9 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing PDF Software

The challenges humanity has faced over the last couple of years due to the pandemic have shown us that we can change the way we: work, upgrade our knowledge, socialize, exercise and whatnot. All from the comfort of our homes. 

In the same way, the whole job market has shifted, and doing business has also taken a new form – we got used to working remotely. 81% of employees feel they are more loyal to their employers when working remotely, and about the same percentage experience their job as less stressful when working from home. 

So now we don’t always go out into the world to work, even when we can. Likewise for the truly important issues like getting hired by a company and signing a contract. We can now do all of this online.

PDF Software has definitely played a major role in this process of standardization of the visual consistency of the documents we are sharing and using today. So, what is? And why is it important? 

PDF Software is a Portable Document Format which allows visual consistency across various platforms.  It’s the de facto format for sharing documents and that’s exactly why there are plenty of options out there to choose from when working with PDF.

So, how do you choose the correct software to use PDF safely, easily, and as an asset rather than a burden? 

Don’t worry, this is the article that will help you by offering you the nine key factors to consider when choosing PDF software.

9 Game-changing factors to look for when choosing PDF software

We can’t deny it, PDF software provide an easiness that boosts productivity. So where do you start searching from and what criteria should guide you? We’ve broken this down into nine factors that are most important:

  • Free form templates
  • Local platform
  • Editing flexibility 
  • Compatability
  • Size reduction
  • User-friendly platform
  • E-signatures
  • Security
  • Support

Free form templates

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To get started it’s always advisable to start with free trials or basic versions. You can even download professional free form templates without signing up to any platform. Of course it’s worth spending some money on good quality PDF software. But the reality is that most of the software out there allow you to start using the software and then decide whether it’s something worth investing in. 

Some of them have very clear budgeting options outlined for you to decide if upgraded versions are something worth considering even in the beginning.

Generally speaking, PDF software is not usually overpriced and can fit normal software budgeting. The free forms that you download are generally consistent, polished and ready to use. 

There are also great deals that can be used for teams and businesses. But, please always try the free version before deciding to make even the smallest investment.

Local Platform

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Every time it’s possible to use software that doesn’t require downloading an app, go for it. It’s definitely an asset. Not only does downloading burden the tool you’re using, but often times it’s not safe and requires safety measures to be taken into consideration. 

Also when you’re installing an app you have to make sure that the installed version is always up-to-date, which can also be a productivity setback sometimes. 

So an online platform that can be used within your browser would be the safest solution. This also means that it can be used across various tools (your phone, laptop, tablet, etc.). All you need is a safe internet connection and your browser of choice.

Compatibility

The PDF software you choose needs to be compatible with your operating system on all the devices you use. Make sure the software version you find includes features that are accessible from your browser to get the most of the tool. 

Compatibility means that the tool will run smoothly on your device without requiring any system changes. It is many times taken for granted. But it’s actually quite important. So, if not taken into consideration it will lead to an unpleasant overall experience with the software platform.

Editing flexibility 

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Always look for PDF software that offers a variety of options for editing your documents. These include: 

  • splitting and merging documents 
  • converting to and from other formats (Word to/from PDF, JPG to/from PDF, etc)
  • editing existing PDF files by adding text, images, shapes, etc

This will definitely make your life easier since using PDF means not changing a lot of things. However, this is not the case if you have a neatly organized platform, such as Smallpdf where you can actually do everything you need to your PDF file. It has an intuitive UI which can make these actions easy and seamless. 

Size reduction 

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This feature allows you to compress PDF files and make them smaller in terms of output document file size, therefore easier to send and share. This is becoming more and more important since a lot of companies and government institutions are introducing attachment policies with limited file sizes. 

Make sure that the platform you’re using for this also keeps good quality of the document and compresses the files. Keeping images compression ratio that allows the document to be visually usable and reasonably sized is a sign of a good PDF platform. It’s possible to have good-quality compressed files that are easy to manipulate and work with. One does not exclude the other.

User-friendly platform

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Imagine a platform created in a way that leads you through it seamlessly, without you putting barely any effort into it. That’s what user-friendly means. 

 Easy-to-follow navigation equals less stress for you at work. Find the tool that’s easy on the eye for you and gives you quick access to the features you frequently use. 

 A user-friendly software platform is intuitive and doesn’t require previous training or special skills when using it. 

E-signatures

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The traditional way of physically signing paper documents, contracts, and forms is slowly disappearing and paper-free business models are taking place. Most of us are used to electronic signatures, but in the last couple of years, digital signatures are taking over. 

Both of these signature types offer you to sign a document without being physically present. Neither does the other party and stakeholders need to be there. And no need to sign a hardcopy, printed version. It’s mess-free, hassle-free and so quick. 

Once you realize that things can really be handled this way you’ll never want to go back to the old world of endless paperwork and signing.  

So always choose a PDF software that offers you the option to have documents signed with any form of e-signatures.

Security

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All the best performance features are worthless if the PDF software cannot be trusted. Even more so because it’s usually used for legal documents, contracts, and papers of importance. 

Two important aspects in your selection should be considered:

  •  the security of the PDF platform 
  •  the security features that it enables. 

With the former, you need the assurance that the platform complies with standards that are relevant for electronic signatures such as the ISO/IEC 27001 and legal eIDAS standards, and furthermore the general compliance with the GDPR regulative. 

When considering the security features that are enabled inside the PDF platform, the most important ones are having the option to insert e-signature and use digital signing with certificate authority-issued validated identities. 

Support

Always look for a platform that offers customer support in case you need some help or have any questions. This may include something as simple as FAQs, Tips and Tricks, or clipart sketches to help you understand what you need to do. 

Support can also mean 24-hour email support or online tutorials which are most often included in the pro-versions that require payment.

Ready to start searching for the right PDF software

So if you take into consideration these nine factors, you’re definitely equipped to start looking for the best PDF software for your business needs. All of these tips should give you some sort of framework to guide you in the sea of many options you will find out there. 

Take all of them into account and decide which of them is most important for you personally or for your business. Once you know that you can start from there. Best of luck! We hope you found this useful.

Dan

About the author

Dan is an Adobe pro and professional UX designer. He loves building new creative assets for clients and shares her expertise on GFXMaker.com.

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