PDF files are indispensable in business, but it's a rare PC user who doesn't encounter the Adobe file format at some point, and PDFs will certainly become more common, not less. Developers offer a dizzying array of PDF tools, often bundled together for greater value. One such bundle is Docudesk's PDF Essentials Plus, which combines the company's deskPDF Professional PDF authoring tool with deskUNPDF Professional, its PDF conversion utility. The combination allows you to create feature-rich PDFs that are fully compatible with Adobe and other PDF applications, as well as convert PDFs to various formats, including Word and Excel documents, HTML, and image files.
This program integrates two similar tools in one interface, but deskUNPDF's interface is the primary application, whereas deskPDF installs as a printer driver accessed from your print menu. This helps keep things simple and straightforward and enables the program's unique capability to print documents in 15 different output formats instead of just as PDFs. The interface itself is a clean, up-to-date design with black and gray tones and Vista-style highlights for a businesslike look that doesn't resemble an appliance repair manual. The program offers some other unique features, such as Accu-Text, which claims highly accurate content extraction. We can't say offhand if it extracts more data than its competitors, only that we had no complaints whatsoever with the quality of the PDFs it produces, or the converted files, for that matter. We were surprised to see it even fully supports the open-source OpenOffice format, something we applaud since it makes this tool that much more capable and compatible.
We've tested a lot of PDF utilities, and most do a pretty good job at their highly focused tasks. The difference comes down to value, flexibility, and ease of use. On each of those measures, PDF Essentials Plus hits the mark.Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Docudesk PDF Essentials Plus 184.108.40.206. The trial version is limited to 30 days only.