With a functionality as extensive as the one you find in other professional PDF creation and editing tools (Adobe Acrobat included) but with a more affordable price tag, PDF Architect allows you to create, edit, view, convert, review, and secure and sign PDF files in an intuitive and nice-to-look-at working space. Its modular design will let you build the version of PDF Architect that better fits your needs and your budget.
Modularity can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you will only pay for those functions that you really need, if your PDF requirements happen to be that precise and well delimited. On the other hand, you will be asked to pay a comparatively high price for each module you want to add to your app. If your requirements are not specific enough, chances are that you end up buying the full package on a module-by-module basis for the price of two. To complicate things, pdfforge hasn’t made available a true trial version to help indecisive users to find out what they really want from PDF Architect. Thus, the free version provided gives you access to the View module, where you can barely open and read your PDF documents, as well as rotate, delete, merge, and move selected pages.
This is as much as anyone can say about PDF Architect’s functionality without purchasing other modules or one of the three packages offered. The prices range from 10 to 40 USD per module, except for the Create module, which can be downloaded for free and added to your View module. Why this other free module needs to be downloaded and installed separately is beyond me, but the truth is that it does make that first lame free version look less lame. This module will let you create PFD files from scratch or from various text- and image-based files. The results, as it usually happens when converting to and from PDF, are mixed – simple and short documents usually come out perfect, while long and complex files tend to have a number of layout issues.
The remaining modules are a mystery to me and to anyone who believes in trying before buying. Instead of watermarking the resulting documents or limiting the program’s functionality to a precise number of pages, PDF Architect has adopted the more and more common approach of locking its features to anyone not willing to pay upfront. The modules the program offers sound really tempting, and they are so cleverly intertwined that once you try one you’ll find it difficult not to purchase the rest. For example, the free Create module will let you produce PDF files from a scanner, but if you want them to be editable you’ll need to purchase the OCR module, as well as the Edit module if you happen to change anything or simply correct any scan errors. If only anyone could test all of these modules at once, even with the expected limitations, that would make making the right choice a lot easier and this modular approach worth trying.