ScanSoft rolling out enhanced PDF conversion tools

Next week ScanSoft, Inc. will officially unveil version 2.0 of its popular PDF Converter for Microsoft Word software (Windows only), which can turn PDFs into formatted MS Word documents and forms.

In addition, the company has developed a new, related program called PDF Create! that will handle tasks at the other end of the spectrum — used to ‘turn all of your PC documents, drawings and images into industry-standard PDF files.’ Each product will be sold separately, but the company is also bundling the two with additional functionality in a $99 package called PDF Converter Professional that is particularly designed to meet the document-handling needs of enterprise users. Adobe Acrobat is not required.

ScanSoft considers the combined Pro package to be its ‘low-priced alternative to Acrobat,’ says Chris Strammielo, a ScanSoft product manager, a set of tools that offers the features most useful in an office environment without all the extra high-end capabilities that the majority of workers typically don’t take advantage of. The PDF Create functionality, in that sense, will compete directly with Adobe’s Acrobat Elements software, the latter which is only sold by volume licensing in quantities of at least 1,000 seats. PDF Converter 1.0 was the ‘most successful product launch we’ve ever had,’ says Strammielo, adding that in first three months the company sold ‘more than 70,000 seats.’ The forthcoming versions of both products include wizard-like assistants to help automate routine processes.

Some other features and capabilities include:

PDF Converter 2.0 — Key Features

  • Precise Conversion of PDF into Microsoft Word: PDF Converter instantly turns PDF files into fully-formatted Microsoft Word documents — complete with text, columns, tables and graphics. Leveraging the world’s best document conversion technology from ScanSoft, users have the option of duplicating the original with flowing columns and wrapped graphics, or creating a true-page representation using text and graphics boxes.

  • Convert PDF Forms: PDF Converter includes Logical Form Recognition (LFR), advanced form conversion technology used by the IRS, Secret Service and other leading organizations. Now users can turn static PDF forms into Microsoft Word forms that can be edited or filled.

  • PDF Converter Assistant: PDF Converter 2 delivers unmatched ease-of-use via the PDF Converter Assistant. PDF documents can now be converted even faster because there is no need to launch Microsoft Word. This direct conversion method speeds up the entire process and allows the creation of editable documents for any application that supports .doc or .rtf formats.

  • PDF Thumbnail Preview and Page Ranges: Converting large PDF documents is now a breeze with PDF Converter 2. It is easy to preview the pages within a PDF file before conversion and select specific page(s) or set a page range for the conversion process so extraneous pages do not have to b e processed.

  • PDF Passwords and Encryption: PDF Converter 2 now supports using passwords to access and convert protected PDF files when additional document security is required.
  • PDF Image Files: PDF Converter 2 now processes PDF image files which are created from scanners or imaging applications into Microsoft Word documents. Advanced processing options allow the control of the number of image pages converted as well as the resolution used for embedded graphics.

  • Charts and Graphs: PDF Converter 2 separates graphical elements allowing them to be saved as individual BMP or JPG files so they can be easily pasted from Microsoft Word into Powerpoint and other popular desktop applications.

  • Application Integration: Developed in collaboration between Microsoft and ScanSoft, PDF Converter is seamlessly integrated into the ‘File Open’ menu in Microsoft Word. Short cut buttons and right mouse access is available within Microsoft Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer and the Microsoft Windows desktop.

PDF Create — Key Features

  • Industry-Standard PDF: Supports PDF v1.3, v1.4, and the latest v1.5; also supports PDF XML tags. Creates 100 percent, industry-standard PDF files that can be read, printed, or processed by popular PDF viewer programs.

  • High-Quality PDF: Creates the highest-quality PDF files from nearly all Microsoft Windows? applications, retaining the precise layout of the original document.

  • Optimized, Small File Sizes: Creates highly optimized PDF files, resulting in dramatically smaller file sizes. Supports industry-standard compression options, including loss-less and JPG 2000, and enables optimization for the Web.

  • Passwords and Security: Users can set passwords on PDF files, requiring others to know the password in order to view or print the document. 40-bit and 128-bit encryption can also be applied to the PDF file, with the user able to control whether the document can be viewed, printed, edited, copied or annotated.

  • Automated Batch Creation: The PDF Create! Assistant makes it fast and easy to create PDF documents — from multiple files and multiple file types at the same time. Users can use drag & drop to add files to the batch, or can simply select the range of files they wish to turn into PDF.

  • Merging Documents: Users can select a range of original files, and have them copied as PDF files — into separate PDF files or into a single combined PDF document. Users can also merge multiple files into a single PDF page-by-page, which is ideal for merging letter text into a letterhead template document, or to merge form data into a form template.

  • Automatic PDF-to-e-Mail: Users can choose to have PDF files automatically added as an attachment to an e-mail message, simplifying the sharing of documents over the Internet.

  • Watermarks and Stamps: Users can apply watermarks and stamps to their documents, choosing from a pre-made selection, or creating custom versions. Custom watermarks can be applied from other PDF files, or created within the PDF Create! Assistant.

  • Short-cuts and Application Integration: PDF Create! allows users to create PDF files from practically every PC application, accessing its functionality through a printer interface. ScanSoft has integrated toolbar icons for PDF Create! with a number of popular applications, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. Users can also create PDF using the right-mouse shortcut in Windows Explorer.

  • Advanced Font Embedding, Graphics and Page Size Controls: Supports font embedding for all standard and non-standard fonts, and also supports shading and transparency conversions. Users can select the graphics resolution of the resulting PDF, and can control PDF page size and orientation. The product supports the creation of custom page sizes and automatic scaling in inches, millimeters and points.

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