We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Publishing software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Able2Extract 6.0 Professional review

$129 (about £80) for Professional

Manufacturer: Investintech

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Extract the text and images from PDF documents into various Office or AutoCAD formats with Able2Extract.

Extract the text and images from PDF documents into various Office or AutoCAD formats with Able2Extract.

If you've ever needed to pull the text out of an Adobe PDF document, you know how frustrating it can be. The virtually universal file format doesn't exactly make it easy to re-use text from one document and paste it into another. Formatting, line-spacing, and images all conspire to make PDF documents a challenge. But Able2Extract makes child's play of this tedious task.

Able2Extract simply reads the PDF document, then spits out text, graphics, tables, and other content into an Microsoft Office format document of your choice - Word, Excel, or Powerpoint. Line spacing and formatting are preserved to the best of the program's ability: tables won't cause paragraphs to break in odd places. Nor will inline graphics, which are preserved and moved into Office documents in precisely the same location they appear in the PDF document.

The $30 premium you pay for the Professional version of the product adds in a key feature: optical character recognition, or OCR. Able2Extract Professional can read in those PDF documents that were scanned as an image file, and does a remarkably good job of not only converting the images back into text, but at reproducing the pagination, layout, and even the typeface used in the original document.

Extracting text from a PDF that had been generated using the Adobe Acrobat utility (or "Print to PDF") was a cinch; a 20-page document, with inline images, a table that text flowed around, and other details, was reproduced flawlessly in a Microsoft Word .doc file. Using Able2Extract Professional to OCR a poorly reproduced document that had originally been typed with a typewriter, then scanned crooked, was more of a challenge.

It took the program 3 minutes and 15 seconds to convert an otherwise disastrously-badly scanned 62-page test PDF. Minor typos appeared where handwritten notes appeared in the margins on some pages - but it tried hard to reproduce those, as well. The original had been sent via fax, and the fax footer, faded in the poor quality scan, didn't reproduce identically -but it was also entirely extraneous. When you load the PDF file into the program, you can drag-select portions of the page that you want to convert; if we had planned the conversion better, we would have avoided selecting these unnecessary footers and the notes in the margins.

Related articles:

A representative of the publisher tells me that drawings or sketches in PDF documents can be scanned and output to a file format that lets them be loaded by AutoCAD. Although we didn't test this feature, we can see how this could be incredibly useful to an architect, archivist, or historian, especially if the blueprints scanned into a PDF weren't originally designed in a computer.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>


Able2Extract Professional Expert Verdict »

Compatible with Win 98/NT/2000/XP/Vista
Office 97/2000/2002/XP/2003/2007
requires 8MB hard disk space
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

We were impressed with Able2Extract. It does what it sets out to do, and does so well. The price will deter casual users, but if your office even occasionally needs to convert PDFs in this way, Able2Extract Professional is a winner.

  • Nuance Power PDF Advanced review: quality PDF editor that's cheaper than Acrobat Pro

    Nuance Power PDF Advanced: quality PDF editor that's cheaper than Acrobat Pro

    Power PDF Advanced is a PDF editor and convertor that matches Acrobat Pro feature-for-feature, while offering useful extras like a more flexible search and a more familiar business interface. Here's our Nuance Power PDF Advanced review.

  • Nuance PDF Converter Pro 5.0 review

    Nuance PDF Converter Pro 5.0

    Should you need to invest in a PDF-conversion tool, Nuance's PDF Converter Pro 5.0 impressed us with its ease of use and outstanding accuracy.

  • Abbyy FineReader Express 9 review

    Abbyy FineReader Express 9

    Abbyy FineReader Express 9 is a nice little Optical Character Recognition program for converting scanned images into editable word processing documents. Not as nice as the professional version, which has an updated and more effective recognition engine, but still darned good OCR - especially for the price.

  • ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 3.0

    This recently updated package is in essence, a bundle of ScanSoft's PDF Create 3.0 and PDF Converter 3.0. The basic deal remains the same - PDF Converter Professional 3.0 comprises a printer driver that lets you create a PDF (portable document format) file, plus a conversion utility with which you can extract PDF content for editing.

  • Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 review

    Fujitsu ScanSnap S300

    Fujitsu's ScanSnap S300M takes the technology from the company's well-received desktop document scanners, such as the ScanSnap S510M, and puts it into a device that's easier to carry from location to location.

IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 release date, price, features UK: Staggered release with PCs coming first this summer -...

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

How to get a job in design

IDG UK Sites

MacBook Pro 15in preview: better battery life, faster storage and a new discrete graphics chip may...