Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Nitro PDF: Saves me money and time

For the past few weeks, I've been using a product called Nitro PDF Professional to create and manipulate PDF's. I was considering Adobe's Acrobat Professional but didn't relish the idea of paying almost $400 for it, particularly since a lot of the PDF manipulation I do is simple stuff.

Nitro has been very easy to use, was a breeze to install, and has been well worth its purchase price (I had a special offer to get it for $49 - the normal price via Amazon is $79). Here are some of the things I use it for:

  • Outboxpile_1I print articles from the web to archive and share. This lets me send articles without fear the links will quit working (some articles roll off after some period of time).

  • I combine PDF's. Sometimes I want to combine information from multiple sources into one document (such as part of a Word doc, some Excel data, and some PowerPoint data, perhaps intermingled with things off of our internal Wiki collaboration tool). I simply print them to the Nitro PDF "printer" and use Nitro to combine them.

  • In an earlier post, I mentioned that I do a lot with Microsoft Project - Nitro makes it easy for me to print project plans, resource plans, etc. to PDF and combine them with other documents and data sources to provide a "one stop" project summary.

  • I download bank statements and credit card statements, then use Ntro's "highlight" capability to highlight and annotate items for documentation for expense reporting. Since I travel a lot, I do this all electronically and send the statement via email as a PDF.

  • Nitro allows me to convert PDF's to Word documents, which is handy when I want to incorporate product descriptions, etc. into summary documents I often create.

  • I print presentations to PDF so I can distribute them. Where necessary, this keeps people from reusing copyrighted material (I can "lock" the PDF to prevent cutting and pasting from the document), but a big thing if you are presenting financial data is that this prevents people from drilling into the "hidden" data behind graphs in PowerPoint.

    • You see, if you create a graph in Excel and paste it into PowerPoint, anyone with the PowerPoint file can open the underlying data sheet and see any data in the spreadsheet - including things on other tabs that you don't want them to see. This approach prevents that.

If all you want to do is read PDF's then use the Acrobat Reader available for free from Adobe. If, however, you want to do more manipulation of PDF's I recommend you check out Nitro PDF Professional as a cost-effective option.