Businesses need affordable PDF solutions that don't require budgeted training time to learn. Soda PDF Professional 2011 with OCR offers itself as the "Smart & Simple" enterprise PDF solution. It proved to be capable, flexible, easy to use, and affordable enough for individuals and organizations that need more than what free tools offer yet can't afford the big-box bundles.
During the installation process, Soda PDF gave us the option to designate it as the default application for PDF files. The program opened with a Getting Started page inside a well-executed interface with attractive, businesslike graphics and an efficient layout. The toolbar contains all the necessary features for using PDFs, including Zoom, Find, Rotate, and View controls, and some extras, such as Bookmarks, highlighted form fields in searches, and a snapshot tool for capturing views of any part of a document. The main window features compact tabs along either edge that open sidebars with pushpins: Page Preview, Signatures, Links, and Bookmarks on the left, and Properties and Search on the right. We could also easily create and customize tabs by clicking Custom on the tabbed menu bar. This menu bar focuses functions in useful groupings: Create & Convert, Edit & Insert, and Secure & Sign. Each tab included a customized toolbar with item-specific controls; for instance, Secure & Sign let us access Digital Signature, Secure Permissions, and Password Security features. Part of the program's appeal is its OCR capability, which proved able to capture data from documents or a scanner.
While Soda PDF certainly lives up to its billing as a full-featured PDF client, it also holds up on the easy-to-use claims; any time we felt a need to start over, we merely clicked the Home tab to return to the essential functions. The program offers considerable help, too, including a multi-age User's Guide. We were impressed with Soda PDF Professional 2011. There seems to be little it can't do with PDFs, and we wonder why you'd pay more.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Soda PDF Professional - 2011 18.104.22.1684. The trial version is limited to 14 days.