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pdfDocs Desktop 2.1 Suite

By Milton Hooper

May/June 2008 Table of Contents

We live in a PDF-dominated world. It seems that every law firm must deal with PDF documents during the course of each day. You are either converting other formats to PDF or trying to organize the PDF files you already have. How can you possibly herd them all together and organize them easily? PdfDocs Desktop 2.1 from DocsCorp offers a great solution. It also provides PDF creation, collation, annotation, redaction, form filling, OCR, document comparison and binding. PdfDocs easily could become your one-stop solution for PDF file management.

As we all know in the legal world, we deal with many different file formats such as word processing, e-mail, spreadsheets and Web pages. PdfDocs can combine all of these into either one single PDF or multiple PDFs. In addition, PDFs also can be edited, redacted, secured and e-mailed directly from the pdfDocs Organizer.

I am one that generally installs new software and figures it out on the fly; however, I needed a brief tutorial to understand how the pdfDocs Desktop works. The pdfDocs Desktop features an Organizer where you can drag-and-drop any file format. If the document isn’t a PDF file, the built-in PDF printer will convert it automatically. You don’t need Adobe Acrobat
Professional to operate pdfDocs since it provides you with different ways to add documents to the organizer. You can drag-and-drop into the Organizer, send the document directly from your word processing application or, if pdfDocs is not open, simply drag-and-drop a document onto the desktop shortcut.

Within your word processing application, such as Microsoft Word, you also can e-mail your document as a PDF, save as a PDF or save into your document management system as a PDF. PdfDocs works with many of the popular document management systems such as Hummingbird (now Open Text), Interwoven and Worldox. You don’t have to have a document management system to use pdfDocs but if you do, pdfDocs can integrate with it.

I was amazed at the ease and efficiency of converting my Word document to PDF. I never lost sight of it. When I sent it to e-mail, it opened Microsoft Outlook and immediately created my e-mail with my PDF-converted Word document as an attachment. Documents are attached to e-mails according to the original creation. For instance, if you created a 10-page document, it would be converted to a single PDF file with 10 pages. If you are preparing PDF documents for Electronic Case Filing, you probably are familiar with the fact that some courts have limitations on file sizes — usually 1 MB attachments. PdfDocs easily determines your PDF file size and can automatically split your documents into manageable batches so you can meet your court’s file-size restrictions.

In my test of pdfDocs, I assembled several types of documents such as Word, Corel WordPerfect, HTML and Plain Text (.txt) files. Each example I used easily moved into the organizer and converted to PDF. During this process, the documents also ran through the OCR process — I barely noticed they had done so. (If you have done this with Adobe Acrobat Professional, you know it isn’t always a quick process.) Of course, the OCR capabilities will depend on your PC’s system resources, or you can purchase the optional OCR Server, which can speed up the OCR process and run as a share on your network drive.

Once I moved my documents to the Organizer, I was able to organize my PDF files much more easily than in Adobe Acrobat. The documents that are moved to the Organizer are copies of the files so your originals are not affected. This is helpful in case you need to go back to your originals at a later point. At the page level, I could include or not include, move, cut and paste pages easily. Once I organized my PDF documents in the Organizer, I could save as PDF or TIFF files, and I could choose to either save all the files in my Organizer as one collated file or each one separately as individual files. Personally, I like the option to save as TIFF files since this means I can easily move the files to my trial presentation software.

Another nifty feature is the way pdfDocs creates bookmarks. If you have worked with bookmarking your PDF documents, you know that it takes a lot of time. With pdfDocs, bookmarking is an automatic process. The program automatically will detect headings and paragraphs, and create your bookmarks. When the bookmarks are created, you easily can review and delete the ones you don’t need.

In addition to the Organizer, pdfDocs features the PDF Binder. The Binder will take all the items you select and create a trial notebook or report book by merging the documents into one single- or multi-document Binder, creating a table of contents automatically to include hyperlinks. If you need to edit the table of contents, you can export it into a Word document, make the necessary changes and send it right back into the pdfDocs Binder. This feature particularly is useful if you are preparing for discovery or trial. If you need to Bates number your documents, you also can add Bates numbers to the header or footer in a single- or multi-document Binder. There also is flexibility in adding a prefix or suffix to your Bates numbers. The pdfDocs Binder keeps track of the numbering so when you add more documents, it will pick up with the next available number in your numbering set.

PdfDocs also offers form creation, which is a lot easier than using the Adobe products to create PDF forms. Simply open a document in pdfDocs and you can add text, lines and check boxes to create an interactive form.

In my opinion, pdfDocs is the best PDF solution I have seen thus far. PdfDocs works the way you do and integrates into the applications and systems you use everyday.         



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