Able2Extract Converter 10

This is one of the most useful PDF programs I have seen. It displays PDFs in a reasonable way, it allows you to edit those PDFs, and it can convert the PDFs to a number of different formats. The program is only let down by a lack of parameters for some of the conversion types.

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Pros

Cons

Review

For the purpose of testing this program I used an electronic copy of a magazine to test most of the conversions and an encrypted list of names and addresses to test the rest. Note that I did not test the Publisher or AutoCad options as I do not currently have software available to view the results. All of the convert options allow you to select part or all of the document and where part is selected only that part will be converted to the desired format. The program ignores any encryption intended to protect the PDF content and allows you to edit or convert the document.

Converting to Excel or OpenOffice Calc. The Excel option offers both a standard and custom conversion option. With the custom option you can define where the columns are properly in the document so as to get a near perfect extraction from the PDF. A minor inconvenience is that the columns need to be set separately for each page. The only error I noticed was that some phone numbers got converted into numbers and hence lost their leading zero. The standard Excel conversion and OpenOffice Calc both get the columns mixed up when there are multiple spaces between text that belongs in a single column (eg. the double space before the postcode in an address).

Converting to CSV. This provides the same options as for Excel and gives equivalent results.

Converting to Word or OpenOffice Writer. A standard conversion to Word works really well with the layout of the content being retained properly. Only the custom font for the publication title was converted to a different font. Word conversion also offers additional options for extracting frames or text only. The OpenOffice Writer extract was not as good with fonts/line spacing being changed resulting in what was supposed to be the underline for a heading appearing several lines above the heading and the text disappearing out of the bottom of the page.

Converting to PowerPoint or OpenOffice Impress. Extra parameters would really help with these options. In both cases the input was portrait but the output was landscape. With PowerPoint this meant white space at the right of each slide and the bottom of each page chopped off. With OpenOffice Impress the content was rearranged in an attempt to fit the space on the slides resulting in a jumbled mess.

Converting to HTML gives near excellent results in so far as the appearance of the content is concerned. The one thing that I wouldn't try to do though is to attempt to edit the results. The appearance is achieved by saving the background of each page as an mage and then using absolute positioning to position all the content over that background. Some of the text does extend slightly outside of the area it should be in.

Convert to Image. This provides a number of options including selecting the type of image (BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF) as well as allowing you to set the dimensions or scale to use. One image will be created for every page of the original PDF.

The edit options provided by this program are quite reasonable and making minor corrections to documents, combining documents and rearranging pages in documents can all be easily done. The program also displays the documents so well that a separate reader or editor for PDFs should not be required.

Overall the conversions this program does are inconsistent. The Excel and CSV conversions provide you with the opportunity to set parameters that ill get the conversion right. The Word and HTML options produce good results without needing parameters. Unfortunately with the files I tested with the PowerPoint and OpenOffice conversions produced unusable output with no way to fix it. Of course I picked a rather complex document for these tests and these options would presumably produce quite reasonable output for most documents.

Download Able2Extract Converter.

 

This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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