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Last post Author Topic: Free PDF tools review?  (Read 63939 times)

jzippo

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #50 on: September 20, 2007, 02:37:47 AM »
Here's some small things that I have noted when comparing Foxit Reader and PDF-XChange:

You are able to add annotations with both, but the free version of Foxit Reader leaves an evaluation mark on the annotated page when you save the document whereas the free version of PDF-XChange does not.

Foxit Reader supports a type of text-hilighting that PDF-XChange does not: Squiggly underline. Nonetheless, PDF-XChange does display the squiggly underline both within the PDF as well as in its "Comments List"; however, PDF-XChange is unable to display text that you have used for describing the squiggly itself (and you are not able to add any text nor are you able to delete this type of annotation from the document). This may or may not cause problems (I have been using squiggly hilighting quite a lot in Foxit Reader, which quickly becomes an issue if one wishes to migrate to PDF-XChange viewer). The "Caret" markup tool is also missing in PDF-XChange. The caret is displayed in PDF-XChange but behaves in the same way as the squiggly underlines. Not having these markup utilities may also cause problem if you are asked to review PDF:s that have these types of comments/annotations.

PDF-XChange has a so-called Comments List whereas Foxit does not. The Comments list enables you to see where a PDF-document is annotated and allows you to quickly navigate to an annotation. But, it is still a cheap knockoff of Adobe Reader's comments list, which not only allows you to see how annotations are distributed within a document but also allows you to see the texts stored in each annotation.

Foxit Reader (as well as Adobe Reader) allows one to view a text of a pop-up note by simply hovering over the annotation whereas PDF-XChange does not. I think that such a feature is nice when you are reading PDFs. But, Foxit has a problem in that it will truncate longer texts before displaying it in the pop-up, which makes it much less useful than Adobe Reader in this department.

The typewriter tool exists in both tools. I use this tool quite extensively, but it is difficult to manage in PDF-XChange when typing longer texts. If you have a long text on one line you may decrease the width of its container to make the text in it split on multiple lines. But, if you try to edit the text in that container again, the container will resize itself automatically so that the text is once again shown on a single, very long line. Also, the typewriter tool in PDF-XChange viewer seems unable to remember what font I used with it, which is very annoying (I don't like courier new, it is ugly!!!!).

« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 02:46:07 AM by jzippo »

katykaty

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #51 on: September 20, 2007, 02:30:09 PM »
Wow, those are very specific comments jzippo. Are you sure pdf is the best format rather than tracking changes and comments in, say, Word?

Or alternatively - how valuable are the annotations? What's the risk/cost if they've not displayed correctly in another reader? High enough to justify paying the extra for Acrobloat?

jzippo

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #52 on: September 20, 2007, 03:03:16 PM »
The ability to comment PDF:s is very valuable to me. I read a lot of research papers and it is nice thing to be able to place comments in the PDF:s. When I return to a document with comments I am able to read only the comments and remember what it was about.

J-Mac

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #53 on: September 20, 2007, 03:33:50 PM »
Wow, those are very specific comments jzippo. Are you sure pdf is the best format rather than tracking changes and comments in, say, Word?

Or alternatively - how valuable are the annotations? What's the risk/cost if they've not displayed correctly in another reader? High enough to justify paying the extra for Acrobloat?
If you use annotations extensively, I imagine this is a critical feature. However if, like me you never or hardly ever use them, then it is not so important.  :)

Jim

Grorgy

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #54 on: September 20, 2007, 03:47:35 PM »
Not free but PDF annotator prides itself on ummm annotating pdfs.  http://www.ograhl.com/en/pdfannotator/  its specifically designed for tablet use but does work on a normal pc, with a mouse and keyboard, i tried it briefly but it wasnt something I do enough off, but maybe just what you are looking for

jzippo

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2007, 04:06:12 AM »
I have tested pdfannotator. But I didn't try their annotation tools much as I wasn't too impressed with the rendering of the PDF:s. By far the worst rendering quality that I have seen on text. It was actually quite surprising for me too see something that bad in this day and age.

katykaty

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #56 on: September 21, 2007, 02:48:27 PM »
Much as I dislike Acrobat from my own perspective, it looks like that's the way you might be heading jzippo.

I get the feeling you'll probably feel uncomfortable using non-official software?

Adobe sells millions of copies; at least some of those sales must be to people who do actually need it  ;)

Darwin

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #57 on: September 21, 2007, 09:09:57 PM »
I don't think jzippo has to go the whole hog and lash out for Adobe Acrobat, there are myriad options in the $49.95 to $99.99 range that will more or less stand in for Acrobat Standard!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

jzippo

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #58 on: September 23, 2007, 09:32:39 AM »
Thank you for all of your recommendations.

Right now I don't know if I will continue using Foxit Reader, and while PDF-XChange was indeed reasonably good, its not all the way there for me.

The deal breaker with PDF-XChange is the badly implemented typewriter tool (it would probably drive me insane after a while). However, its highligting tools are better in that they can be used to highlight text in columns correctly.

The deal breaker's with Foxit is its support who doesn't seem to regard broken PDFs as a problem. Moreover, its highligting tools are unable to deal with text in columns correctly.

So, the search continues, but, at least for now, I will be using both Foxit and PDF-XChange. I will use Foxit when I need to use the typewriter tool a lot and PDF-XChange for PDF:s that have a two-column layout. But, then again, using two PDF-annotators might screw things up even more for me.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 10:12:19 AM by jzippo »

jtbworld

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #59 on: October 08, 2007, 10:51:32 AM »
I've developed using the PDF XChange API and I must say that I was quite satisfied with both the API and support. I also found that PDF's created with it was among the smallest in size compared to several other PDF creation softwares. Much smaller than Adobe's.

majoMO

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #60 on: November 27, 2007, 08:48:41 AM »
PDF XChange Viewer suport now Internet Explorer 5-7 plugin for opening PDFs into the browser.

 :up:

jlogic77

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #61 on: December 17, 2007, 06:28:40 PM »
used primo PDF for awhile.  www.primopdf.com

Simple, just use as a printer.  Works well, haven't really used anything else or much of any extended features.

Curt

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #62 on: July 15, 2008, 02:21:43 PM »
Yet another free PDF tool I didn't know about: CABAReT Stage Home

CABAReT Stage         Home (Free)     Basic (€49)        Professional (€99)

Compare versions at http://www.cabaret-s...m/en/products/stage/

Quote
CABAReT Stage Home

CABAReT Stage Home is available for private users to download free of charge for non-commercial use. The following table includes the functions available, without limitations, to you with CABAReT Stage Home:

General function overview:

Save PDF-forms

    * Open, complete, save with field entries, print, re-open and further edit PDF forms.

Extract texts

    * Mark and copy text within a document in order to use that text in other applications.

Edit pages

    * Delete single pages, import pages from other PDF documents into your current document and so re-organize PDF documents

Send documents per e-mail

    * Send completed PDF forms per e-mail

Validate electronic signatures

    * Validate signatures in accordance with PKCS#1 and/or PKCS#7 and view the results.

Manage certificates

    * Manage your own certificates and generate "self-signed" certificates.

Navigate within the document

    * Bookmarks and hyperlinks
make reading PDF documents easier.

JavaScript® support

    * Standard support of program functions in JavaScript.


06/19/2008 - CABAReT Stage 3.2.7 released
CABAReT.jpg
http://www.cabaret-solutions.com/en
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 03:12:12 PM by Curt »

pyrohacker

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2009, 09:24:51 AM »
I don't know much about PDF's or the software that accompanies them because I don't use PDF's very often.  But my main computer is disconnected from the internet, so I had to go hunting for a PDF reader that wouldn't massacre my RAM (only 1 GB) like Adobe Reader.  Strictly speaking of free PDF readers:

I had tried FoxIt reader before, and I didn't like how many nags and ads it pushed in my face for getting the pay version.  The editing tools I did see were weak and didn't always work as I imagined.  I uninstalled it after about a day, using Revo Uninstaller's Advanced Mode to punt that thing off my computer for good.

OpenOffice claims it can read PDF's, and I know it can save them.  But every time I try to open a PDF in Writer, it comes out looking like Pork-and-Beans that went through a weed-whacker.  Never worked once.  I still use it all the time for everything else, though.  It's compatible and portable - two wins over MS Office.

Eventually, I came to settle with Sumatra PDF.  The thing is miniscule.  It took about a second to download, three times that to install.  It's quick, but the main problem is that it can't open links.  Or use internal bookmarks.  Pretty big limitation, but I find that it works well, anyway.

Especially if you're on a computer that can't follow any web links.   :(

If all you need is a light Reader replacement, I'd go with Sumatra.
Funny that programmers chose the phrase "Hello, World" while most of us are introverts.

grapeshot

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #64 on: March 29, 2009, 11:23:19 AM »
I thought I might add some of my observations to this thread.

I found a portable application version of PDF-Xchange Viewer (scroll down to find the link), and as far as I'm concerned it is The Bomb.  Yes, the program has some quirks, but this past week I had to to annotate a diagram of a machine to explain its functions to a non-technical audience, and it worked out better than I expected.

  • I have discovered that my annotated PDF documents will not work in Adobe versions older than version 7.  Believe it or not, in our corporation, with its hugely centralized IT department, there are still many computers with only Adobe 6 on them.  (I think its because a user has to call and ask IT to upgrade it for them, and if Adobe 6 seems to work fine, why annoy the IT folks with your petty little requests.  And besides, most users aren't even aware that they're using an old version.)  Fortunately, PDF-Xchange Viewer let me save my annotated document as a .tiff file, which anyone could open with a picture viewer.
  • I used the line draw feature to draw highlighted lines around the relevant sections of the machine in question, pick different colors for the highlight lines, and I used text boxes to create a color key for the lines, and for writing explanations of the functions of the various highlighted sections.  PDF-Xchange Viewer let me control the opacity of the lines, and it let me create text boxes with fill, no fill, or transparent fill.
  • The typewriter feature is a little quirky.  It only seems to let me change the font and font size after I've already typed some words.  Once I've typed some words in, then I can highlight them, change the font and font size, etc.  Afterwards, if I decide to change what I typed in, it keeps that font.  It's just that the initial typing is always rendered in New Courier, 12 point size, black.  This is a little odd and requires a little bit of extra work to keep changing the font each time I write something, but not a show stopper for me.
  • I like that I can create a cloud box, which is very traditional for engineering drawings.  (Yes, we use PDF versions of engineering drawings frequently because not everyone has a CAD viewer on their computer whereas everyone can open up a PDF.)
  • I like that I can open up new PDF files in tabs, which helps greatly to control the number of windows open on my screen.
  • It can capture an image (as long as the document isn't locked) which you can paste into another locations, such as a Word document, or Paint.  You can copy text this way, too, but it becomes an image, not editable text.
  • It can highlight text, but not images.  You can highlight an image by creating a box or a circle, with fill, and selecting a low opacity value.

At work we cannot install new programs on our computers (they're locked by IT), and only a handful of people are allowed to get a purchased copy of Adobe Writer, so being able to use a portable version of PDF-Xchange Viewer has been extremely handy.  I was particularly tickled by my experience this past week, which allowed me to explain a machine's complexity to a far-flung audience by making a picture, rather than having to write a long, boring explanation.  (And without having to subject people to my messy hand-drawing and hand-writing!)  After this past week's exercise with PDF annotation, I was so happy with PDF-Xchange Viewer, that I decided that I'd like to buy their pro version.

What PDF-Xchange Viewer cannot do:
  • Merge or split PDF documents.  (I use PDF Split and Merge for that, but it's not portable.)
  • It can rotate a page, but it cannot save that rotated page orientation.
  • It cannot turn a PDF document into a Word document -- but I wouldn't necessarily expect it to do that.  (I use a FREE PDF to Word Converter program for that.)
  • It cannot convert any file to a PDF document.  I use either portable OpenOffice, or doPDF, depending on whether I'm at a work computer where I cannot install doPDF, or using my personal computer and need a PDF version of whatever I'm working on.

I mentioned using PDF Split and Merge and FREE PDF to Word Converter program, but I haven't used either of these very much.  They are both adequate for my meager needs, and I haven't found any problems with them.

I like doPDF, but mostly what I use it for at home is to convert eCommerce receipts into electronic documents.  At work, where I installed it before a new, draconian IT policy of NO NON-APPROVED, USER INSTALLED SOFTWARE EVER, AND I MEAN NEVER EVER was enacted, I use it frequently to turn CAD drawings to PDF, or to make PDFs of MS Project schedules for people who don't have MS Project installed on their computers.  (If my computer ever goes toes up and has to be replace, it'll be goodbye doPDF, and I don't know what I'll do then!) 

I have also used portable IrfanView for creating PDFs out of graphics images, and it is another tool in my portable applications arsenal.  I haven't used it much, but it seems to have done a fine job for the times that I have used it.  My only wish is that IrfanView could let me view CAD drawings (.dwg and .dwg) as Autodesk's CAD viewer is a buggy, sucky, POS.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. - Groucho Marx

Curt

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2009, 09:12:36 AM »
Thanks, grapeshot, for this thorough, vivid narrative :-)


Regarding IrfanView:

Quote
Plugins updated after the version 4.25:

# CAD Image Plugin (version 7.2.1.7) - Installer or ZIP - fixes init/registry problem on some systems (for SVG, DWG, DXF, CGM, PLT, HPGL files)


Edited:
Quote
# CADImage - (version 7.0.0.3): allows IrfanView to read DXF/DWG/HPGL/CGM/SVG files (Shareware, third party plugin).
Newest versions under: http://www.cadsoftto...irfanviewplugins.zip
« Last Edit: December 30, 2009, 09:33:53 AM by Curt »

fenixproductions

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2009, 11:27:16 AM »
2Curt
Did you really check this plugin? Is it working nicely?
Last time I was trying to use it, previews were horrible! Non-registered version had no layers / opacity support so all of my files looked like crap.

2grapeshot
I may have bad impression from your post but I doubt your "IT guys" bought licences for it. So I advise to replace this viewer with something free for commercial use…

Curt

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2009, 12:10:39 PM »
Sorry, I should of course have written that I haven't tried these plugins.

---
Also, about the second plugin:

Quote from: cadsofttools
CS_CGM.DLL, CS_DWG.DLL, CS_DXF.DLL, CS_HPGL.DLL, CS_SVG.DLL (CS_xxx.DLL) and CADImage.DLL plugins.

!!! Pay attention that IrfanView does not use CS_xxx.DLL if CADImage.DLL is in plugins directory. If you need to use CS_xxx.DLL plugin please remove CADImage.DLL from plugins folder.

Dormouse

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #68 on: December 30, 2009, 12:18:19 PM »
2grapeshot
I may have bad impression from your post but I doubt your "IT guys" bought licences for it. So I advise to replace this viewer with something free for commercial use…

I thought that doPDF and PDF-Xchange Viewer were both free for commercial use.

tomos

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Re: Free PDF tools review?
« Reply #69 on: December 30, 2009, 12:27:32 PM »
I thought that doPDF and PDF-Xchange Viewer were both free for commercial use.

fully-free software for biz - image editing-viewing - PDF - printing
says yes in both cases
Tom