Hardware

Review: PDF Studio document editor

PDF Studio is a much-needed, cross-platform, suite of tools that allows the user to edit, annotate, extract, and do just about anything to or for a PDF document except create it.

Most enterprises depend upon PDFs in one form or another. Whether it is to create brochures, forms, documents, whatever - you need to use PDF files. Most people assume there are only a few choices for creating/editing PDF documents. Having a tool that can work across all operating systems can be a must-have for any enterprise/business with a heterogeneous network of computers. PDF Studio, from Qoppa Software, is a much-needed, cross-platform, suite of tools that allows the user to edit, annotate, extract, and do just about anything to or for a PDF document except create it.

Specifications

  • Platform availability: Windows, OS X, Linux
  • Programming platform: Java
  • Developer: Qoppa Software
  • Pricing: $60.00 USD per license
  • Additional information

Who's it for?

PDF Studio is perfect for any business or enterprise that needs a cost-effective solution for PDF manipulation.

What problem does it solve?

PDF Studio can solve a multitude of PDF problems that, in some cases, would require more than one application to handle.

Standout features

  • Scan to PDF: Using your scanner you can scan documents directly to PDF
  • Comment: Annotate your PDF documents with easy to use comments
  • Text search/extract: Search text within a PDF and extract text from PDF documents
  • File Embedding: Embed files in your PDF documents
  • Preflight: PDF/X preflight compliance
  • Bookmarks: Add/edit bookmarks within PDF documents
  • Header/Footers: Add headers and footers to your documents
  • Watermark: Add watermarks to your documents
  • Batch processing: Allows you to work, easily, with multiple PDF files
  • Interactive Forms: Fill out and Import/Export data into and out of interactive PDF forms

What's wrong?

There are two big issues with PDF Studio: The first is built into the very foundation of the tool - you can not create PDFs with PDF Studio. Instead PDF Studio is about editing PDFs, extracting text from PDFs, and scanning documents into PDFs. If PDF Studio would add the PDF creation functionality to this tool it could easily displace the competition.

The second issue is the learning curve. Of course this is a typical problem when dealing with such a powerful tool. The new-to-average user will quickly be overwhelmed with the amount of tools PDF Studio has to offer.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

PDF Studio is an outstanding entry into the PDF editing market. You will find this tool will quickly become a daily must have if you do much work with PDFs. PDF Studio's ability to manipulate PDF documents is outstanding. Any business would do well to take advantage of this gem of a bargain. Just make sure you have a tool that will allow you to create PDFs along side PDF Studio.

User rating

Have you encountered PDF Studio? If so, what do you think? Rate the unit and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of PDF Studio in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review above.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

17 comments
Tarfink
Tarfink

I began using PDF Studio in 2009 and have come to rely on it as my primary PDF tool. Though there were claims it ran sluggishly, I never found so and am very satisfied with its responsive and fast performance. I originally began using it because it was, and probably still is the best PDF editor for Linux. The thing I like best about PDF Studio is that it is cross platform, and will allow you to switch between different computers running Windows, Mac and Linux using your license.

As the previous reviewer noted, a few years ago PDF Studio lacked OCR capability but this was added in version 8 which is invaluable for converting scanned text into text-searchable documents. In version 9, the company added a “redaction function” that allows the user to remove sensitive or personal information from PDF documents.

I've found situations where Acrobat is unable to open a PDF, but PDF Studio is able to open it without any problem. It’s also significantly cheaper than Adobe Acrobat and other PDF solutions and because its been around now for years, its quite a mature, well thought out product. The company produces portable versions of PDF Studio that run on Android and Blackberry 10 mobile phone OS as well.

tech5336
tech5336

I've been using Adobe Acrobat 7 Standard on Windows XP for many years for personal and small business use.  With Microsoft ending XP support, I upgraded to Windows 8.1, which is not supported by Acrobat 7.  To continue using Acrobat, I'd either have to buy Acrobat XI Standard at $300, or subscribe to Acrobat XI Pro at $240/yr.  I looked at several other PDF Editor options and found that PDF Studio Pro 8 (http://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudio/) does everything I need at less than half the price.  Since people typically use only a small subset of a software product's features, the best thing about PDF Studio is that you can download a fully-functioning free trial to see if it does everything you need.  The trial version places a watermark and header on every page, so make sure you only test it out on copies of your documents.  The trial version will warn you about this when you attempt to save a document.

Earlier versions of PDF Studio had significant drawbacks, such as no OCR capability, but that's been fixed in version 8.  It seems to have all the features of Acrobat 7 and more.  In particular, the Pro version lets you do batch operations such as applying headers and watermarks to multiple files simultaneously.  It has a few minor shortcomings compared to Acrobat 7:  You can't wrap the display of long bookmarks, but version 9 will apparently display the full boomark as a tooltip.  If you want to modify print options such as auto-rotate, page scaling, and whether to print annotations, you have to do it via Edit / Preferences / Print instead of in the Print Dialog.  Unlike Acrobat, PDF Studio doesn't include a PDF printer driver to create PDFs from other applications.  Many applications such as Microsoft Office and Open Office have that feature built in, but if you want to create a PDF from other applications such as your browser, you'll need to download a free PDF printer driver such as doPDF or CutePDF Writer.

Overall, PDF Studio Pro does everything I need and more, at less than half the price of Adobe Acrobat.  It's well worth checking out.

myersrl
myersrl

In your list of standout features you list: * Scan to PDF: Using your scanner you can scan documents directly to PDF....... * Interactive Forms: Create/edit interactive PDF forms Then in the next sentence under What's Wrong, you state "There are two big issues with PDF Studio: The first is built into the very foundation of the tool - you can not create PDFs with PDF Studio..... " unless you are referring only to creation out of normal office application products.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

as the only PDF documents we create are from our original source text documents we create in Open Office. So to make a PDF we just hit the icon on the tool bar and bingo, we have a pdf version. all done in seconds.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What application does your organization use to create and edit PDFs? Do you stick with Adobe or use a third-party app?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

That line was edited for clarification. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

jlwallen
jlwallen

that was an error that i missed correcting. what PDFStudio can do is fill in interactive forms, export, and import interactive form data. you can not create interactive forms. what is nice about this feature though is that it allows you to create a data sheet and import the data into the interactive forms.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

We use Word to make PDFs, but we have to use something else to do annotations and other editing and manipulations. Can Open Office edit and otherwise manipulate PDFs?

peter
peter

Adobe Illustrator has good support for viewing and editing PDF files. To create PDF files its worth trying the open source PDFCreator http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/. When my local print shop was having problems with my PDFs created from Publisher 2003 I explored the quality of the PDF created by various PDF writing packages using a trial copy of Adobe Illustrator. All packages I had (both commercial and freeware) created some unexpected results such as sliced up images and poor rendition of EPS graphics. Whilst not being perfect PDFCreator seemed to be the best of those I had and I now use it in preference to other packages. The Office 2007 PDF creator addin is also very good, and the best approach for creating PDFs from Publisher (but of course this only works if you have Office 2007).

bbarnes
bbarnes

We use it and we like it. This product can OCR a scanned document PDF directly into an editable Word file and its accuracy is unsurpassed according to reviews. It can also create PDF's from other files. It retails for $100 but I have seen it on Buy.com for $60.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

since I've the original document I make changes there and create a new PDF as required.

fiona8912
fiona8912

I know Adobe Acrobat pro/standard has many tools to edit a pdf file like touchup text tool, extract pdf pages and create a pdf file. But except for that, I come across many tools have been divided into creator and editing tool of pdf files. For common pdf creation, I make use of the add-in pdf creator of Ms Office suite. And edit existing adobe pdf documents with a PDF editor. It really helps me a lot e.g. you can write on pdf file as you do in word document

terry
terry

We bought Nuance, admittedly a previous version which we bought a year ago, and have found it very ordinary. OCR is OK but nothing to write home about. It has now been removed. We use the CutePDF suite & find it quite good. Like most PDF creators it installs as a printer driver so you "print" your file to PDF. The author listed only three (more expensive) comparable products. If you google pdf software you will find a shirt load of them. Many are very good , with wide ranging capability and quite cheap (unlike Adobe who always add two noughts on the end of any of their prices). The main difficulty is deciding which is best for you.