Nuance has just released their latest version of their PDF converter Enterprise. Nuance is most popular for it’s voice recognition [Dragon NaturallySpeaking] and imaging software, such as [Omnipage/PaperPort]. They recently released a free version of their PDF viewer that’s available for anyone to download and use for everyday tasks.
But now Nuance is really putting their foot in the door on handling and generating PDFs. PDFs are pretty much the standard for swapping documents, or storing information, and it’s also Adobe Acrobat’s native ground.
With the offering that Nuance is making with their PDF converter it shows that they’re really trying to push Adobe off their pedestal, and to show them how it’s done…
When I do a review of an application, I’m reviewing the application based upon its usability, its practicality, and the raw function that brings to the users. I like to look at the applications as though if I’m going to be the one making the purchasing decisions and if the application offers everything the average users would be looking for [...]
I’ve reviewed several products from Nuance [Dragon NaturallySpeaking, PaperPort, PDF viewer...] and to be perfectly honest [and brutally at times] my reviews of PaperPort 12 and their PDF viewer were less than exalting, but I reported it as I saw it. I believe this application is a result of some good research and good developmental effort.
You see, Nuance is looking to assert themselves in the market of PDF handling. The PDF converter that Nuance is offering is at a substantially lower cost than Adobe Acrobat. The average cost of Adobe acrobat is roughly $500; in the full version of PDF converter for Nuance is only $150- it’s a huge cost savings and it’s going to make it the immediate choice over the Adobe option.
I mean, if you’ve a chance to do everything you need at about 1/3 of the price as a competing application [just because of the brand name], then you’re going to go that way; it’s just business.
Application Installation [Easy]
During the installation, we see that nuance is using the Visual C++ redistributable of 2008. I’m making some assumption that this is the same Visual C++ redistributable that was included with Dragon NaturallySpeaking v10.
The installation goes fairly standard, nothing stands out of place. If you were previously using Nuance PDF viewer or previous version of one of nuances PDF handling applications this application will ask if you want to upgrade.
Everything with the installation seemed to go okay, I didn’t receive any error messages or any questions that weren’t painfully obvious to answer.
I really liked the idea of the PDF converter; being able to convert single, or batch documents, to PDF and also have the ability to unlock PDF/XPS files from a Microsoft Office.
I’ve always have an appreciation for options during the installation of an application, not just assuming that every user will want the same settings. This way I’m allowed to choose whether, or not, I want to use this application as the default handler for PDFs, or not.
The installation process ends smoothly; absolutely no complications.
I was also very impressed with the fact that I believe that Nuance heard the response from the customers about product activation. This product/application doesn’t require Internet access.
It simply installs on the PC, you enter your name and serial number that’s been assigned to you, or provided with the package, and installation completes; it’s very complete and I think that they follow through with the installation process making it completely painless for the user.
An icon for the application was placed on my desktop as I requested from the options during installation process.
Application Impressions [Very Nice]
As you first start the application, there’s a splash screen, and it takes a second or two for the application to load some required components. But once application is loaded, the GUI interface is quite impressive, and I think it’s well laid out; to the point that you’re almost bombarded with all the different options that are available to you and what you may want to do with a PDF.
You’re not going to walk into this application for the first time thinking that this is a stripped down application. There’s plenty of bells and whistles to play with, and if I was making comparisons, I would say that from what Adobe Photoshop is to graphics, I think Nuance’s PDF Converter Enterprise version is to PDFs.
I’m glad to see that Nuance has provided a very clear and concise toolbar to show all the options that are available to the users as they’re working with PDFs, this is always refreshing. Nuance has also chose to leave the file menu available to the user and the application starts [by default].
The toolbar is completely customizable, all the functions of the toolbar can be added and/or removed based upon requirements of the user. So, if your inundated with too many options, simply strip down the toolbar until you’re comfortable.
And if you don’t like the default charcoal coloring, the application has the ability to change the décor, making the program more friendly. I believe this shows that Nuance has tried to take in a lot of advice from the users.
Also, if you want to simply learn real quick, just run the mouse over each toolbar button and it’ll tell you what it does… Nothing is a mystery.
Opening and Importing
I was really impressed with the applications wide array of import and converting tools. The application can have information scanned in, it can be pasted from the clipboard and it can open just about any office document that you can think of.
I would’ve liked to have seen more openly obvious choice of the ODF format, but most applications can save office documents in a format that’s more compatible across the board- more standard.
What is most attractive features of PDF converter is that basically any document that you’re looking at can be converted/exported to standard Microsoft Office documents [even WordPerfect], XPS document, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc…
I tested the process and one of my PDFs and the conversion process went very well; it maintained the formatting and integrity of the originating PDF once was placed into a doc format.
I think it made it really easy to get information into the system and flexible enough to where just about anyone can understand this and avoiding a learning curve.
One of the most important things that found that was striking about the PDF converter was the security options. Again, I think that Nuance developers have really sat down with some concerned/hardcore users that utilize PDF creation and manipulation on a daily basis, and have taken the suggestions and really applied them to the application.
They’ve made sure that they offer security options with either a password or a security certificate. This gives the author of the PDF the choice of which type of security they want to employ.
So Many Options…
Normally, I would try to go through each function of the application to try to evaluate and document everything that I’ve reviewed, but this application is jam packed with loads of features, and it’s virtually impossible to test everything and report back on every function, or features, that it has; this post would be huge!
It’s got everything I would expect from a PDF handler like this. I was so impressed with the number of features. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting as much as this application offers.
To wrap up my review of this application, I think the application has shown itself to be outstanding. The interface is clean, the performance is there and the application is rich in feature. This is clearly the choice for smaller businesses, or for entities that want to create quality PDFs and do so economically. This application provides the quality and flexibility that businesses are looking for, but without the huge price tag.
I know it sounds odd, especially coming from me, but I truthfully couldn’t find any downsides to this application. It’s painfully obvious from the full set of feature offerings in this application, I think this is going to prove to be a hefty problem for Adobe. I don’t see how Adobe can compete on this level, and at this price.
I would recommend this application very highly.
Lastly, the PDF Converter 7 Enterprise is $149 [there’s other versions starting at $50]. You can check out Nuance’s website for more details and comparisons.
Go to http://nuance.com/imaging/products/pdfconverter.asp or call 800-443-7077.
I hope this helps…
Until next time,