time key that will remove the watermark on one document.  Doesn't have password features ATM but that's scheduled for next year.

mouser

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2005, 04:56:56 AM »
anyone try fineprint's pdf tool? their fineprint tool is one of those genius apps but i havent tried the pdf factory one.
(http://www.fineprint.com/)

rjbull

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2005, 05:12:41 AM »
Having just mentioned the Iceni editor, it occurs to me that thread title includes the word "free:" is that going to be exclusive?

mea1

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2006, 11:20:22 AM »
I've seen complaints that Adobe has become massive, slow and fills up the registry.
There are a lot of PDF reader/creator/editors available....
It would be nice to see a review of features/stability/speed etc.

For those that need to create PDF's, but don't require editting ability,
OpenOffice (freeware) converts documents to PDF:
http://download.open...en&version=2.0.3

nite_monkey

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2007, 01:54:13 PM »
try Foxit pdf reader it reads pdf files, and it is pretty good.
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urlwolf

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2007, 09:18:51 PM »
There is a big void in the segment of pdf READERS.
I simply want to read a pdf off the screen, and maybe mark (highlight) some sections, and add notes.

I don't need the entire enchilada that Acrobat is. However, I have to use acrobat, because no other program can do that.

Foxit comes close, but has no undo, the highlighter doesn't get the block correctly when the doc is a two-column doc, and the user interface is pitiful. No way to have all docs in the same window instead of the taskbar, for example.

Plus most docs look better in adobe.

When is adobe going to release a cheap version of acrobat that does only the few things that I mentioned (which is what most academics need, BTW)? We don't need all the pro features.

tomos

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2007, 09:22:14 AM »
Jaws [PDF Creator and Editor] software is chearp, solid and reliable. ..... I haven't seen updates at Jaws which address all the growing options in the PDF format.

If you simply want to create PDF files and edit them, Jaws is well worth a look. If you want to edit files from other sources then you may need to look elsewhere. (Actually just been to their website and note that new versions are due out soon. For the new version of PDF Creator see the press release at http://www.globalgra...0EE38025706E00688280 which is the enterprise version but new consumer versions of Creator and Editor are due soon and will be free upgrades if you purchase current versions now. See http://www.jawspdf.com/products.html for details of upgrading.)

Now at JAWs 4.1 - anyone tried it out?

I'm thinking of getting it cause I need something to create press ready PDFs - going to install trial today
Tom

Darwin

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2007, 11:46:51 AM »
I'm using Nuance (Scansoft) PDF Converter Professional 4 and it works really well. I noticed a big improvement in performance, reliability and the "play nice" factor with other software when I moved from v.3 to 4. Anyway, definitely worth a look (IMHO)...

PS They've fixed the activation problems that plagued version 3 (any time you had to repair the installation it needed to be reactivated a major PIA and scary, too, because you only had - I believe - 9 activations). Note though, that there is no free support (bad - though they have a fairly comprehensive FAQ, and decent documentation. It may be better than decent but I've only superficially scanned it...). Finally, there is no trial BUT they have either a 30 or a 90 day no questions asked return policy, which I used when I purchased another of their products without any trouble (it was OmniPage Pro 15 - I wound up purchasing it afterall... long story. Love it).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 11:54:49 AM by Darwin »

dhuser

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2007, 08:51:59 AM »
I use PDFCreator to convert my MS Word documents to PDF Format.

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Laughing Man

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2007, 10:49:35 PM »
If you use OpenOffice I believe it comes built in with something to convert/save to the PDF format.

Nighted

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2007, 04:06:48 PM »
I believe doPDF does what Fineprint does, and it's freeware to boot.
I`m a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class, especially since I rule.

Darwin

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2007, 09:59:31 AM »
Just to expand upon/refine what I said earlier about Scansoft PDF Converter Pro - love it. However, I can't recommend it. Scansoft's support is dreadful - you have to pay them to report bugs in their code! $9.95 a call/e-mail. This is truly unconscionable and I don't expect to see them remain in business with this model for very long. Further, their user forums are unusable - I can't load them at all in IE7, Maxthon, FF 2, or Opera (all latest builds). This isn't a transient thing - I haven't been able to load them since before Christmas. Finally, the knowledgebase is pathetic, so if you have a problem, you'll be shelling out for support.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

wnitzan

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2007, 02:08:19 PM »
I use 4 PDF related programs, in concert:

1. GhostScript engine (free)
www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost

I have both the GPL and AFPL versions (you'll see why in a second). They usually get updated soon one after the other, but sometimes not.

2. CutePDF Writer (free)
www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp

This is a printer driver (like many others) to print from any program into a PDF doc. It needs a PS2PDF converter, such as GhostScript.

3. PDFill (free and paid)
www.pdfill.com

PDFill has two parts, one free and one that costs $20, both rely on the free AFPL GhostScript engine (and it must be the AFPL version, not the GPL). PDFill detects whether an AFPL version is already installed, or else offers to download and install it for you, albeit an older version than what you can download and install yourself. So, I would install the newer version of AFPL GhostScript first, and PDFill afterward.

The free part is a GUI with 12 tools that merge, split, reorder pages, add watermarks, encrypt, convert to and from image files, and add header/footer info.

The paid part is a PDF editor ($20) that can be used to fill out and *save* PDF forms (what other readers won't let you do), add text and graphics annotations, and create your own PDF forms. It also allows you to add editable fields on top of a not editable PDF doc, so that you can fill in fields on a non-interactive form (instead of printing, filling it by hand, scanning and then sending it out).

4. PDF Image Extraction Wizard (free)
www.rlvision.com/pdfwiz/about.asp

This tool can extract all the images in a PDF doc.

Hope this helps...
« Last Edit: April 12, 2007, 07:43:00 PM by wnitzan »

lanux128

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2007, 09:12:20 PM »
I believe doPDF does what Fineprint does, and it's freeware to boot.
i've tried out doPDF but it has some problems which i have mentioned here, so i would like to know if anyone else has these problems..

btw, for those who convert images/text files into PDF, IrfanView has also got into the act, via a plugin..
• IMPDF - (version 0.23): allows IrfanView to save PDF files (Portable Document Format)

PhilB66

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2007, 08:33:04 AM »
Another useful and free pdf tool - PDFTK Builder (scroll down the page for the latest version).

     2007-09-16_212428.jpg

mouser

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2007, 08:51:53 AM »

PhilB66

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2007, 08:55:01 AM »
See also: http://www.donationc...ndex.php?topic=10014

Is it possible to merge / consolidate these two threads?