Sunday, July 06, 2014

Nuance PDF Create 5.0

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.  Minor modifications were made posting it here.

When my father was looking for work, he bought Nuance’s PDF Create 5 so that he could have a PDF version of his résumé to send out to people.  Not everyone could take the files generated by the software that we had and there was no point in making up a nice résumé only to convert it to a text file.

He already had a résumé made up, but it was for Microsoft Word.  Some places take Word while Some ask for Works.   There were a lot of places that could (or would only) take PDF files.  When we went to OfficeMax, my father’s only concern was spending the least amount of money on something that could take what he had and make it into something that the potential employer could read.  PDF Create ended up being perfect for what he needed.

I’ve since had the opportunity to use the product while looking for work, myself.  I found myself using it for the same reason:  Most places ask for a PDF file.  It really is an easy program to use, but it is very basic.  All it does is take an existing file and make it into a PDF.  I'm not sure which file types it reads automatically.  You may need to have the program that you’re converting from installed on your computer.  (This may be an issue if you have several computers.  I'd recommend installing the software on the same computer as your documents.)

Installation was as easy as any other program.  Once installed, it’s very easy to convert a file.  Simply right click on the file in question and you’ll see the drop-down menu appear.  One of the options will be “create PDF from file” with a triangle indicating a submenu.  The submenu will give you several options such as standard, draft and confidential.  I’ve tried several of these options and the only difference I’ve noticed is that the confidential version has “CONFIDENTIAL” written vertically on the left margin of the document.

At the bottom of the submenu is the word “edit”.  This gives you the choice of several options, such as keeping people from copying or printing the file.  (You can either allow for a password of disallow the various options outright.)

Once the PDF file has been created, PDF Create won’t let you change the PDF file.  If you need to make changes, you’ll have to do so to the original file or use  PDF-editing software.  (But if you’re looking at buying this, you probably don’t want to get PDF-editing software.  You just want to get the cheapest thing like we did.)

There is a slight learning curve.  When I first tested out the program, I converted a few files to make sure it worked.  It does work, but it doesn’t work instantly.  The file will appear in the directory where you intended it, but if it’s a big file, it will take a minute or two to finish.  If you select the PDF file, you’ll be able to tell when it’s finished when you finally get a preview on the side.

I’ve been able to get it to work with both Microsoft Works and Microsoft Word without problem.  When I convert from Works to PDF and upload the PDF file to a Web site, the Web site has always accepted it.  I’ve also been able to get it to convert jpeg files to PDF, although pictures are easy enough for anyone to read that I only did this to test it out and see if it works.

The only complaint is that I haven’t been able to save Web sites with much luck if I’m trying to convert the HTML file.  The text will convert, but links will be lost.  If you have any images, the images won’t always make their way into the PDF.  It’s the only really frustrating part of the program.

The only way I could see this being something of interest is because you can combine several files into one.  If you select several files at once, you’re given a few more menu options when you right click.  One is to combine files as a single PDF.  When you select this, you have to pay attention to the options.  I believe the default option is to create separate PDF files.  You have to change this to create one PDF.  The start of each file will be on a new page.  If this is a problem, I don’t really know that there’s an option to fix it except to create one original file out of the individual files first.

When doing this, the other two new menu options are to package the files and to overlay the files.  Packaging the files gives it the little side display showing each document.  It’s just a fancier display.  The overlay option is just plain weird.  It literally overlays all of the documents.   I tried this with some text files and you get everything all garbled up.  Imagine if you were to print all of the files on the same piece of paper.  That’s what it looks like.  I really have no idea why you’d want this.  If you can think of a reason, please leave a comment.

If you need to create PDF files, but you don’t want to spend $200 on Adobe’s software, I’d recommend buying this.  It’s simple and it works.  PDF files are easy enough for someone to read.  All they need to do is get Adobe’s free reader, something else I’d recommend getting. 

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