Qoppa Software PDF Studio 7 is a Java-based application to author, view and edit PDF files, running on Windows, Mac and Linux. 

While Adobe Acrobat Pro sets the obvious benchmark in this field, it's twice the price of Qoppa's offering. PDF Studio doesn't feature Acrobat Pro's 3D or video support, but all the standard PDF handling tools are here.  

You can manipulate existing PDF documents - correct text, split, merge and rotate individual pages and add headers and footers. There are the usual security features for password-protecting documents, but also some nice document review tools such as a loupe for magnification.  

PDF Studio 7 also features typewriter (for adding text), watermark and rubber-stamp tools which are less sophisticated than those in Acrobat, but quicker to apply. 

Scanning to PDF is also a quick and efficient process. However you can't search and use the scanned text for specific words or phrases, unlike the Recognize Text workflow in Acrobat Pro or the OCR features in more evenly priced Windows packages, such as, for example, PDF-Xchange Pro from Tracker Software, Nitro Pro 7 or Expert PDF 8 from Visagesoft. 

It’s worth noting that there is less competition on the Mac, with ABBYY’s FineReader Express Edition and PDF OCR X being notable OCR-equipped and cheaper exceptions.

Unlike most of these however, PDF Studio 7 is able to sign into an Acrobat.com workspace and access the files stored therein, although the full collaborative abilities of Acrobat Pro aren't matched.  

PDF Studio 7 integration

PDF Studio Pro seamlessly integrates with Acrobat.com, Google Docs, and Sharepoint, allowing users to access and manage files from their account. Files are converted and opened as PDFs

It can do the same for Google Docs and Sharepoint accounts, allowing you to also upload files, manage collections and invite other users to view the cloud-based documents via a share facility. Among the competitors mentioned above, only Nitro Pro 7 seems to offer something close to this useful facility.

When importing from either online or local sources, PDF Studio was able to convert several non-PDF file types into PDF documents.  

The supported file types are a bit limited - basic image formats, Word .doc and .docx files and standard text (.txt) files. If rich multimedia assets are important in your PDF workflow, PDF Studio isn't really of interest; however adding a sound clip via a microphone is an option when using the annotation toolbar.

Talking of toolbars, most of the other PDF suites mentioned also offer a MS Office toolbar add-in as well as greater all-round integration with Microsoft Office - Qoppa hasn't followed suit. 

PDF Studio Pro offers a preflight ability, allowing a quick check of a PDF document to see if it complies with various PDF/X standards before sending it off to a printer. 

Running this rapidly threw up a preflight dialog box listing information about the file and the errors that we needed to action. It's also possible to append the Preflight report to the document for use in the prepress workflow.

PDF Studio Pro 7 preflight

The Preflight dialog lists any content in the document that is not compliant with your chosen prepress PDF specification. A range of PDF/X standards are available

Another aspect of the modern PDF workflow is the use of digital signatures. Like many PDF utilities, PDF Studio will validate any existing digital signatures upon opening a document, but it’s easy to add new, unsigned digital signature fields with a right-click. Into this we could import existing digital IDs or create a self-signed digital ID; Qoppa Software is recognised as a trusted certificate authority. 

As in Acrobat Pro, it’s possible to modify the signature appearance, in our case using a graphic of a handwritten signature. The application also offers support for PDF forms, but this is limited to the export and import of form data, and the ability to reset, highlight and flatten fields.

Qoppa Software PDF Studio 7 Pro review: Specs

  • Windows XP/Vista/7/Server
  • Mac OS X (10.4 to 10.7 Lion)
  • Linux
  • Unix
  • Intel Celeron processor
  • Java
  • Windows XP/Vista/7/Server
  • Mac OS X (10.4 to 10.7 Lion)
  • Linux
  • Unix
  • Intel Celeron processor
  • Java

OUR VERDICT

Given the tough competition, Qoppa is behind the curve by missing features such as OCR and MS Office integration, while functionality such as an Undo command is apparently being held over for another edition later in the year. In its favour one licence of PDF Studio Pro 7 can be run simultaneously on two platforms (but with the same very basic look and feel to the UI). It’s also easy to use and having a preflight facility at this price point is a bonus. Integration and conversion with Google Docs, Sharepoint and Acrobat.com provides welcome timesaving.

Find the best price