The most important considerations for choosing PDF software

by Guillermo Gonzalez, Solutions Consultant

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For more than two decades, PDF has been the go-to tool for ensuring everyone can view documents, no matter which platform they’re on and it’s become even more critical in the BYOD, multi-device, cloud-storage world we live and work in. Many people turn to free PDF readers when they need to view a PDF, however, those only go so far—especially at work. If you wish to create or edit PDFs, it may be time to move beyond the simple PDF viewer to a more feature-rich PDF editor. But which one?

Of course, we at Foxit have our favorite. But we’re not the only ones who put PhantomPDF at the top of the list. In fact, more than 525 million users and well-known brands such as Google, Amazon and Dell have made our PDF editing software their choice.

Not surprisingly, Adobe Acrobat has been one of the top options, but it’s among the priciest, which puts it out of reach of most individuals and small businesses. Even mid-size businesses and enterprises have balked at Acrobat’s per-unit licensing costs. In response to this, a market place has emerged offering other PDF editor choices with an array of price points.

Here’s what we consider the most important features for a PDF editor, especially if you’re going to use it in the workplace.

Ease of use

Intuitive software is a must for users of all experience levels. Even the most common tasks should be easy to perform, or users will never elevate to more complex features. The PDF editor you choose should put all the most common features forward in a familiar interface that makes ramp up a non-event.

Ability to create and edit PDFs

As mentioned, if you need more than viewing PDF files, a PDF editor will be required. When selecting a PDF editor look for one that gives you familiar, desktop-publishing capabilities such as the ability to input text and add images; insert objects, images and videos; and lay out the document in reflow mode like a Word Processor.

You should be able to change the document layout by moving text boxes, changing their size, or adjusting how text is justified—and your PDF editor should be smart enough to automatically flow text as you make changes.

Finally, professional documents should be made dynamic and feature-rich with the ability to add stamps, watermarks, headers, footers, etc., so you never feel the need to reach for ordinary desktop publishing software instead.

Scan and OCR

If you’re striving towards a paperless office, you need a PDF editor that connects with your scanner so that you can digitize paper documents and convert them to editable PDF documents.

You’ll want Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capabilities so that you can turn images of documents (which is what most scans are) into full-fledged text you can edit and search for. The best PDF editors can even identify characters and words within images.

Collaboration

Document collaboration is essential, so your PDF editor should allow for multiple participants. It should give you features like shared review and annotation so that it fits with everyday team workflows.

In that same spirit, a good PDF editor should allow you to open and use PDFs from common Enterprise Management Systems and cloud storage services so that it works within your business processes.

Security features

Studies show that three quarters of organizations create documents containing confidential information on a weekly basis. If yours is one of them, you’ll want security features like password protection to limit ability to open your PDF file and restrict features like printing, filling in forms, and modifying the document. You may need certificate protection to secure documents specifying unique permissions for each person. And, in our ever-more connected world, consider a PDF software that gives you the ability to change permissions and fully revoke access, even after you’ve published or shared your document.

Mobile

BYOD means many types of tablets and smartphones are being used for work. You’ll want a PDF editor that supports you when you’re on your phone or tablet so that you can view, review and annotate files anywhere. A PDF editor that offers a dedicated mobile app means that your mobile needs are taken seriously.

Support and customer service

At some point, you may need to speak to someone. Your PDF editor should come with quality customer care and support. You deserve help whenever you need it.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to say that, of course, PhantomPDF offers all these features and more. So, if you need a full-fledged PDF editor, consider putting us on your short list.


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