When Adobe developed PDF, they had no clue about its vast utility and user population that it has today. This PostScript based file format has many advantages over other formats of file. PDFs are smaller in size. They are versatile. They can contain more links and references as compared to other PostScript formats. From a technical point of view, they use more efficient algorithms as compared to other formats. All these advantages with some more make it the worth of its popularity.
PDFs, being unable to edit, is a thing of gone days. Today, We have several PDF editors and converters according to the need. Nitro Pro is one of the popular PDF editors. It has features like de-skew, Signature, quick sign, barcode, redaction, and many more. It is a package of PDF editor and convertor together in a single software.
- It allows signing a document by various mediums.
- It can integrate with many storage software while sending documents.
- The portfolio feature is something that is not so common.
- It supports Optical Character recognition.
- It allows us to create a form and provides various features to manage them.
- It allows inserting Barcode into the documents.
- It supports a limited number of file formats for conversion.
- You need to keep in mind the validity period of the digital IDs.
The idea of making PDFs more comfortable and handier gave birth to software like Nitro Pro. If you are seeking something that can help you in converting and editing PDF files, you can go for this software. It is a one-stop software for them who want to edit, convert, sign, add effects and protect their PDF files.
As we shall move further with the features and functions of the software, we shall find more about it. We shall try to have an in-depth analysis of every functionality.
Starting with the pros and cons, we shall look at its features one by one and shall try to find out if this is the software that you have been longing for.
Beginning with the standard features, in this section, we shall discuss the features that are common in every version of the software. The standard features include all the tools that are available in the navigation bar of the software screen. The sub-options within these options might differ in some versions of the software.
The ’file’ option provides you the option to create a new file, open an existing file. Through this feature, the software allows you to attach some files to the currently opened file. You can also optimize the file. Optimization allows you to reduce the size according to the need.
The custom optimization allows you to control what you want to remove from the file. It allows you to get better results while optimizing.
‘Home’ provides you various functions regarding text, signature, conversion, and a few effects related to the text. We shall elaborate on some of these in upcoming sections.
Convert, Review, and page layout provide various functions to convert, compare, and orient pages, respectively. We shall discuss these distinctly in a while.
You also get features to share, erase, and protect the file.
Signing the document
The ‘Home’ provides you tools to sign the document. It provides you a ‘QuickSign’ feature. Through this feature, you can create or upload the sign. The software allows you to have a handwritten signature that you can acquire by manually typing the name in the space provided.
Through draw option, you can create assign as you do on some paper, the pen that the option provides can be scribbled to draw a sign on the canvas. You get a few colors and sizes for your signature. It is the simplest way of signing a document in this software, as it lets the user experience the same as signing on a paper.
Secondly, you can attach a signature from a file that is previously available on the computer. Also, you can draw some signature, or you can acquire one through a webcam.
Moreover, you can also protect the signature with the help of a password.
When you protect a signature by password, not everyone can access and use it. The one who wants to use the signature would require providing the password. It prevents the signature from being a part of any forgery.
You can also capture a signature, using the webcam. When you launch this function in the software, it automatically the webcam software that is available on your computer. In case there is more than one webcam software; it seeks your permission to launch anyone.
It is a new addition to the software. It eases the procedure of capturing the signature. It prevents the user from entering manually or drawing the signature.
Requesting a signature
So far, we have discussed how can we sign the documents ourselves. Thus, through the features discussed above, only we can sign the documents, or the person who opens a file in the software can sign the documents.
The software also allows you to get a signature from other persons as well. These are the persons that are not working on the document with the software, but you require their signature. Request s signature can help you to achieve this.
As the name suggests, you can ask other parties to sign the document. You can send the document through the nitro account. If you wish to send a document with the software, you ought to have a Nitro account.
Moreover, the receiver should also have an account on nitro pro software. The interface of the nitro mail is the same as Gmail.
It provides you tools to perform some operations on the PDF files. If someone shares some documents with you to get it signed, it shows the notification about it.
Further, you can send documents to others for signing. It is pretty much the same as sending an email through any Email software. The software allows you to browse various storage on your computer for sending a file. You can choose files from My Computer, Nitro Documents, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, and Share Point.
The mailbox also presents a list of the previously modified files and the name of the sender or receiver with whom you shared the file.
Sending a document in the software is simpler as compared to other software. Like, in Soda PDF, you are required to provide information like name, Email, and title, which might or might not be present at the time of sending. With this software, you are only required to have the Email Id of the receiver.
‘Home’ provides various other functions to perform on the files. You can create PDF files from different other files. You can select any file that is available on your computer. You acquire an input file that the computer receives from any external source as a scanner. Also, if you copied some file or text on the clipboard, you can paste in on the page of the software so that the software converts it into a PDF.
You have a few choices with the document that the computer receives from the scanner. You can choose the quality of the PDF that the software creates after converting the file. If you do not want the images to be a part of the PDF file, you can allow the software to scan only the text and convert them.
Moreover, you also get a few settings for scan profiles.
The other option allows you to combine various files irrespective of their formats and convert them into a single PDF file. You can also convert the PDFs into Word or Excel format.
The software provides a few more options to highlight, insert, rotate, delete, or extract some content from the file.
If there are some tools that you use often, you can add them to the home screen of the software. It prevents you from searching for them in the sub-options within the first options of the software.
Converting a file
The ‘convert’ option allows you to convert the PDF files to other formats. You can convert the PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Image, and PDF/A. These are the standard conversions that you see in almost every file converting software.
Other than these formats, Nitro Pro also allows you to convert the files to Rich Text and Plain Text Format.
Moreover, if you want your converted file to contain only text, you can extract the mages from it. The original file would still contain the images, but they would not appear in the converted format.
If you want multiple files to appear collectively in PDF format but do not wish to merge the files, you can create a portfolio of the files. The portfolio allows you to view multiple files simultaneously in a single view. It is somewhat like viewing a photo album or, more correctly, a collage of images.
The image above shows a portfolio of two Docx files. When you select any file from the portfolio, the software allows you to open, read, and edit it according to the format in which the files are converted.
The number of formats available for conversion is the same for trial and paid versions of the software. They might differ according to the newer or older version of the software.
Continuing with the features
‘Review’ is another feature that provides you various editing options to add different effects, icons, symbols, shapes, images, color to the document.
The software provides you a highlighter through which you can highlight a text or icon in the document. You can choose various colors to use as a highlighter. You also get a text box that allows you to insert text in the document. You can use customizations in color, size, and font style of the text.
A call out and notes are two other different types of text. You can use the as when the need changes. A call-out can be used as a text bubble or to generate an effect of spoken dialogue.
Further, you can also add effects like underline, cross out, and replace your text. These effects are used to make the documents readable and presentable.
The following option is a page layout that provides you several options to add various effects to the pages of the document. It contains the standard options of rotate, delete, and crop.
Moreover, there are a few advanced options; namely, Extract, Replace, and Split. You also get options to add watermark, bates number, bookmarks, link, de-skew.
The extract helps you to extract some images or specific parts of the document. It might be some unnecessary part of the document that you do not want to be a part of the converted document.
You can also replace some file or folders in the document with the help of replacing. If there are several files in the current document, you can replace any of them with other files. You can do the replacement any number of times for any number of files.
The ‘review tools’ provides you functions that allow you to add stamps, images, shapes. You get various stamps to add to the document. These stamps are categorized into standard and dynamic. The later can is used to show the current date and time. When you select them, they automatically show the current date and time.
If the available stamps do not seem enough to you, the software allows you to create your stamps. The created stamps appear in the ‘custom’ section. You have various customizations with color, size, and font style.
Moreover, you can also add various shapes to the documents. You get various shapes like rectangle, arrow, cloud, polygon, line, and a few more.
You can also add an image from those that are already available on the computer, or you can copy any of them from the clipboard or can acquire one through the scanner. Also, you can add some files to the documents and use them as annotations.
Optical character recognition
Optical character recognition is a smart function of the software. It allows you to read and edit scanned documents. It is useful to deal with the documents that you acquire through some external sources.
The software allows you to have two kinds of scanned documents; searchable and editable. The former allows you to merely search for some text and the later allows you to search as well as edit the text.
With the searchable document, you can use tools like mark-up and highlight to distinguish the searched text. You cannot make any other changes to the document. If you choose an editable document, you can make any desired changes to it as you usually do. This kind of scanned document is generally used to prepare a file for converting it to Word or Excel.
Comparison is another new addition to the software. Sometimes, you create more than one version of a document. If you wish to compare the documents to find differences and similarities between them, you can use the compare feature.
You can choose both the files for comparison from the files that are already available on the computer. You can choose some pages that you wish to compare; instead, you can allow all the pages of the document to participate in the comparison process.
The software also allows you to change a few preferences for the comparison. You get some settings to adjust the appearance, commenting, comparison. If you wish, you can also allow the software to compare the images and icons of both the documents. If not, you can disable this feature. You get a few settings with forms like a digital signature, forms, identity.
If you choose to comment on the documents, you get customizations with font style, color, and opacity of the text that you enter during commenting. You can also create a PDF form with the documents. You are required to enter the header and footer text to do so.
Commenting on the documents and more
The new version of the software provides you various features for commenting on the documents. You can summarize the documents. Summarizing the documents allows the software to add the date and time at which the document is last modified. Further, the software also allows you to add any comments manually.
If manually entering comments does not suit you, you import comments from any file using ‘Migrate.’
The software also allows you to export the comments from the current document of the software to any other file that is edited using the software.
You can also hide the comments if you wish to view only the content.
Creating a form
Like much other software of the same kind, Nitro Pro also allows you to create forms. To create a for, you get various tools like button, checkbox, radio button, text field, signature, barcode, combo box, list box. You also get a few more functions to manage the setup, data, and view of the form.
The select fields available in the software allow you to create multiple-choice fields. With this, you can create a form that contains multiple choices. The text field introduces a text box that allows you to enter some text. The text box adjusts its size automatically according to the text entered in it.
There are various buttons that you can use to create a form. The different types of buttons include a standard button, a radio button. Some other features which act like buttons are a checkbox, combo box, and list box.
A checkbox allows you to add as many new entries to the form as you want. The list box allows you to enter text in the list form. If you want to create a realistic form with effects like scrolling, you can use a combo box. Like the list box, it allows you to enter the text in list form, but the entries at the bottom appear when you slide the list using the scroller.
‘Barcode’ is a new feature that the software provides you. You can add a barcode to the document. Barcode works as a unique identity of anything you apply it to. The software has a barcode library of its own that allows you to select a barcode pattern of your choice.
Once you choose a barcode for a page or document, you can not use the same barcode with any other document. This feature is useful for organizations to make documents confidential and unique. Barcode vanishes any possibility of generation of any copyright issue regarding the document.
A digital signature is another way to establish rights on the document. The digital signature feature allows you to create and apply the digital signature on any page of the document. Like a text box, it introduces a box that provides you space to enter the signature.
You are required to have a digital signature already saved on your computer in the form of an image or any other file. Unlike a barcode, you can have more than one digital signatures on a single page of the document.
Moreover, digital signatures are not the ultimate way to establish rights on the document. Though they are also unique to an extent, it is not very difficult to generate a similar signature. However, they are the most widely used authenticators in business organizations and official deals.
With all these features, the software also provides you various functions to arrange and manage the entries and their order of occurrence in the form. Tab order allows you to manage the order of the tabs of the form in which they occur.
Similarly, you can also manage the order of the calculation in the form. Through these functions, you can allow any tab or function to appear before its scheduled turn, or you can delay any tab or calculation according to the need of the form. Thus, it reduces the user’s effort to create and manage the tabs at the time of creation.
Similarly, you can also manage the document actions through this feature and can make a few changes in it.
The import data section allows you to import and export data from and to the file.
Moreover, you can also change the view of the document.
Security of the documents
When you deal with some official document or a confidential document, security, and privacy of the document top the list of the concerns with the document.
Nitro Pro provides you various features to protect the document. The software provides ways mediums like password, certificate, and by managing profiles.
Security through password
The software allows you to secure and protect a document with the help of a password. Like Soda PDF, Nitro also provides you separate passwords for opening and editing the document. Once you provide the password only for opening a file, then you are required to provide another password for editing the file.
However, the editing permissions may vary according to the privacy and password settings by the administrator.
The image above shows the permissions that you can use to limit the various actions of the document.
Other security features
A certificate is another way through which you can protect the document.
The image below shows the certificate and the settings with it that the software provides you.
With the help of a certificate, you can mark the recipients that you trust. Also, you can choose various permissions for every recipient. You can provide full access to some contacts; alternatively, for some contacts, you can allow only to open the file but not editing.
Similarly, you can different access permissions for contacts. It is a more secure way of protecting files than a password because it only works for trusted contacts. There is no risk of password leaking as it is the former method of securing the documents.
The software also allows you to protect the encrypted files. The ‘manage profiles’ section allows you to achieve this.
You can add the name of the security file, description, and security method. Though encryption itself is an efficient way of protecting the documents, the security feature like the one we get in this software would certainly work as a cherry on the cake.
Certifying documents and adding multiple identifications are two other ways through which you can protect the document in the software.
You can sign the documents digitally. Either you can import some signs from the file saved on the computer, or you can create a new one by providing the required details.
You can also create a certified profile. It is somewhat like a hybrid method of protecting the document; with a password and with a certificate. While creating a profile, you are required to provide a digital Id. Also, you can limit the access to the actions that one performs on the documents, as you do while setting a password.
Adding digital Ids or trusted contacts is yet another way of protecting the documents. You can add a digital Id that is already saved on the computer.
The image above shows the credentials you need to provide to create a digital Id. You can also import an Id from the files of the computer. As soon as the validation period of the Id gets over, the software notifies you and allows you to either increase the validity or to create a new Id.
After the validation gets over, the Id and the associated rules no more remain in action, and the files behave naturally as standard files.
You can also manage the trusted contacts from here. You can allow and deny access to those contacts from here.
How helpful is the software?
Like the features, the software is also expected to be helpful to its users. Everybody likes to have a software that can help and guide them in times of need.
The help section of the software is vibrant and provides various ways to help the users. The user guide leads to the help page of the official website of the software.
If you wish to know about each feature distinctly, you can go on the tour of the software, with the help of the ‘product tour’ option. It contains an explanation of some basic options of the software. You get to know about the functioning and need of those features in the software.
Contact support, as the icon shows a lifeguard, protects from drowning by providing help under different categories. You can also watch videos according to the issue that you face.
There is also a section of FAQs, that consists of the answers to the most frequent questions.
Moreover, you can also get solutions to the problems regarding the purchase, product key, installation, and activation.
The following option provides you information about the available shortcut keys in the software.
The online support options lead to the official website of the software. The knowledgebase is indeed full of knowledge. You can read various articles related to the product as well as other nitro products. Also, you can get information about the updates and sunset policy of the product.
A community forum allows you to contact other users of the product as well as providing your opinion regarding the product. The software team also allows you to suggest any improvements to the product.
Moreover, you can also report a problem, even a bug for that matter to the software development team through the report a problem option.
The other available options of the software allow you to gather information about the software and its hardware and software requirements, activate the product.
Moreover, you get a few more sales related features.
Different versions of the software: A comparative analysis
What the software looks like today is not an overnight transformation. Nitro software Inc. has released a few more versions before the current one. They might be working on another update while you are reading this review.
Let’s not dig deepest cores. We shall begin with the nitro PDF professional 6.2.1, which was released in March 2011.
It was later updated with a new name ‘Nitro 7’, which was released merely in a gap of nine months, November 2011. This version of the software is said to be economical as compared to Acrobat reader with almost the same features. During the time of release, as they say, it costed one-third of the price of Acrobat to the users.
However, users encounter some drawbacks like slow loading of PDF files and failing to create indices, but it quells features like reusing of files, scan, and optical character recognition.
The development team soon realized the limitations of the version and released ‘Nitro Pro 8’ in September 2012.
This version of the software consists of features of ribbon navigation. You cannot add multimedia elements in the file with this version, as you do with the updated versions.
Moreover, Acrobat reader XI, its contemporary version of Acrobat, consists of more number of features.
To overcome this drawback, Nitro software Inc. released ‘Nitro Pro 9’ in September 2013, precisely after one year of the previous release.
It is one of those versions of the software that went under several updates and new additions. OCR feature is more efficient than the previous versions. It has a primary ribbon surface. The new additions included Digital IDs and certifications.
Though it has some of the most advanced features, the drawbacks it quells are hard to overlook. It lacks integration with the online system, and it is of little use with large PDF files.
Within a year, the world witnessed another new release in the form of ‘Nitro Pro 10’ in October 2014. This version provides features to increase the presentability of the documents.
It provides numerous editing features. Batch file functionalities are noteworthy. However, users do not appreciate the disallowance to add the audio and video files to the documents.
Released in July 2016, ‘Nitro Pro 11’ is another new version of the software. It consists of the conventional ribbon-style interface along with new features of cloud integration, comprehensive, reviewing, and a few new editing features.
Further, Nitro Pro 12, better known as Nitro Productivity Suite, was released on June 2018, with all features of the previous version along with ‘Nitro Cloud.’
The most recent version is ‘18.104.22.168’, which was released in September 2019. The algorithms of this version make it different from other previous versions.
The software seems to enhance the utility of PDF files. The standard features of the software are entirely satisfactory and ease the necessary operations on the file.
The signing of the document has become facile with the available features. The mailbox used to send documents has a familiar interface that makes it user-friendly. Its integration with other software and storage is quite appreciable.
The formats that the software allows to convert the file to seem enough at once. But the thought of having some more formats might pass through the minds of the users.
The editing features are quite contending. The software consists of almost every feature to beautify and augment the files.
The security features of the software are also noteworthy. It provides various ways to protect the document. The number of security methodologies it provides is more than the other software of the same kind.
The form creation feature is yet another new addition to the software. Though many software of the kind has this feature, there are few new additions to the software with this feature.
The help section is also quite spellbinding and is readily supportive. You can get reviews and suggestions from other users, as well.
By the analysis of different versions shows that consistent improvements and developments in the software. In a nutshell, we can say that the software has nothing much to complain about.