Able2Extract is a commercial-grade PDF software package. It can view, create, customize, convert and secure any PDF document according to an organization’s needs. Among all of its abilities, the software focuses on PDF conversion. In this Able2Extract review, we will be breaking the application down from an end-user perspective and see why it is one of the top contenders for the best PDF management application.
What is Able2Extract?
As their own parent company, Investintech, calls it, Able2Extract is “Your Swiss Army Knife for PDF Files”. It is a complete package with the ability to convert, create, edit, secure and do so much more in terms of PDF document management.
Able2Extract’s primary focus is on PDF conversion. The software dives deep to not only convert PDF documents both to and from any popular file format but also provide its users with ample options to customize these conversions according to their needs and file type.
The software understands the requirements of the heavy document customization that a business has and it provides accordingly. Able2Extract is performance-focused enough to allow organizations of any size to execute their PDF processes quickly thanks to the software’s heavy-duty OCR capabilities, added security features, PDF page customizations (split, merge, compare and rotate) and availability on any computer platform (Windows, Mac and Linux).
Overview of Features
- Create and customize PDF documents from scratch.
- Convert PDF documents to and from any popular file format.
- Save or import conversion templates for future use, especially for Excel.
- Batch processing for most functions are available.
- Create, Import, Export and Customize forms.
- Fully edit text and images.
- Compare files in a dynamic and snappy fashion.
- Complete security solution for PDF documents: Passwords, Redactions, Bates numbering and eSign.
- Advanced OCR. Multi-language packs are available.
- Modern interface with available Light and Dark themes.
Investintech is the self-proclaimed leader of PDF productivity, but these claims are not completely unfounded. They are developers and publishers of their own proprietary PDF technology to organizations small and large across 150 countries. [Source]
Home Page: https://www.investintech.com/
Address: Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Headquarters)
Able2Extract Review & Comparison
Our Verdict After Testing
Able2Extract has solid scores across the board. It truly lives up to its title of “Swiss army knife for PDF files”.
From the beginning, the software looks and feels very professional and modern. Very different from the others on our list, most of whom opted to follow a traditional Windows 10 layout. Another breakaway from the tradition that Able2Extract has is the availability of Light and Dark modes. A simple quality-of-life yet much-appreciated feature.
But where Able2Extract truly shines is in its document customizability and conversion capability. We have put the software through our extensive testing criteria and we are happy to announce that Able2Extract has come out to a more than satisfactory position.
Creating new PDF documents from scratch was easy, and so was working with forms. The options to edit text and images, both new and existing, on the document were extensive. It almost felt like we were editing the PDF document on MS Word.
The major strength of Able2Extract definitely is file conversion capabilities, especially for Excel spreadsheets. The software even has a dedicated Custom Excel tab in the primary options panel which contains a plethora of conversion customizations. From selecting specific tables to convert to adding and deleting them. Able2Extract also allows you to use the same table templates and even import them to make conversion precise and faster.
But before we drone on about its exceptional conversion abilities, we should also commend the other features that round up Able2Extract as a complete package and one of the top PDF software on our list. That is Security and Support.
However, by no means is Able2Extract a perfect software. It has its limitations even in places where it is most advertised, conversion. More discussion is done later in this article.
+ Great PDF document conversion tools: The tools are easy to use and have customization depth, especially for Excel.
+ Batch Processing: Able2Extract can work with multiple files working the same function.
+ Easy-to-Use: Minimalistic interface saves a lot of time navigating and the tabs are named intuitively.
+ Great OCR: Fast, reliable and advanced enough to read even the most difficult scanned files to make them edit-ready.
+ Modern Interface: Looks and feels professional. Has ergonomic features like soft, yet contrasting button colors and Light and Dark modes.
+ Great Pricing Scheme: Offers lifetime service on a single pay!
– Unexpected Lacking: Some basic customization functions are disappointingly missing from some important features, like in PDF to Excel conversion.
Comparison to Similar Products
Able2Extract has been one of the better PDF software we have experienced from those on our list. While it may not take the top spot, the race was very close.
Among the top three, Able2Extract simply lacks the number of features on display, which is the biggest blow to the software: access and diversity.
Able2Extract has less to offer in its main option tabs, two of which are dedicated to document conversion, the Convert and the more Excel-specific Custom Excel functions.
But on a positive note, the features that are available for use have a lot, and I mean a lot of customization depth. Both for editing in-document objects like text and images and also document conversions. We had no trouble working our way through even the toughest scanned document. That is especially thanks to Able2Extract’s advanced OCR capabilities.
The software does not have a dedicated OCR button, but it can immediately recognize a scanned document once you open it and transform it to be ready for edits.
We can go on and on about the overall outlook of the software with its unique approach to modernity. Not to mention the ease of navigation through the neon-colored buttons. But we will go into those details later.
So far, Able2Extract has been well worth the investment, no little thanks to its one-off payment scheme.
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Able2Extract once again falls short of the top position in this category, but not for the lack of trying. It’s just that the software’s unique approach to visual presentation and option positioning decisions may not be suited to all users.
Off the bat, we are presented with Able2Extract’s matte interface. Here we have a choice of selecting the Light or Dark modes. It is a preference thing, but if we had to guess then we think that most people would prefer the Dark mode. It just works.
On top of that, the option buttons within the main feature tabs have high contrast neon colors that do look very modern and aesthetic. But we understand that this minimalistic approach is a huge parting from the traditional Windows or Mac layout, making the decision very subjective to the person using it.
While not difficult, we did find navigation initially to be a bit complicated thanks to the somewhat bad naming convention that the main option tabs have. Trying to keep things simple and minimalistic may have backfired on Able2Extract. These tabs also have a muted color that may be difficult to see under certain lighting conditions.
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Able2Extract has standard customizability options. While it is not limited or has any common functions missing like many at the bottom of this criteria, it is not as deep or diverse as the top ones. Which is understandable seeing as the main focus of this software is PDF document conversion.
With Able2Extract, we have been able to edit text and images in multiple ways, and fairly easily. The software is able to recognize every single object available in the PDF and is able to edit them accordingly. Fine-tuning options are always available and are displayed in detail on the right-hand side of the window.
We have to credit Able2Extract’s brilliant OCR which helps make many of the scanned documents ready to be edited. The software also allows us to recognize and auto de-skew any lopsided scanned documents (the option is found in the OCR/R2V settings). It is a hit or miss, but we appreciate the option of being there. The only other software that had this option was Nitro Pro.
That said, our biggest surprise, and a pleasant one at that, comes from Able2Extract’s Compare function. Other top software on our list have this function, but the one in this software stands head and shoulders above. It was able to pick up even the smallest of differences on a page-to-page basis, making things easier to edit and save.
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Able2Extract again scores above average in this category and for the same reasons too. It offers standard document security which is more than enough for any small to mid-sized businesses, maybe even some larger ones.
Having any form of document security is good in our eyes considering that a couple of our choices that made it to the list do not have any. But its presence has become standard and expected as the days are going by.
Security in Able2Extract comes in the form of the Sign and Secure tab. Here you can upload an existing digital signature or draw yourself a new one. There is no ability to request signatures as of yet which we hope will change in future updates. But the function itself is no slouch, Investintech did put a lot of thought into document security as you can see [here].
Since version 14.0, Able2Extract has been also offering document encryption features. It works in a similar way as putting a password, as you might see on other similar software, but for the whole document.
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A common trend among the top scorers on our list is good online support. Be it troubleshooting, FAQs, blogs, or even tools, as an organization, we expect up-to-date resources from our software purchases. Able2Extract delivers.
Like all good solution developers, Investintech has its own YouTube page dedicated to Able2Extract. It contains short How To videos on most of its available functions, though some of them are quite old.
What is not old however is their online Knowledge Base, Blog and FAQ. These are updated with every version that rolls out and is very easy to follow, and quite informative if I might add.
One of the hidden gems that we have discovered at the time of writing this article is that Investintech (parent company) does have free-to-use online tools for file conversion, PDF reader and mobile apps.
We have tested out the conversion capabilities and we are happy to announce that it works pretty well, albeit with some formatting issues. It may not be on par with some dedicated online converters, but for a platform that is free and without restrictions, it is something worth looking into.
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Feature Showcase: Converting a PDF Document to Excel
Able2Extract has a unique, but much appreciated approach to PDF to Excel conversions. For one it has a lot of background customizations that you can help the software adapt according to your needs.
For the other, the software allows you to create custom selection templates for the tables that you are willing to extract.
This brings us to the two ways you can convert your PDF document to an Excel worksheet:
- The Standard Conversion
- The Table Template Conversion
Method 1: Standard Conversion
Step 1: Open your desired file.
You can do this from the File tab on the top left corner of the screen.
Step 2: Finalize your customization
Once you have your file opened, you can begin the conversion process by clicking on the Excel button under the Convert tab.
You can somewhat customize your final conversion results by tweaking the following options:
These are very standard. We honestly expected a bit more from a software like Able2Extract.
What is missing:
- Cannot extract to multiple pages according to the number of pages in the PDF document.
- Cannot extract each table to multiple pages.
At this point, we really are nitpicking.
Step 3: Convert!
Method 2: Table Template Conversion
Step 1: Open your desired file.
You can do this from the File tab on the top left corner of the screen.
Step 2: Select the Table
Select the area of the document that you want to convert by clicking and dragging your mouse over the area. Able2Extract will recognize any table in the area and highlight it for conversion.
You can tweak this further by changing the options presented on the right-hand side of the window, or the ones presented in the Custom Excel tab.
Step 3: Finalize your customization
Return to the Convert tab and repeat Step 2 from Method 1 as necessary.
Step 4: Convert!
As you can see, the conversion itself is pretty much flawless for both methods. Able2Extract has kept the integrity of the formatting of the original PDF, each character at a time. This is perhaps the best PDF to Excel conversion we have had in all our testing. No extra finetuning to the resultant sheet is required!
Extra Feature: Batch Conversion
The ability to batch convert files is critical for any organization. Able2Extract offers a seamless batch conversion option for all file formats.
You can find the option under Convert > Batch Converter.
While customization is standard and similar to that of Method 1, it does its work well.
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Able2Extract Professional offers the entire package to be purchased in a single payment scheme:
Full Price – $ 149.95 per user
They have recently added a monthly license scheme for users who seek to experience all the Able2Extract has to offer for 30 days.
Monthly License (30 Days)– $34.95
For new or interested users, Able2Extract also offers a 7-Day Free Trial with all of its features unlocked, after which it becomes a simple PDF viewer.
Working with Able2Extract has been a surprisingly pleasant experience. It was refreshing to see a modern take on a PDF management software without sacrificing much of the functionality that is expected.
While Able2Extract may not be our first choice on a level playing field, it is certainly up there with the best in the category.
With its modest pricing scheme and modern outlook, this software can easily take the place of the primary PDF driver for both the individual and businesses of any size.