We reported last month that Adobe had added a neat free scan-to-PDF facility to its Adobe Acrobat Reader app but what if you want to move in the opposite direction – from PDF to another file format?
One option is to go with Adobe, who offer a number export options (to Text, Word & Excel) but at a cost – you will need to sign up for an annual subscription, currently £17.99 pa UK prices. (In fact until recently the scan-to-PDF facility was also only available on subscription.) However there are plenty of alternatives out there and the best we've found is PDF Converter Ultimate - All In One Converter from Cometdocs.com Inc.
Although only the basic convert-to-PDF functionality is free, the app (for Andoid & iOS – the latter both iPad & iPhone) offers such a range on conversion options (both in terms of file formats it converts to PDF andgoing the other way – not just to Text, Word and Excel but also PowerPoint, JPEG and even AutoCad) that it becomes a no-brainer purchasing decision. You can buy individual conversion upgrades as in-app purchases for $9.99 however the cheaper option is to go for the All Conversions option at $49.99 (UK £39.99) – and this is a one-off fee, not an annual charge.
In terms of using the app, simplicity itself – as long as you remember everything must be done from within the app.
For example, if your target file is stored in Dropbox (the app also supports other popular cloud storage options) you can't simply click on a PDF file and then look for a "convert to" menu option, you must first open the file within Dropbox but via the app and then select the flavour of conversion. Cometdocs say they are likely to add a FAQs/user manual in a subsequent app patch/update although once you start using the app regularly, the app becomes second nature.
What else do you need to know? There are no limits on file sizes or the number of files you can convert. Better still, all the heavy lifting processing takes place in the cloud using Cometdocs own servers and OCR engines, so there is no burden on your device – or its battery consumption. On a security note, Cometdocs add that once the converted file is downloaded to the user's device, it is deleted from their servers.
Verdict: if you work with documents on your mobile and need to embrace the PDF file format, this is a no-brainer app to buy.
Links: Apple iTunes/App Store + Google Play Store + www.cometdocs.com
Curated by English barrister and Reuters correspondent turned editor, author, blogger, podcaster, award-winning tech journalist, storyteller, and sometime werewolf hunter Charles Christian. He writes, he drinks tea, he knows things. This site also has links to Charles' books and the Weird Tales Show videos and podcasts.
Descended from a motley crew of smugglers and witches, Christian was born a chime-child with a caul and grew up in a haunted medieval house by the harbourside in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough. He now lives in a barn on a ley-line in rural East Anglia. His latest book is Shuckland (Haunted Landscapes Volume 1)
According to folklore a caul-shrouded chime-child can't drown at sea but can see and talk to faerie folk and also has protection against spells cast by malevolent sorcerers. And yes, he was once commissioned to go on a werewolf hunt on the night of a full moon by a newspaper. Spoiler alert: he didn't find one. (Or it didn't find him.)
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