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MarkT-a1b

Affinity Replacement for Adobe Acrobat Pro and Bluebeam Revu xTreme

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  • I highly recommend that Serif develop a fourth addition to the Affinity triumvirate: a PDF file creator, editor and OCR-capable program to supplant those currently being foisted on users - most expensively - by Adobe and others.
     
    Apropos of this recommendation, the Acrobat "UserVoice" topic "Full Tools, Menu customization" has by now been ongoing for somewhere approaching two years, and if Adobe has ever responded to or otherwise addressed the significant issues that continue to plague professional users, I do not recall having seen it.
     
    For reference, here follows a quite typical posting on this subject, wherein a professional user states that they would abandon - or already have abandoned - Acrobat Pro in favor of a competing program, such as Bluebeam Revu.  Surely I am not the only user who would like to see just the complete PDF-handling capabilities of the expensive Revu xTreme incorporated within a stand-alone program costing significantly less than $549.
     
    I would happily abandon both Acrobat Pro and ABBYY Finereader in favor of such a program within the Affinity group, and harbor a strong suspicion that many other users would so so as well.
     
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    Anonymous commented on Full Tools, Menu customisation

    DC Pro has unfortunately been developed into a sluggish, bloated and complicated piece of pdf editing software. It needs to be re-imagined from the bottom up. PDFs aren't going away ... but Adobe customers are. If Affinity can develop the next greatest pdf editing tool - I won't let the door hit me on the way out. Just waiting to get the next big cost savings for my company by abandoning Adobe products altogether.

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Have you tried Affinity Publisher? It's been suiting my needs regarding PDF editing. I'm aware, however, of limitations such as no support for Acro Forms, for example, but I seldom need it too.


architect · designer · developer · geek
Affinity Designer 1.7.2 / Affinity Publisher 1.7.2
Windows 10 Pro, version 1903, Build 18362.145

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If you are on Windows, and have no need for a prepress PDF toolset, then I recommend PDF-Xchange Editor. Great annotation/commenting/revewing tools, form creation, OCR, Scanning, and full PDF editing. The GUI is miles ahead of Acrobat (that horrible form properties dialog in Acrobat...). It also supports (as far as I have tested) all Acrobat Javascript. It even loads and displays 3d models embedded in a page.

I found it to be an excellent Acrobat replacement. Only its prepress tools are missing, unfortunately.

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6 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

If you are on Windows, and have no need for a prepress PDF toolset, then I recommend PDF-Xchange Editor. Great annotation/commenting/revewing tools, form creation, OCR, Scanning, and full PDF editing. The GUI is miles ahead of Acrobat (that horrible form properties dialog in Acrobat...). It also supports (as far as I have tested) all Acrobat Javascript. It even loads and displays 3d models embedded in a page.

I found it to be an excellent Acrobat replacement. Only its prepress tools are missing, unfortunately.

How is PDF to Word conversion, I found all lacking compared to Acrobat Pro. I see it has only renting plan.....

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It is not renting: it is a maintenance plan. You pay for a year of upgrades, and when maintenance runs out, you get to keep the last version as a perpetual license.

The pdf-xchange pro version includes office integration which converts TOCs to clickable ones, links, etc. The Editor will also convert Office files if Office is installed. But I do not use MS Office (I am a LibreOffice user which already includes good PDF export by default), so I would suggest downloading the trial to see if it works for you.

 

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I think the whole PDF thing is complex in that I sued to create complex multimedia PDFS with embedded 3D VR content and video. Then I found my target audience were mostly on Linux or had come from that arena and were using an alternative to Adobe Reader, in  part because of their obsession with Opensource and also in claiming the Opensource  superior and Reader bloated. None of these "Superior" PDF readers could handle any of my more complex content - they were useless, but because my target users insisted on using such tools not Reader... I had to strip my PDFs to clunky documents that had to cross link to other sites here I could host the more advanced content. 

So if we are not looking for anything fancy, I was in Affinity Designer the other day - (just purchased, don't get me started on the lack of autotrace)  and on a whim tried to open a PDF I had a title font glitch on... opened fine - could change the font at will and then exported an end result that was perfect. This was most unexpected but here's the point, does it support all the amazing stuff that PDF can include? No. Is that amazing stuff supported by many users PDF readers? Also no, and if the user cannot read more than teh basics... that rather breaks teh point of their inclusion.

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Thanks to everyone for providing suggestions and comments on this subject.

23 hours ago, Lmpessoa said:

Have you tried Affinity Publisher? It's been suiting my needs regarding PDF editing....

Affinity does seem able to correctly change font color within an imported PDF file; but within my test file, upon import, Affinity also introduces word spacing and line justification anomalies that not only do not lend themselves to straightforward correction, but which are not present at all when the file is handled within Acrobat or Finereader.  To supplant these two programs, moreover, Affinity would need the ability to import/open, and then re-save/export, the same list of file formats - including .DOC - and to incorporate capable OCR functions.

13 hours ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

If you are on Windows, and have no need for a prepress PDF toolset, then I recommend PDF-Xchange Editor....

I recently posted, in the Affinity Support & Questions area of the forum, my frustrations with Acrobat Pro (XI and DC) and ABBYY Finereader:

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/96559-changing-font-color-and-enlarging-page-sizes-in-existing-pdf-files/

Bluebeam Revu eXtreme (but not Standard) is capable of addressing each of the specified issues, but its $549 (one-time) purchase price is beyond my budget. Are you using the "Pro" version of PDF-Xchange Editor, with or without its "Enhanced OCR Plugin"?  If the USD $54.50 PDF-Xchange Editor Plus, with or without the  Enhanced OCR Plugin, performs as claimed, then that would seem to obviate the need for Affinity to develop their own such program module.

I will do some testing with the trial/free versions of PDF-Xchange Editor, and report back.  MarkT

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2 hours ago, Megabtye said:

I think the whole PDF thing is complex....  I had to strip my PDFs to clunky documents....

Too true!  However, since it was Adobe who invented and developed the Postscript page description language; its subset of Postscript fonts; and the closely tied Portable Document Format, one might think that their "Professional" (cough!) PDF editing program would run circles around everyone else's. The PDF documents that I want to touch up appear to be simple, but they apparently contain some under-the-hood anomalies that Affinity is not (yet) quite up to handling.  FWIIW....

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On 8/31/2019 at 3:57 PM, MarkT-a1b said:

within my test file, upon import, Affinity also introduces word spacing and line justification anomalies that not only do not lend themselves to straightforward correction, but which are not present at all when the file is handled within Acrobat or Finereader.

Do they use fonts which are not installed on the system where you are running the Affinity software, by any chance?

If so, that might be the issue, as the Affinity programs do not currently handle the embedded fonts from the PDF file.

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55 minutes ago, fde101 said:

Do they use fonts which are not installed on the system where you are running the Affinity software, by any chance? If so, that might be the issue, as the Affinity programs do not currently handle the embedded fonts from the PDF file.

Upon PDF import, the program indicates that the only font within the file (Times New Roman) is indeed present and accounted for, within the computer's operating system. In the meantime, however, I am testing the above-referenced program, PDF-eXchange Editor Pro (along with its optional "Enhanced OCR" module), and a most helpful  Tracker Software tech support representative says about this issue:

"This is usually quite specific to the document and/or font being used. Sometimes editing can cause disturbances due to poor font embedding, substitution, encoding, etc."

That being said, it so far appears that PDF-eXchange Editor Pro has no problems whatsoever with the same file whose word spacing bedevils both Acrobat and Affinity; and the entire page's font color can be changed - without wrecking the line justification and paragraph structure.  I have considerably more testing left to do before declaring complete success, but for now I remain hopeful.  Stay tuned....  MarkT

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Since this is the user forum for Affinity software, I will refrain from extended discussion of competing products; however, since PDF-eXchange Pro was recommended to me by "Medical Officer Bones," above, I will comment further: Thanks to exceptionally helpful tech support from Tracker Software, I was able to zero in on just the program functions specific to the font color, word spacing, paragraph justification and page size problems that led to my starting this message thread in the first place.

As I subsequently replied to the Tracker representative: "... I am by now simply *blown away* by PDF-eXchange, which has allowed me to do in 15 minutes what I have been unsuccessfully *trying* to do, off and on for two years [and more], using a combination of Acrobat Pro, ABBYY Finereader, Bluebeam Revu (trial), and lately, Affinity Designer and Publisher.

"For a number of years I was a Beta tester for several of Adobe's flagship, high-end programs, starting with Acrobat 2.x for the Mac, but when they captured and killed Aldus/Macromedia Freehand, it turned me off to their typical modus operandus.  Now, with the sometime exception of Acrobat Pro XI, I avoid their software like the plague.  (But I *still* do regularly use Freehand 8 under Mac OS 9!)
 
"Both Bluebeam and Affinity have been recommended by professional Acrobat users on Adobe's own support forum - but with not a peep from the latter, in response, in at least two years...." [End of quote]
 
Affinity Designer, Publisher and Photo already make up a valued triumvirate in my software arsenal, and do I plan to use them thoroughly and often; but considering the availability of such a capable and (relatively) low-cost PDF handler as PDF-eXchange Pro, it would seem a better use of Affinity's programming resources to continue development and improvement of their existing software offerings, rather than to create a stand-alone PDF program. Sincere thanks to everyone who has weighed in on this topic. FWIIW....  MarkT

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