PROS / CutePDF lets you create or modify forms and collect the data.
CONS / It lacks advanced features for PDF creation.
VERDICT / While CutePDF Professional is not as advanced as other convert PDF software choices, it still offers the main conversion and collaboration features along with form creation, security and signature tools.
CutePDF Professional offers the basics to convert PDF files, make minor changes and print them in a variety of ways. It has the primary features needed for commenting, form creation and security, but it lacks the variety of features offered by the higher-ranked PDF conversion software on our list. Still, its simplicity makes it useful for businesses that are more concerned with conversion than creation or editing.
You can convert a file, like a JPG or DOC file, to PDF by selecting CutePDF in your printer options, or you can drag and drop the file into the program. However, CutePDF Pro does not provide text-editing tools like most of the other PDF conversion software, so you have to do any editing in the original application or use CutePDF Pro to convert the PDF to MS Word and edit from there. You can add new text, however. You can also do minor image manipulation, such as resizing.
CutePDF offers the usual tools you would expect for adding comments, using drawing markup tools and preparing documents for collaboration. The software offers copyediting and critiquing tools, like underlining, highlighting, strikethrough and comment boxes.
You can create forms or edit an existing form. You can even have form data posted to a specified URL, where you can collect it and export it for analysis. Not all PDF conversion software does this.
This PDF converter also offers digital signature software, meaning that you can sign documents electronically. You can also use Bates numbering, which can help you index legal documents for easy use.
You can add stamps and watermarks to protect your document. Once completed, you can add digital signatures and 128-bit password encryption and then email it or use the FTP tool to upload it to a website.
In addition to basic printing and support for advanced print options, with CutePDF Pro, you can use the Impose (n-up pages) tool to optimize printing by printing multiple pages of the document on one printed page. One standout feature is the ability to print the PDF as a booklet. This feature is on the toolbar and automatically organizes the pages so they print properly.
The overall look and feel is similar to an older version of Word. The task ribbons are clear and understandable. However, you have to flip between the different modules rather than having a smooth stream of tasks. For example, if you want to put in a comment, then type in something new, you have to flip back to the viewer mode in between instead of simply changing task bars. This adds unnecessary steps.
The user guide was one of the better ones we reviewed. It is searchable and has clear instructions with pictures. It's a part of the software, so you don't need to worry about being online. However, the online support leaves much to be desired. There is no live chat, and we did not get a reply to our requests through the online submission form.
CutePDF Professional is one of our top 10 convert PDF software choices because the application, while simple, has the basic functions to convert, comment on, secure and save PDFs. It lacks the advanced tools of the best PDF conversion software, but it does a good job at simple PDF creation.