Apps

Five utilities for PDF files

Brien Posey lists five utilities available for viewing, editing, and converting PDF files.

   

PDF utilities
 

For many years, PDF files have been one of the most commonly used file formats for storing documents. When it comes to PDF files, Acrobat Reader arguably gets the most attention, but there are numerous other applications and utilities available for viewing, editing, and converting PDF files. Here are five such utilities.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

1.  Free PDF to JPG

Free PDF to JPG is a free utility for converting a PDF file into a JPG image (Figure A). In addition, this utility can convert PDF files to BMP, PNG, or TIFF formats. Converted documents can adhere to the default size, or you can choose from three other standard images sizes. Probably the best thing about this utility is that you can perform batch conversions.

Figure A

 

Figure A
 

Free PDF to JPG.

2.  DeskPDF Studio X

DeskPDF is a utility for creating, editing, and even signing PDF files. It costs $79.95 (USD), but a free 10-day trial version is available for download.

DeskPDF Studio X is a very feature rich application that offers numerous capabilities. The software allows PDFs to be created from just about any type of file (Figure B), and you can also convert PDFs to Microsoft office documents, HTML, XML, or to various image formats. The software also contains functionality that allows you to create PDF forms containing interactive objects, such as check boxes.

Figure B

 

Figure B
 

DeskPDF Studio X.

3.  Wondershare PDF Editor

Wondershare PDF Editor is a utility for creating, editing, and converting PDF files. It costs $59.95 (USD), but a free trial version is available for download. Documents that are converted using the trial version contain watermarks.

The Wondershare PDF Editor’s feature set is actually very similar to that of DeskPDF Studio X, but I found Wondershare’s interface to be slightly more intuitive. One of Wondershare PDF Editor’s coolest features (that also exists in DeskPDF Studio X) is its OCR capabilities (Figure C). If you scan paper documents to create PDFs, Wondershare can perform optical character recognition on the document as a way of making it editable and searchable.

Figure C

 

Figure C
 

Wondershare PDF Editor.

I also liked Wondershare’s Stamp feature (Figure D), which allows you to place a number of different preconfigured stamps on documents. The stamps say things like Approved, Not for Public Release, and Sign Here.

Figure D

 

Figure D
 

Wondershare's Stamp feature.

4.  PrimoPDF

PrimoPDF is a free utility for converting documents to PDF format (Figure E).

Figure E

 

Figure E
 

PrimoPDF utility.

The utility consists of a single desktop icon, which you can click on to change the output settings. When you are ready to convert a document, you must drag the document to the PrimoPDF icon. Upon doing so, the Windows printing interface will open. PrimoPDF acts as a printer (Figure F) but dumps the output to a PDF file rather than to a print device.

Figure F

 

Figure F
 

PrimoPDF print capability.

5.  ParmisPDF

ParmisPDF is a PDF editor that allows you to create or modify PDF files. It costs $59.95 (USD), but a free trial version is available for downloads. The trial version places watermarks on documents. 

This feature-rich application seems to have all of the basics covered, and also includes some rather nice advanced features, such as the ability to process documents in batches.

ParmisPDF also includes an always useful Mail Merge feature (Figure G) and supports Bates Numbering. I especially liked the extraction feature. While many PDF editors will allow you to export documents to alternate formats, this one takes extraction to the next level by allowing you to export images and text blocks independently. There is also a feature for extracting data from a document.

Figure G

 

Figure G
 

ParmisPDF utility.

What tool(s) do you use for viewing, editing, and converting PDF files? Share your feedback in the discussion thread below.

 

 

20 comments
pdfcool1
pdfcool1

Thanks for giving me such innovative information above here.These are really very informative and helpful or me.There are verities of tools are available for creating pdf files.PDF Cool is of the most simplest and reliable tools which convert pdf in other file formats.For more details visit :- http://pdfcool.com/

ouspenskif
ouspenskif

I'm using BullZip PDF printer (free) for at least 6 years and it is the simplest but configurable tool to create not only PDF files, but JPEG and other images formats as well from any printable document. PDFill is also wonderful with a lot of possibilities. But at my opinion the best one for editing is Foxit PDF Editor. Do not forget the Chrome capability to convert to PDF directly and most interesting - it keeps web links alive.

andygr54
andygr54

I've used PDFill PDF Tools for a while. This has both paid and free parts and prints to file. Any comments on this would be helpful.

angelmee
angelmee

You forgot to mention one of the best and easiest PDF writers -- Win2PDF    It is a free download from Dane Prairie (for Non-Commercial Use) and it is a printer on your system -- Have a file you want to make as PDF, just click Print and choose Win2PDF.  I have tried other PDF printers over the years but I decided to stick with Win2PDF for the reliability and ease of use it gives me.  It does give you an extra page, but that is okay, it is a link to the Win2PDF site so others can download and use tis great program.    I have been using Wn2PDF since I found out about it in 1998.  Fifteen years of using a free program (personal use only) has to tell you how great and easy it is.  Do not take my word for it, check Win2PDF out yourself and find out what I already know.  It is a fantastic printer utility for PDF files

dfedor
dfedor

I've tried many different PDF tools and for me winners are BullZIp PDF printer for creating PDF (and other formats like JPEG, TIF etc) documents and Foxit PDF editor for all other tasks. Very rich functionalities are in PDFill PDF editor with PDF Writer and Tools. I'd recommend also PDFtk for those who remember how to create batch files or to work from the command line. And Chrome browser has an option to save to PDF when printing pages - very useful tool and it keeps all links working. 

boucaria
boucaria

One task i wish the "basic" converters ( read: free ) would do, is convert the page as it appears on the web page. Most appear not to do that directly from a web page, especially if the page is written in a cascading style sheet. There are a few ways around that, but most are of the "print and scan" variety which is kind of absurd. Alternatively, I can get a screen grab of the page, and then PDF it. Either way cumbersome, since the links are often invaluable, so I have to go back and grab the hyperlinks to the more technical blogs. Even with the pay for items, it gets aggravating since so few seem to easily grab local versions of the page. I really wish more software was truly WYSIWYG.

mpls-man
mpls-man

I really have a need to save web pages for research and future learning references. I use Adobe Acrobat to save web pages on my desktop because I use Adobe's Creative Suite. Since my beginning in web development in 2000, both Flash (even when owned by Macromedia) and Adobe Acrobat are much more susceptible to hackers than other PDF programs aforementioned here.


As a prior Mac User of eight years, one of the few perks I miss is the marquee/screen to PDF. I lasted as far as OS X.3. I bought FoxIt for my Windows netbook and found it to be an adequate PDF editor, but it doesn't save converted web pages with HOT links. Neither does PRIMO PDF. PRIMO is still a great little program.


So, I searched onward and found an add-on for Firefox called Print Pages to PDF that preserves HOT links with PDF conversion. Adobe Acrobat does this as well. Every once in a while, Firefox will upgrade and the add-on will be incompatible with the upgrade, but it doesn't take them very long for the PDF add-on to upgrade as well. Beware, however, of many PDF add-ons that actually send your material to a .com where the conversion takes place.


I wish Adobe Acrobat was more secure because it really is the best PDF software editor and converter, but for saving web pages, Firefox's Print Pages to PDF add-on works very well.

BrokenEagle
BrokenEagle

How do you say, "Preview" is included in OS X" without sounding like a Mac fanatic?

rlcohen
rlcohen

Can we please stop saying “It costs $59.95 (USD), BUT a free trial version is available for download” in these reviews?  Where is the “but” in this statement?  Rather say “It costs $59.95 (USD) and a free trial version is available.”


rla2680
rla2680

Another +1 for bluebeam.......has a great document collaboration component to it as well.

Krandich
Krandich

Please be a little more careful about sending your readers to download sites like CNET.   This used to be a fairly trustworthy site, but lately you'll spend more time removing the crapware that comes along with their featured download.

michilds
michilds

Cute PDF has been around for years. Installs as a printer and is accessed from the print menu. Virtually anything you can print can be "printed" to .PDF with this little program. Latest version supports 64bit Windows and Windows 8. Totally free!

guillegr123
guillegr123

Foxit reader does almost everything, from OCR, voice reading, printing, signing, bulk converting, stamping, commenting, underlining, drawing and many more, for free.

pstern53
pstern53

As an AutoCAD/Autodesk user, I have used Bluebeam Revu for a while, and found it a valuable tool, especially if you spend time marking up documents and using it during a WebEx.  There is a free trial, if you want to see what it can do for you.

Gisabun
Gisabun

@Krandich I usually go to the developer's site to make sure it is the latest. Yup. CNET=crapware.

angelmee
angelmee

@michilds I tried Cute PDF years ago and had problems.  I wil stick with the free Win2PDF writer from Dan Prairie,

dave
dave

Completely agree. I've been using Cute PDF for more years than I have fingers. It just works.

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