Like it or not PDF is a format that just keeps growing in popularity and Adobe has a fair monopoly on it with Acrobat. However, as good as that program is it does have some short-fallings and the number two player in the market, Nuance's PDF Converter, has today been refreshed with a new version aiming to equal, and sometimes better, Acrobat for a fraction of the price.
This latest iteration brings with it a slew of new features. Foremost of these is support for Microsoft's XLM-based docx, xmlx and pptx formats, allowing convections from and to these from PDF while maintaining the formatting and page structuring whichever way that conversion goes - something Acrobat can struggle with at times.
Other enhancements include a document comparison tool, useful when comparing drafts of legal documents, document splitting and re-assembly, and a fairly interesting email archiving function, whereby messages are stored as PDF files with attachments and so forth preserved inside the document - certainly a novel solution to mailbox size limits. Nuance also makes a fairly big deal out of the new enhanced redaction capabilities which aim to eliminate not just visible text but hidden fields and metadata too.
Also worth noting is that the PDF Converter 5 also brings support for Microsoft's XPS format, the later company's own ‘same-as-paper' rival to PDF. While the latest versions of Office do support saving as PDFs, it's pretty clear that Microsoft is going to want to push its own format going forward, so adding support at this stage is a good bit of future-proofing.
As an office-orientated program PDF Converter also offers built-in interfacing with several network-based document management suites. Again, not the worlds most exciting feature, but one Acrobat can't offer and which may prove fairly welcome in a busy corporate environment. More fundamentally, and the real clincher for many, PDF Converter is also significantly cheaper then Acrobat. While the latter will cost around £280 for a single license Nuance's solution is only around £99 and you can grab a copy as of now should you so wish.