July 2, 2009

A nifty Utility to convert Acrobat PDF documents

I've lost count of the number of times folks ask me: "Can I edit a PDF file?". The short answer has been "Sort of....". Creating a PDF file is easy. More and more programs are including it as an output option and there are several free printer drivers that will do the job.,

But to edit an Adobe PDF file you needed to buy the Full Acrobat product which would cost you hundreds of dollars (USD). Even then, editing it is basically primitive. You can edit strings, but serious editing is just too hard and, in many cases, not possible.

I was recently given the opportunity to try out a product from InvestInTech called
Able2Extract Professional 6. It will convert any Acrobat PDF file into Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint as well as Open Document format, HTML and text.

You can get a 7 day trial at:
http://www.investintech.com/prod_downloadsa2e_pro.htm

The program took everything I could throw at it and never blinked. I only had two problems:
  1. Converting PDF files that were created by a scanner. In every case, the text was converted perfectly, but any graphics (images, lines, etc.) was dropped.
  2. Graphics in tables. I converted a Word document with a table that formed a checklist. The left column of cells had a checkbox in it. For some reason, the checkbox was not converted. The rest of the document, including formatting (bullets, lines, shading, etc.) was done perfectly.

Other than that, I found it to work flawlessly. I suspect that there will be more situations where the conversion drops things, but even there, what you get converted can constitute most of the hard work.

This is definitely worth a download and test. For $35 USD, I consider it a terrific bargain....

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