Ashampoo PDF Pro

Ashampoo PDF Pro 2.0

Create and modify PDF files directly from your scanner or from an existing file

PDF files have become the “de facto” standard for document delivery and interchange due to its inherent resistance to be modified and altered. However, sometimes it is necessary to perform certain changes on a PDF file, and there is where Ashampoo PDF Pro comes to the rescue. This utility can help you edit and enhance your PDF files in an intuitive way, and even translate its contents or compare two different versions of a PDF file.

Knowing the nature of PDF files, the way text is built inside the document, the fact that PDF was designed “not” to be modified in any way, and after using and reviewing a number of PDF editors (Adobe Acrobat included) I think it’s safe to say that there is no such thing as “editing a PDF file as if you were using a standard word processor” such as Microsoft Word. There is no way to edit a PDF with the same ease and achieve the same results, simply because a PDF file is not a pure “text file”, but an image-based file with some text hidden somewhere down there and linked to the image. Even PDF files created from Word files will face issues when changing things.

Having said that, Ashampoo PDF Pro is no different from other PDF editors when it comes to dealing with reflowable text, removing or adding content, editing scanned PDFs, etc. Though editing a PDF file is simple and intuitive using this tool, the results are – as expected – mixed at best. If the PDF file comes from a previous text file, such as a Word document, things are much easier, but do not always expect to see text flowing gracefully from one line to the next, one page to the next, with the same easiness we do that in Word. Text will overflow the existing text box, and you’ll have to enlarge it a bit or send text to the next page manually, and keep on doing that until you find enough free space on a page to hold all the new text. Depending on how and with which tool the original document was created, the PDF may “know” what words are and will respect their structure when creating new lines, or it may simply produce meaningless groups of letters, which is how many PDF files store your precious text, by the way.

If the PDF comes from a scanned or image-based PDF, then things get more complicated. Ashampoo PDF Pro includes an OCR engine to change your scanned text into real text, with all the caveats and spelling mistakes inherent to most OCR engines. Besides, when editing the converted text, Ashampoo offers you’re a specific OCR correction tool, which will show you “the text behind the image”, allowing you to edit it in any way. The problem is that when you close the OCR editing mode and go back to the real PDF, none of those changes are displayed on the file – the changes are there, in the background text, but the text in the image remains unchanged, rendering all your edits useless.

Ashampoo PDF Pro is an average PDF editor, with interesting extra tools – such as an external translation service or a snapshot-taking tool – but it suffers from most of the drawbacks of the majority of PDF editors whenever the changes affect more than a couple of words in a text. Besides, the only accessibility feature that it offers is the option to determine the reading order within the pages of the document, so that columns and titles and sidebars and other non-linear elements are read in the right order. Overall, the results are of a quality lower than expected for a “Pro” editor, especially when dealing with image-based PDF files.

Francisco Martínez
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Compare PDF files in a side-by-side view
  • Define the reading order
  • Add text and reflow the resulting paragraphs
  • Change the size of the text boxes
  • Insert images
  • Rearrange, extract, and insert pages
  • Take snapshots of pages and selected areas

Cons

  • Shows problems rearranging text after adding some new one in certain documents
  • Opens each document in a new window
  • Lacks accessibility features
  • OCR corrections does not really change the original text
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