Converting PDFs (at a reasonable price) without losing the formatting — or your temper.

Back in November 2010 I wrote about Nitro Software’s free PDF to Word web-based application for converting PDF files (with graphics) to editable Word files (with the graphics more or less intact).

Since then, I’ve invested in Docudesk’s deskUNPDF convertor, which costs about $70 for a single-user licence (add another 14 or 20 dollars if you want 2- or 3-year “new-version assurance”, i.e. access to up-grades).

I chose deskUNPDF because it’s available for Macs and, as a desk-top application, solves the confidentiality problem posed by web-based apps. I’d also been finding that Nitro’s PDF-to-Word conversion was taking longer and longer (hours, sometimes) to process. A final advantage with Docudesk is that it produces cleaner and more complete conversions — with PDF to Word, some table and graphs had remained difficult to edit.

Windows users will probably have a wider range of options, but as a Mac user I think deskUNPDF is a good investment.

If you’ve made any good software discoveries that boost your productivity, share them in the comments!

By Marian Dougan

3 Responses

  1. Sounds handy, though I confess that when I send a PDF it is usually because I don’t want anyone messing with it!

    1. Same here, I don’t want anyone messing with my PDFs. But translating a PDF requires a good PDF to Word software (or a lot of hair to pull out). Thanks for the tip!

    2. Yes, there’s a bit of a contradiction here. The problem for translators is that clients sometimes send PDFs with lots of tables and/or graphs and diagrams that need to be translated (the text elements, that is). There are workarounds in Word to recreate some of the formatting, but they’re still time-consuming. If you can convert the PDF and keep the formatting intact, you can then translate within the document and recreate the look of the original.

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