The use of PDF files is increasing as more people need to share highly formatted documents online. Adobe offers tools to help create and edit PDFs, but it they are expensive and can be hard to master. Several developers have produced cheaper – and often simpler – solutions. eXPert PDF is one such product.

This three-in-one program allows you to view, edit and create PDF files, and at £40, it's almost £250 cheaper than Adobe Acrobat Standard. But its appealingly low cost is offset by an unintuitive interface.

The PDF Editor allows you to do everything you would expect: adding and deleting text, changing formatting, adding images and annotations, and bolting on password protection. When you are working on specific objects within the document, a useful toolbar appears, revealing their properties.

You can control the security of your PDFs by adding password protection, 128bit encryption and limits on particular tasks. To create a PDF you can either right-click on it within the folder or use the PDF creation buttons that are automatically placed in the Word and Excel toolbars. As well as being able to convert your documents into PDFs, you can turn them into images. The software supports conversion to a range of formats including Jpeg, Jpeg 2000, GIF, Tiff, BMP and others.

eXPert's nearest rival, Nuance's PDF Converter Professional 3.0, is a more fully featured product with a better designed interface. But it costs £70, which makes it a more expensive alternative.

eXPert PDF Pro 4.0: Specs

  • Pentium II 400MHz processor or later
  • Microsoft Windows 98 SE/Me/2000/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • 30MB hard disk space
  • Pentium II 400MHz processor or later
  • Microsoft Windows 98 SE/Me/2000/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • 30MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

PDF 4.0 Pro is good value for money when you consider everything you can do with it. It might not be enough to suit a business user, but for home and home office use, it's a good, low-cost introduction to working with PDFs.

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