Review: Create and edit PDFs without the acrobatics with deskPDF Studio X

Try a full-featured PDF solution that costs much less than the big boxes.

Billed as "the ultimate paperless solution," Docudesk's deskPDF Studio X is aimed squarely at Adobe Acrobat. Studio X can create PDFs from any application, edit the text and images in any PDF, and convert PDFs to Word, Excel, HTML, and other document types. It can sign, stamp, and add freehand and freetext markup as well as letterheads, watermarks, and other custom touches to your documents. Features like PDFzen integration allows one-click Cloud storage and easy publishing and sharing of documents online via social media, e-mail, and fax, while 256-bit encryption, digital IDs, and other strong security measures keep you and your data safe. Studio X is free to try for 10 days and retails for a nickel less than $60 -- much less than a new copy of Acrobat. Studio X v5.0 works in Windows XP to 8 and features a newly-redesigned interface among other additions and improvements.

Installing deskPDF Studio X involves several options, including making it your default PDF viewer and installing deskPDF MSOffice Integration. The program's redesigned user interface resembles the look of the latest Office apps, including an attractive take on Office's Ribbon toolbar. This efficient arrangement opens a full-length toolbar of specialized tools and options whenever you click one of Studio X's 11 tabs (including the Help menu and Activate Trial button). Studio X also follows Office's lead with File and Home tabs for opening and editing documents. Studio X handled every task with ease in our tests, though we really only scratched the surface of this powerful toolkit's capabilities. Some notables: The Compact PDF tool lets you shrink documents to optimal size with wizard-like efficiency, OCR scanning is easy, and PDFzen really does upload documents with a single click.

We've used Acrobat as well as every kind of PDF freeware, and deskPDF Studio X impressed us with two facts: 1) While free tools can do a lot, there's no substitute for a competent, full-featured PDF solution; and 2) Software that meets these criteria doesn't have to be expensive. While Studio X probably can't replace Acrobat in every situation or environment, it belongs on top of the short list of affordable alternatives.

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of deskPDF Studio X 5.0.

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