FinePrint 5.16 and pdfFactory Pro 2.16

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, February 2004, send e-mail
Published by: FinePrint Software, go to the web site
Requires: Windows 95, 98, 98SE, Me, NT, 2000 or XP
MSRP: $49.95 (FinePrint), $99.95 (pdfFactory Pro), $109.95 (pdfFactory Pro/FinePrint bundle)

When I received these products I was confronted by the quandary of figuring out how to approach reviewing them. I decided that I could only really do one thing - review and use them together. The products stand up very nicely on their own, each extending and enhancing the experience of outputting your documents. Initially I thought that FinePrint was just a paper saver. However, as I explored its capabilities I found many well thought out and nicely tuned features. Essentially, FinePrint is a Windows driver that provides advanced printing capability. pdfFactory Pro does a very nice job of creating pdf files, quite often creating files that are substantially smaller in size than similar ones created by Adobe Acrobat. PDFs can created from any program via its Print command.

One of the most useful features in pdfFactory is its ability to combine documents prior to pdf generation. This makes the creation of pdf documents from several sources a breeze. The ability to edit files before final generation is also useful. When you print using pdfFactory a preview window opens allowing you to view and make modifications to your file. Another one of the user friendly features of pdfFactory is its Autosave feature. The feature does generational saves and the autosave files can be deleted or managed from within pdfFactory.

The preview window also allows access to other features such as document info, font embedding, links, bookmarks and security. The font handling is similar to Adobe Acrobat. It should be noted however that, apparently, several pdfFactory users have commented that its files demonstrate greater compatibility with Acrobat Reader than Adobe's own pdf software. pdfFactory offers two levels of file security - 40-bit or 128-bit encryption.

The support for embedded links and bookmarks in pdfFactory is also quite simple. Just right-click on any page in the preview and create the link or bookmark. Similarly, adding pages to a print job is just as easy. Load the document, print to pdfFactory and the software will keep adding pages to the existing pdfFactory preview window.

The Integration between FinePrint and pdfFactory Pro is seamless and the functional unity is evident. Like pdfFactory Pro, to add pages or documents simply load the first document and print using FinePrint. To add additional pages or documents open the components or document you want to add and print them. FinePrint will add the documents to the open job or preview window. Once in the window you can make modifications, delete pages, add blanks, copy sheets to the clipboard and so on.

FinePrint can be set up to format 2, 4, or 8 pages to a single sheet. Printing can also be set up for double-sided output and booklet creation. It even supports duplex printing on non-duplex printers through an integrated option. Another nice thing about printing with FinePrint is that you can select your final output printer directly from the preview window. FinePrint and pdfFactory are very fine products and worthy additions to your output arsenal.

Cons: Both these products need a smart format option which can read the active area of any document or project you are outputting and format it accordingly. Adobe Acrobat handles this through the custom option and although you can configure your own printer within these tools, it could certainly be easier. It would also be nice to be able to rearrange pages once they are in the preview window without having to start deleting and reprinting.

Pros: These products work together well. They are easy to use and very powerful. The ease of configuration is nice, as is the fact that they seamlessly integrate with your existing printers and output environment. Online support with feature walkthroughs.

All in all these products are a must-buy for anyone who is looking to save paper when printing, creating and editing pdf files and combining documents from different sources. FinePrint has done a great job of creating two very powerful and useful utilities. Highly Recommended.

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