PDF conversion software is crucial for any business. The problem is, converting documents to PDF can be time-consuming, and converting archived documents to PDF almost impossible. You need intelligent software that will convert to PDF for you. But what features should you look for? What's possible? What's indispensible?
In this article we'll walk you through the features and key considerations you need to keep in mind when comparing PDF conversion software, and give you our top recommendation: FileCenter Automate.
Convert to PDF Software Summary
- Why convert to PDF?
- Convert different file formats to PDF
- Make sure it's searchable PDF software
- Automatic convert to PDF software
- PDF routing
- Jump to our recommendation »
Why Convert to PDF?
PDF has become the standard world-wide. Electronic documents are, at this point, almost universally in the PDF format. Governments and courts deal in PDFs. Law firms, doctor's offices, accountants – all of them work in PDF for storing and sharing files. Why? Because PDF has three advantages:
First, a PDF document is a true reproduction of the original. Whether the original document came from a scan, an email message, a word processor, or a web page, the PDF will look just like a printed version of that document.
Second, PDFs can be locked and made uneditable. This matters when sharing critical documents that you don't want the other party altering. They can even be password protected and digitally stamped to guarantee that only the intended party can see them and that they haven't been altered in transit.
Finally, PDFs have a long life. Archival-quality PDFs are designed to still be readable decades into the future.
Convert Different File Formats to PDF
Some convert to PDF software will only convert certain kinds of files to PDF. You need PDF conversion software that's capable of converting all of the file formats that you work with on a day to day basis: Word documents, spreadsheets, scanned images, old TIFF documents, etc. Make a good accounting of the file formats that matter to you and make sure that the software will convert them to PDF.
Make Sure It's Searchable PDF Software
If you're dealing with scanned documents, you need to be aware that scans are NOT searchable. What does that mean? It means that even though you can see words in the scanned image, your computer can't. All your computer sees is a picture. Why does this matter? Because if you ever want to do keyword searching or full-text searching, you need those scans to have actual text.
You need software that will go a step beyond just converting to PDF. Your software needs to create a searchable PDF by performing Optical Character Recognition on the scan, also known as OCR. This is a process wherein the PDF conversion software also looks at the scanned image and identifies where the words are, exposing text that can be copied or searched. The resulting PDF document looks just like the original scan, but it's searchable.
Automatic Convert to PDF Software
There's a lot of PDF conversion software out there that will convert individual documents to PDF, just as we've described. If, however, you deal with a high volume of documents or you have a large repository of old documents to convert, performing a PDF conversion by hand, one document at a time, is not going to work. In this case, you need automatic PDF conversion software.
The automatic PDF converter is smart enough to look for files to convert. It can search through your old folders or your new ones and identify what documents to convert, then automatically handle the PDF conversion for you without any interference. The better automatic PDF software will let you set up jobs that either monitor folders in real-time or let you schedule specific times to look at specific folders for new files to convert.
This kind of automatic PDF conversion software is usually best for an office server, but you could run it on your own computer just as easily.
The latest and greatest software for converting to PDF adds a high level of intelligence. For example, imagine PDF software that doesn't just convert your documents, it also renames them and even routes them to specific folders, based on what's in them. Imagine automatically putting the client's name in the file, or automatically moving a document into the client's folder, simply based on their name appearing in the document? This kind of PDF intelligence is available today, and it's not as complicated or as expensive as you might think.
Our Recommended Convert to PDF Software
FileCenter Automate goes out of its way to make PDF conversion as easy and automatic as possible. It contains all of the power features described in this article, but comes to you at a price point that's just a fraction of what you'd pay for other options. With the ability to not only convert many kinds of files to fully-searchable PDF, but to add a high level of automation as well, it is the perfect option for offices of any size. Download a free trial today!
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