Foxit PhantomPDF is an all-in-one PDF editor with a focus on PDF conversion to and from other popular file formats. Off the bat, it is a heavyweight software that promises to cater to all of an organization’s PDF needs but falls short on certain simpler functions. This Foxit PhantomPDF review will look at all of these features from an end-user perspective.
Foxit PhantomPDF Overview
What is Foxit PhantomPDF?
Foxit PhantomPDF is first and foremost a PDF editor. It aspires to be one of the heavyweights in this field by providing its users with a plethora of functions and customizability options. Be it creating PDF documents, editing existing ones, converting PDFs to different formats, or securing documents for an organization, PhantomPDF can do it all.
But with certain catches, which we will get into later.
Foxit’s focus on providing its customers with an all-round PDF solution has enabled it to provide us with two versions of the software: Standard and Business. These packages have associated features that Foxit believes they might need. Most importantly, and unlike many of its direct competitors, Foxit offers the entire package with a one-off payment scheme which is great news for any individual or organization alike.
Foxit PhantomPDF Details
Supported Languages: Chinese-Simplified，Chinese-Traditional，Danish，Dutch，English，Finnish，French，German，Italian，Japanese，Korean，Norwegian，Polish，Portuguese-Brazilian，Russian，Spanish Latin America and Swedish. (With Multi-Lingual Package)
Overview of Features
- Create, edit, convert, manage and share PDF documents.
- Great OCR capabilities.
- Highly customizable options for objects in the PDF document.
- Decent PDF conversion options.
- Provides basic document security (some features, like Redaction, are only available in the Business package of the software)
Foxit Corporation’s primary mission is to develop and provide top market competitive and innovative PDF solutions to organizations of all sizes. Their motto “Do More With Documents” says a lot about their focus and commitment.
Address: Fremont, California, United States.
Foxit PhantomPDF Review & Comparison
Our Verdict After Testing
Foxit PhantomPDF gives off the feeling of overwhelming averageness. After having used the software for a couple of weeks, we can’t remember any standout features that it provided, except perhaps the text editor.
While Foxit does stay true to its promises of presenting us with virtually all the functions that an organization would require, that feeling of confidence behind this promise is offset by its overall performance issues.
The options panel is jam-packed with tabs, many with options that can also be found on other tabs. This blatant bloating of features did not really sit well with us, something that Foxit really could have done without.
Once we had gotten over Foxit’s hard-to-please approach, however, we found ourselves quite enjoying the many features the software had on offer. While navigation through the tabs had smoothness (framerate) issues, the processes themselves were pretty snappy.
Editing text and images were easy, file conversions were fast (yet simple) and the OCR engine did its work pretty well. All was going well until we found a lack of document security options.
+ Easy to use: Once you get past the cluttered interface, the options that are presented are pretty simple to understand and operate.
+ Has a large list of convertible formats: Not only your basic MS Office formats, but Foxit also can convert PDF documents to XML, HTML and any kind of text format.
+ Share Documents: You can directly share your documents right from the software. Direct integration to Evernote and OneNote.
+ Functions for Multi-Language PDFs: Editing and converting PDF documents with a variety of languages is very easy for Foxit PhantomPDF. You may have to download extra language packs for certain languages.
+ Deeper Features: Foxit goes the extra mile with certain features, especially with text editing.
+ One-time payment scheme: A single lifetime payment will see you enjoying all of this software’s benefits.
– Cluttered: A lot of repeated features in different tabs clutters the overall outlook of the software and can prove to be counterproductive to many users.
– Laggy: Navigating through the options may sometimes make the software lag or go on a loading state, especially if you have Google Chrome open with a few tabs in the background.
Comparison to Similar Products
Working with Foxit PhantomPDF over the past couple of weeks has been a lukewarm experience. We understand that Foxit is trying its hardest to be able to cover all of an organization’s PDF needs, but the almost overwhelming number of features has proven to be a double-edged sword.
Off the bat, PhantomPDF gives off a familiar vibe as it takes much of its design inspiration from the MS Office layout. All the major tabs and functions are similarly placed so that navigation won’t be a hassle.
Well, I guess that was the idea at least. There are thirteen tabs that you can navigate to, each hiding intuitively placed options. We never found it difficult to find the features we were looking for. But having thirteen tabs also means that the number of total features will rise exponentially. And it does.
While it may not necessarily be a bad thing, it does, however, affect the overall performance of the software negatively. We have experienced occasional lag while navigating and the software also forcefully put us on a load cycle for a couple of seconds where we couldn’t take any action.
Under the guise of having many functions, Foxit hides the fact that it has a few missing as well.
- There is no dedicated Create PDF button, you have to go to the Convert tab and click on the blank option.
- The Compare function is not automated like many of its competitors. It only opens two documents side by side for you to compare manually.
- Cannot remove Watermarks.
- Cannot extract pages from a document.
Anything else you can find in the software’s giant library of features.
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While Foxit does get some points for having a familiar interface design, it is the feel of using the said interface is that counts at the end of the day.
On the upside, navigation is fairly easy. Like its competitors, the landing page of Foxit PhantomPDF presents us with all the major functions that it has on offer. The page also includes a link to video tutorials offered by Foxit which covers all the necessary features you might be using the software for.
Foxit PhantomPDF may have thirteen different tabs worth of features, but these are aptly named and we had no problems finding the features we were looking for.
On the downside, it looks like a mess. At a first glance or as a new user, the top ribbon is sure to look like a clutter that may push users to disengage from the software.
PhantomPDF again receives an average score. There are no real complaints about the functions that are available in Foxit Phantom PDF, at least for the ones that are available.
Out of all the options, it is the text editor that really stands out. We were easily able to directly add text, add text boxes and customize all the text in the document in every way possible. OCRed or scanned documents weren’t an issue either. There are literally four different highlighting options that are good to have but a tad bit unnecessary.
Image and object editing is also pretty fleshed out. Under the Edit tab, clicking the drop-down tray of the Edit Objects will reveal all the types of objects that you can edit in your document. While not completely necessary, Foxit did allow us to customize the shading of objects.
Foxit PhantomPDF does advertise its focus on PDF conversion, so imagine our disappointment when we found out that the process, while fast, is pretty bare-bones. Especially compared to the other heavy hitters on the list. It doesn’t even allow batch conversions!
You might have already noticed a trend: Foxit PhantomPDF sort of bloats its available features with some mundane ones while completely ignoring some major functions as mentioned previously.
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Like most of its competitors, Foxit PhantomPDF has a standard amount of security features readily available. But some security features are associatively found under certain packages of the software.
You can find all of the security features available under the Protect tab. Here you will find the options to Password Protect your pages or Certificate Protect your whole document. You can Sign your documents from here as well, but unfortunately, there is no way to request a signature. That is unless you are registered with DocuSign which Foxit has integrations with.
In terms of hiding sensitive information in your document, PhantomPDF has Redaction and Whiteouts of information locked behind the Business package of the software. It is understandable that as an individual this feature is not always a necessity, but it is a good to have and most of the top PDF editors naturally have it anyways.
You can however Sanitize and Remove Hidden Information from the PDF document.
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We are very satisfied with what Foxit PhantomPDF has to offer in terms of online support. We can confidently say that it is on par, if not better than, many of its competitors.
You can directly access the Help Center and Online Tutorial directly from the software itself under the Help tab. Or you can just access their entire support library online [Foxit Support].
The library itself is pretty extensive, consisting of How To videos of most of the features offered by Foxit, User Manuals, Security and so much more.
But what Foxit does not provide that some of its competitors have is any sort of online PDF editing features.
Feature Showcase: Converting a PDF Document to Excel
It should be a no-brainer that we would choose to show off Foxit PhantomPDF’s advertised PDF conversion capabilities as a showcase, right?
So let us look at how to convert a PDF document to an Excel spreadsheet with the software:
Step 1: Opening your desired document
Unlike some of its top competitors, Foxit PhantomPDF does not have a dedicated Convert button on its landing page. So we have to get started in an old-fashioned way, by opening a file.
Thankfully Foxit does have an Open File button right here on the landing page or you can find the option under the File tab located on the top-left corner of the window.
Step 2: Setting up the conversion process
Once you have your document open, click on the Convert tab at the top of the window.
Here you will see a lot of options presented to you. But what you are looking for is the To MS Office button. This contains all the MS Office convertible formats. For now, click on To Excel.
This should open up the Save As window. You can convert and save the file as it is, but clicking on the Settings… button at the bottom of this window will bring up the Conversion Options that Foxit has available for its users.
Here you can:
- Select the range of pages to convert. You can do this by individually writing down the page numbers or writing down the range of page numbers.
- Change Numeric Settings.
- Change Workbook Settings. Select whether you want to convert the selected pages to a single worksheet, a worksheet for each page, or a worksheet for each table.
- Change Export Engine Settings. This is based on whether your document is primarily text or images.
While it may not be the deepest of customization options, it is enough to get the job done.
Step 3: Check you converted file
After hitting Save your file should be converted successfully.
It is advised that you check your converted file for formatting and fine-tuning.
As you can see, Foxit does a very good job of keeping the integrity of all the rows and columns of the table intact. If we can look past the text alignment issue then this can be considered an almost perfect conversion, definitely living up to what Foxit advertised!
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Foxit graciously offers a one-time payment for their packages:
|Foxit PhantomPDF Standard||$182.85|
|Foxit PhantomPDF Business||$228.85|
You can find the comparison of the packages Here.
If you are a new user, or are just looking to test out the software, you can opt for a 14-day Free Trial of the Standard version of the product.
With its absolute basic features, easy-to-use interface and decently fast processes, Foxit PhantomPDF serves as an indicator of what an average office PDF software would look like.
In our two weeks of testing, we have put the software through its paces. From creating, editing, converting and sharing documents, Foxit finds itself in the middle of our standing.
So if your workplace’s focus is on quick and accurate PDF conversions and heavy editing of documents, then Foxit PhantomPDF might just be the driver for you. Considering its payment scheme, Foxit will cost you and your organization significantly less in the long run.