The Portable Document Format (PDF) has become the standard for distributing documents within an organization or making them available to customers. Many files and even books are saved as PDF to allow the file size to be compressed and the document to remain protected.

I discovered an application recently that will allow PDF documents to be converted to other editable formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, as well as Open Office, RTF, TXT, and HTML. The application is called Able2Extract, and in the few days I have used it, the possibilities with this application seem numerous.

Able2Extract has a 7-day free trial. Following the trial, the Professional version is $129.99 and the standard version is 99.99 from the manufacturer’s Web site. For those who need to rework PDF documents on a regular basis, this may be a feasible investment.

Suppose someone sends me a PDF quote for a new Server appliance and I need to sign the quote and send it on to purchasing. With Able2Extract I can convert the PDF file to a Word document and add a signature. Then push it back out to PDF and send it on its way, signature included.

The interface is pretty simple as well — another good feature.

To use Able2Extract, complete the following steps:

1.       Open a PDF file within Able2Extract.

2.       Select the data within the PDF that you want to convert. Note: Using Select All from the Edit menu for large PDF documents may cause a delay.

3.       Select the output format from the toolbar at the top of the application.

4.       Select the type of conversion within your chosen application that you wish to perform, as in Figure A.

Figure A

What type of conversion should be performed?

5.       Then, choose the file type to create — in this case, a .doc or .rtf (Figure B).

Figure B

Select the type of file to create.

6.       Click the Convert button to begin the process of creating your new document.

The Able2Extract application also supports batch mode, which allows multiple files to be converted to a specified type, using that output type’s default settings (for Word, the documents created will use the .doc file type). However, as of this writing, there is no support for batch conversion to other formats, like RTF. This is a feature that might prove very useful and could make it into future releases.

Able2Extract is a very useful tool in the event that documentation is inherited from other employees. Many times these documents are not kept in their original format. With Able2Extract, that’s not a problem.

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