Image courtesy of Nuance
When I download a PDF form for an event or activity, I usually input my basic information right after I download it, even if I don't possess all the information to complete the form. I tell myself that I'll fill in what I can at the moment and save the file to finish it later. I'm often halfway through this process when I realize that the top form has a purple box that states:
"Please fill out the following form. You cannot save data typed into this form. Please print your completed form if you would like a copy for your records."
Not only have I wasted my time trying to start the form, I have to do all the work again later when I have all the pertinent information. And once I fill out the form, I have to print and scan it if I want a paperless copy for my records. That purple box frustrates me every time.
One of my favorite things about Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8 is that it gives me the ability to turn every PDF form into a fillable file that I can complete and save on my computer without having to print and scan it. I can turn it into a form that I can work on at my leisure, over multiple sittings, without having to start over from the beginning. PDF Converter software allows me to create PDF documents, including fillable forms, from scratch. It also allowed me to convert any Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or WordPerfect document into a PDF file and back again.
I downloaded and installed the Professional 8 version onto my Windows 7 laptop PC (64-bit). At first I was surprised by the large file size and the fact that it took nearly twenty minutes to install on my computer. My computer nearly froze because I was passing the time by watching a YouTube video. After the installation was complete, I saw that Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8 was not just a PDF converter but it also came with the Nuance Cloud Connector and the Gaaiho Collaboration tool, which allows multiple users to collaborate in real time on the same document. I work alone so I don't need this feature, but I still appreciated that it was there if I needed to collaborate on a document.
The PDF Converter software integrated with all my Microsoft Office applications. I didn't have to open the program to convert an open Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file into a PDF. I just had to click on the Nuance PDF tab in Office to create a PDF. See Figure 1.
Carter Law Firm is frequently hired to review contracts for clients. I prefer to print out all the pages and review hard copy, making handwritten notes in the margins. One of my clients prefers to save time and money by reviewing my handwritten feedback instead of having me write a full memo of my assessment of the document. I review the document and send the client a scanned copy of the document covered by my notes.
My firm uses Google for our email service, and shortly before I installed Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8 the client sent me a contract that was so long that the PDF of the contract with my notes exceeded the 25-megabyte limit for attachments. I had to use Dropbox to send it to him. I was pleased to see that PDF Converter can reduce the size of a PDF file. I tried it with the next document the client sent me and I was able to reduce a file that was initially over 7 megabytes to 1.71 megabytes. There was no noticeable difference in the visual quality of the smaller file.
Speaking of Dropbox, Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8 gives you the ability to open files directly from Dropbox and Evernote and save files directly to Dropbox and Evernote. This is very handy because I use Dropbox all the time to share files and receive files from others. See Figure 2.
Although I prefer to review hard copy, sometimes I don't want to write my notes in longhand and sometimes I don't have the paper document with me. In those instances, I like using the Dragon Dictation application built into the program to verbally dictate my notes into the PDF. It was super easy to use and the program accurately transcribed my voice into the document. Nuance suggests you use a noise-cancelling headset microphone when using this feature, but I was fine relying on the microphone that's built into my laptop when I was working in my quiet office.
I am in the process of writing my first book. Multiple authors have suggested that the best way to catch mistakes is to read the manuscript out loud. This advice likely applies equally to legal documents. PDF Converter has a "Read to File" feature that will convert the text of a file to an audio WAV file. The conversion took only a few seconds to turn a two-page document into an audio file. There have been many times when I've wished I had an audio recording of a document I was reading to help ensure I was reading it properly. The quality of Nuance's reading is good but the program struggles to pronounce unfamiliar words such as names. The voice lacks inflection and the sentences do not always flow like they would if an actual person was reading it. I suspect this is the highest quality you can expect from a reading program. It's best to read the document while you're listening to the recording so you understand what the program is trying to say when it mispronounces words.
The PDF Converter also has the FormTyper function that let me create my own forms to use and send to clients. I used the FormTyper to convert my client intake form, which I usually fill out myself during our first meeting. With the Converter software I created a digital intake form and emailed it to clients prior to our first meeting. I didn't read the instructions before I started to use this tool and it was user-friendly enough that I figured out how to do it in only two attempts. See Figure 3.
My only negative critique of this application is that it creates forms that come with the dreaded purple box -- forms that cannot save input. I would prefer to send a form to prospective clients that they can fill out and return to me without having to print and scan it. They would need their own PDF converter that will turn the form into a form they can save after completing.
The Nuance PDF Converter Professional 8 is cost effective at $99.99. The price is the same whether you download the file or buy it on disc. I used the version for PCs but there is also a version for Macs.
Product: PDF Converter Professional 8
Attorney Ruth Carter is the owner of Carter Law Firm in Phoenix, Ariz. Email: Ruth@CarterLawAZ.com