PDF Editors | PDF Creativity

by JL Beeken on 2-20-2007

PDF editors can be used for adding notes, text boxes, links, highlights, shapes, watermarks, images and more.

Before there was Passage Express I couldn’t imagine organizing so many files and types of files for presentation.

Then, in the middle of the night it came to me. I would create Descendants Book reports in PDF and attach other files in the margin. This way a reader could take a side-trip to look at maps, photos, slideshows, related stories, or even listen to me talk, and then come back to the main body of work without getting lost.

PDF editing

I could only see one downfall to this plan. Every time I created an updated Descendants Book I would have to start all over again with the attachments. So I started work on the attachments instead. The Descendants Report would come last. I made PDFs with stories, PDFs with full page photos and descriptions, PDFs with stories and photos, added maps, collected text documents, created slideshows, tried to make a filing system based on which files and photos would get attached to which Report. I was on a mission.

Then I got sidetracked into a 3-month long intricate and tangled conversation with a software developer that catapulted me, out of sheer frustration, into suddenly seeing the simplicity of MRIN digital filing, (simplicity works!) then Passage Express came along and somewhere down that railroad track I forgot all about my PDF mission. But now I’m back because this still has a place. You can read straight through a family history or you can side-track. More like how stories are actually told. It’s a treasure trove under those icons.

I scoured the web for PDF editors, even purchased a really pathetic one (Jaws) before I finally came across Zeon’s PDF Plus. If you can afford it, Adobe Acrobat ($300 Standard, $500 Pro) is smooth and refined, of course, and if I win the lottery tomorrow it’s the second thing on my list.

But if you want something more humbly priced that will still get you around inside a PDF, PDF Plus ($60) is the best I’ve found. I downloaded trials of everything I could find for weeks but that was a couple years ago. Something else may have come up since then. I’d rather not have to go through the process again. And there’s no point reading reviews by someone selling whatever it is. So if anyone knows of something they swear by please drop us a line about it

More recently, PDF Plus has undergone a major upgrade that navigates a lot better as well as offering additional features. And it’s a valiant attempt. It has about every option you could want in a PDF editor and for the most part it works. But it doesn’t like being pushed and that’s the first thing I like to do with new software: drive it to the wall and see if it’s still standing.

Perhaps this is a salient point: Over the years XP has gone from feeling like a jet plane to feeling like a water bomber on 2 pistons. So, maybe “pushing it” is just my frame of mind, not the software’s shortcoming. You can always download a trial and decide for yourself. Their tech support is much more responsive than it used to be and the hiccups I perceive may be settled by the time you’re reading this.

My method of dealing with tech support: download trials of the expensive software so I can see what’s possible, then bug the lesser companies with higher expectations.

PDF Plus

PDF Plus

This same company also sells PDF Gold which includes the print-driver side of things, but if you’ve already installed PDF Creator you won’t need it.

I move all my productions over to Passage Express as I create them. But PDFs are still the most common document type on my computer and being able to edit them adds a lot to the usual fare.

The simpler options include putting multiple PDFs together, taking them apart, adding text notes, text boxes, files of any kind, free hand drawings, watermarks, photos, clip art, even sound files. You can create or import your own clip art. Create and edit bookmarks. Execute a variety of actions through links. The list goes on.

It’s also handy for communicating research. If you’re sending a PDF over to a friend by email, you can add your remarks or embed other files. Or sound record your comments, re-save and email it. Or if someone sends you one you can edit it with your corrections and mail it back.

If you use PDFs often and wish you could do more than just look at them, a PDF editor is an indispensable tool.

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