Most helpful positive review
237 of 240 people found the following review helpful
Simple, stable, and focused
on May 26, 2011
This software is simple to learn, and has an intuitive interface. To top it all off, it is remarkably stable.
In other words ... awesome work by the PDF Fusion team over at Corel!
I have been using the Standard and Professional versions of Adobe Acrobat 8 for a few years now, and have been more than happy with them. While I have longed for Acrobat X, I couldn't quite justify the price tag for an upgrade, especially given how I use this software.
My top uses of Adobe Acrobat and Distiller are:
1. printing to PDF (usually web pages or online receipts)
2. assembling scanned documents - rotating them appropriately, rearranging pages, or combining multiple files into a single document
3. redacting content (e.g., from tax returns) that I need to send to third parties
4. securing documents with a password
5. Occasionally, I use its batch processing features (esp. for adding a password to multiple documents)
As you can see, I don't quite push the envelope on being an Acrobat power user.
Well, PDF Fusion from Corel fits my needs like a glove. It is focused on the 20% of PDF manipulation functionality that you'll probably need 80% of the time.
So what can you do with it?
1. It has a PDF printer that lets you create PDFs from any application that can print, such as a web browser. (Free alternatives include CutePDF and PrimoPDF.)
2. You can assemble a new PDF by dragging and dropping pages from multiple source documents. You can then rotate, move, and even delete pages.
3. It supports all Office formats as sources. I assembled a PDF document using pages from a PowerPoint file, an Excel file, a Word document, and a Visio drawing!
4. Export PDFs as a Word document. It is rather fast - taking 2:20 mins to convert a 450 page PDF document to Word, and faithfully reproducing tables, columns, and images. There is great value here as you can now edit in Word, and then reconvert to PDF when done.
5. It lets you redact text within a PDF document, including a nifty global "find and redact" feature which instantly redacts found text literally in a jiffy.
6. The Corel PDF Batch Converter can password protect PDF documents using a simple drag and drop operation.
7. Add bookmarks to a PDF document
8. Perform basic edits to text. The word "basic" is key here. You select text and then type over it. It does not support word wrap - so text may be clipped by the page's edge.
9. Insert a new blank page to a PDF, add a Free Text control on to it - which is a RTF editor with basic control of fonts, formatting and color.
10. Email the assembled PDF file using your default email application
A typical workflow goes something like this.
First you pick the source documents you want to work with (conversion from many formats is automatic);
Next, you create a new target document which is the blank canvas that you'll fill;
Finally, you assemble your target document, using "views" that give you different ways of looking at the participating source documents and the target document. The Assembly View displays thumbnails for each document, and Page View lets you read a single page. (A third view, Flick, is reminiscent of flicking through pages on a mobile device, but has been mostly superfluous in my usage.)
Note that the important Navigation pane is only available when in Page view. This pane grants you access to the Bookmarks, Comments, and Pages tabs. (The tabs are at the bottom of this pane).
I've run this on a Windows XP machine, as well as Windows 7 32-bit, and it has worked flawlessly. However, software being software, the best way to avoid a ton of frustration is to try before you buy. I'd ***highly recommend*** that you download the online trial version of this software. You can always enter your serial number once you purchase the product, to get a fully functional copy. Note that Corel does not require the onerous activation process used by other companies.
The user manual is stellar. I am one of those people that actually reads manuals, and I found this one to be very well written.
What are some of its limitations? It does not support creating searchable PDFs from scanned documents (a biggie for me); it does not support the creation of fillable forms; it does not create PDFs from TWAIN/WIA scanners; it cannot overlay multiple pages to create a single PDF page; it cannot convert a PDF document to Excel; and it does not do side-by-side compares of PDFs.
Some of its competitors add these features - and you may want to consider Nuance's PDF converter 7 (if you can live with its DRM/activation issues) and Nitro PDF (which has some stability concerns but is currently very competitively priced). I haven't used either of these - so I can't really do a direct compare.
Updated May 27:
There's one less than intuitive warning dialog that I encountered ... "The selected configuration has security options. It will be overridden by your chosen security settings. Continue to Save?"
If you see this, the translation is that the security settings on your target document (set using the Document > Set Document Security menu) will always trump the default security settings on your Save configuration (aka profile).
IMHO - this is a questionable UX decision, since it prevents you from setting a default password on a profile that all documents you assemble should inherit.
Fortunately, there is a workaround. Use the Corel PDF Batch Converter instead. This little utility provides a very simple way of setting a password on multiple documents.
My wishlist feature? I'd prefer it scan an entire folder including sub folders setting passwords on multiple documents in one fell swoop. My workaround here is to search using Windows Explorer for all your files (incl. PDFs that you want to add a password to), and then drag and drop them en masse on to the Batch Converter. Voila!
Updated June 09:
If you want to assemble pages from a file format that is not natively supported (e.g., .TXT), a workaround is to simply print your file out to PDF first, and then use that PDF for assembly.
Updated June 15:
When converting to Microsoft Word, PDF Fusion creates an image to overlay each page. This overlaid layer contains any graphical elements and non editable text on that page. Fusion's detection is not perfect - some highly formatted text elements can end up as part of this image.
If this layer gets in the way of being able to select editable text, right click the image, and banish it to the background using "Order > Send to Back", in its context menu. With the image in the background, single clicks should allow you to get at editable text.
Updated June 21:
I encountered my first PDF where each page converted to an un-editable image in Word. I also encountered a PDF that failed to convert to DOC with an "Error in intermediate pdf conversion". Definitely not a gold star day for PDF Fusion.