One of the best features of owning a Mac is the built-in ability to create PDF files from any document, and view those files without the need for Adobe’s Reader software. But sometimes the PDF functionality that Apple has included in OS X simply doesn’t provide all of the tools we need to create, edit, and manage our documents completely, and third party software is necessary to address those discrepancies. You could spend hundreds of dollars on Adobe Acrobat of course, or you could go with a more affordable solution, such as PDFManagerUltimate by Cisdem, a software package that gives you just about everything you need to create quality PDF documents for personal or business use.
PDFManagerUltimate is a bit like the Swiss Army Knife of PDF editors. It gives you a surprising number of tools, and even if you don’t need them all, you’ll be glad you have them just in case. It’s basic interface is straightforward, easy to understand, and completely lacking in frills. But underneath its no-nonsense exterior sits a suite of tools that can help you be more productive and manage your library of PDF files more efficiently.
At its core, PDFManagerUltimate is a PDF reader and organizer. As you would expect, the software has the ability to open any PDF document that you have on your computer, which while helpful, is not particularly impressive in and of itself. But, the application also allows you to quickly, and easily organize all of your PDF documents, giving you the ability to save them in “collections” based on whatever criteria that you see fit. It also allows users to apply tags to their PDF files, making it easier than ever to search for specific documents.
Cisdem also included a number of basic editing tools with PDFManagerUltimate which many will find extremely handy as well. For instance, the software gives users the ability to add notes to any PDF file, allowing you to share your thoughts on content, formatting, or whatever other items that are deemed important. Other tools make it easy to underline, strikethrough, or highlight text, while a variety of multi-colored shapes can be added to call attention to specific sections of the document as well. Most of this functionality is incredibly easy to use, and helps to create a collaborative environment in which content creators and editors can quickly share ideas and notes.
But that isn’t all. PDFManagerUltimate also makes it a breeze to merge multiple PDF files into a single document, or extract individual pages from a larger file. It also has the ability to compress PDF files down in size, making them easier to archive, as well as transfer via email, Dropbox or some other service. It can even export specific images or text from a PDF, making it easier than ever to grab just the right piece of data. Throw in the ability to add a digital signature, as well as password protect a PDF file, and you begin to see just how powerful this software suite truly is.
Perhaps the most impressive tool however, is the ability for the software to convert any PDF file – including those that have been scanned – into another document type, such as Word, PowerPoint, or even HTML. This can come in very handy when you need to edit a document, but can’t find a digital copy anywhere. For the most part, this worked surprisingly well, although it it was most successful with PDF files created with the proper software, as opposed those that were captured via OCR functionality on a scanner.
Cisdem has created an impressive suite of tools for PDF management with this application, but it isn’t going to completely replace Adobe’s Acrobat software for content creators. For instance, you can’t edit text directly with PDFManagerUltimate, so if you have to correct a simple spelling or punctuation error, you’ll need to find another method. Similarly, you can’t create PDF documents from scratch either, so you’ll be reduced to using a different piece of software first, then converting it to the proper format.
Still, the application does put a lot of powerful functionality right at the user’s fingertips, and it probably offers more tools than most people will ever need. I found it extremely useful for combining multiple PDFs for instance, and I appreciated the ability to convert those documents for editing in other software. Making it easy to organize PDF collections is just icing on the cake, although it is much appreciated as well. I would have liked to have seen more options for editing a document of course, but as it stands, this is a good collaborative tool for sharing notes and offering input on document creation.
Considering that Cisdem sells PDFManagerUltimate for just $69.99, I would say it is a powerful alternative to traditional PDF software at a bargain price. Just be aware of its limitations ahead of time, and you’ll have a tool that is powerful enough to handle the needs of the vast majority of users.