PROS / Lightning PDF Professional recognizes over 23 languages when it converts documents into PDFs.
CONS / It lacks advanced security and editing features like text redaction.
VERDICT / Lightning PDF provides economical PDF conversion and editing software for most business needs. Its ability to handle multiple languages makes it especially good for international businesses.
Lightning PDF, an Avanquest product, provides economical software to convert PDFs to Word documents, images, text formats, ePub and multiple Microsoft Office formats. While it lacks some advanced tools, like text redaction, found in the best PDF converters, its ability to recognize and edit docs in multiple languages is its standout feature.
We found this PDF converter easy to use once you set it up. It offers a clean interface and support tools to guide you as you convert your first files to PDFs. However, setting up the program is time consuming, and this software is only accessible on the computer you load it on, limiting when and where you can use it.
You can drag and drop PDFs into the PDF editor, but when you do, each PDF opens as its own separate program. Other PDF creators we reviewed drag and drop into the same program as tabs or windows, making it easy to organize, combine and manipulate individual PDFs.
If you wish to combine files, you need to add them individually, which can become tedious. You can also convert Microsoft Word docs to PDFs by using the Print button in other programs and selecting the Print to Lightning PDF option. It also has optical character recognition (OCR) to convert scanned documents into searchable, editable files.
With Lightning PDF Professional, you can make limited changes to the text in your PDF. It retains the formatting you have, as long as it's a font the program recognizes. Otherwise, it reverts to the default font. While you can delete and rewrite existing text, the word-processing capabilities are sparse – you can type in the basic fonts, bold, italicize and underline words. Lightning recognizes 23 different languages, an advantage if you work with PDFs in multiple languages.
You can add images, watermarks and digital signatures as well as make comments and other editing markups. However, this software does not have a redacting tool to search out and delete specific information in your PDF. This feature, important for businesses that deal with sensitive information, lets you create a sanitized version of a document for distribution to people outside your office or business.
The software converts PDFs to Microsoft Office files, image formats, TXT and RTF. It stands out from other convert PDF software we reviewed in that it converts to the ePub format as well. This popular format for electronic books makes this an especially useful application for publishers or businesses wanting to offer eBooks. It compresses files for faster loading on the web or email, but it does not optimize them for mobile devices, nor does it save as PDF/A, which is the standard for archiving PDFs.
Lightning PDF's technical support resources are lacking. There is a user guide you can download on Avanquest's website. Customer support consists of a third-party system that sometimes directs you to tutorials or answers for other programs. Further, we reached out to Avanquest via email but never received answers to our inquiries.
Lightning PDF has several features that set it apart from the other PDF converter software apps. Specifically, it can convert to ePub formats and edit docs in over 23 languages. It has the basic conversion and editing features you'd expect from a PDF converter and is straightforward to use. However, it lacks some advanced features, like text redaction and mobile optimization. As such, it's a good software for businesses that deal with multilingual documents.