Ever since Adobe made the Portable Document Format (PDF) open in 2008, a bevy of third-party PDF apps have capitalized on the freely sourced code. PDF Converter--more properly GIRDAC PDF Converter--approaches the most common PDF task of converting to and from Windows and Microsoft Office file formats with a focused purpose and a bare-bones but efficient interface. The software installs and uninstalls cleanly and runs with little fuss, but performance was found lacking in certain areas.
The app works adequately converting common Windows and Microsoft Office formatted files to and from PDFs, but niggling complaints continued to repeatedly pop up during my evaluation.
Converting PowerPoint to PDF with a multiple-slide presentation continually resulted in a tall, sideways PDF with slides that needed to be rotated clockwise each time in order to be read. Even worse, unable to find an option to save the rotated PDF in PDF Converter, I resorted to Adobe Reader to rotate and save, then tried to confirm the saved rotation by opening in PDF Converter, but the app still showed the slides vertically, although they displayed correctly open reopening in Adobe Reader.
Likewise, converting multiple PDF files simultaneously did not work for me at all. I received a pop-up window saying conversion was complete, but the instantaneous messaging and lack of new files indicate otherwise. While I'm complaining, it's annoying that the program creates a new directory at the root computer (C drive) level and that the default directory for each converting action (PDF to Word, PDF to Excel, etc.) must be edited separately and default to the sample picture directory and the root GIRDAC folder. It's also odd that in the PDF Properties, the highest PDF version listed is 1.4 (Acrobat 5.x), considering that PDF updated to 1.5 (Acrobat 6.x) in 2003 and has been on 1.7 since 2006.
Those (significant) complaints aside, the program certainly does what it says on the tin: it will convert PDF files quickly into Word or Excel files, pull out text or images in various formats, and create new PDFs from standard Office docs in a few clicks. The help section is comprehensive, the interface logical and uncluttered, and the program is gratefully free of browser add-ons, advertising, or other hidden gimmicks. Having said all that, aside from its speedy performance and clean layout, there's not much to distinguish this PDF tool from the rest of the PDF converters.
Editor's Note: This review was written using the trial version of PDF Converter 188.8.131.52. Along with the listed trial restrictions, we also found that a green watermark footer appears on every "created" PDF.