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 PDF Architect

PDF Architect is a PDF application made by pdfforge. It is advertised as “the only customizable PDF editor” and as such it’s a relatively unique product. Its customizability lies with the fact that the application can be purchased as a series of modules, each with its own range of functionalities. Depending on your needs, you can choose to only download certain modules, making PDF architect a highly cost-effective proposition for your PDF needs.

Although it’s quite limited, the free version allows you to read PDF files. From there, you can elect to buy individual modules, for editing, converting and creating documents, or go with different packages such as Standard and Pro.

In this way, PDF Architect really stands out from the competition, but overall it appears to have certain limitations that others don’t. Its OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is only available with its highest level (Pro) package and it doesn’t support as many languages as other applications do (8 in this case).

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Pros

Easy-to-use – the learning curve with PDF Architect is relatively low, even if it is a unique platform.

Modular – PDF Architect is a highly customizable product, which could be a big plus if you only need certain things out of your PDF application. The pre-made packages can also save you some money if you decide to go with a more complete version.

Good editing capability – while some features of PDF Architect are limited by the packages you purchase (such as OCR), we found the editing module to be powerful and easy to use for manipulating documents.

Cons

Viewing module – to unlock all the viewing functionalities, you must pay for the viewing module, which is a drawback considering you can get other programs that allow you to view PDFs for free.

No mobile optimization – PDF Architect can optimize your documents for display on the web, but not for mobile platforms.

No drag and drop editing – this limits your ability to easily re-arrange files in a document.

No ePub formats – although it supports a wide range of document formats, PDF Architect cannot covert to ePub format.

PDF Architect Review

PDF Architect provides a wide range of PDF document functionalities such as viewing, rotating and merging documents, batch conversion, secure electronic signing and OCR. Since it’s built from individual modules, you can either pick and choose only the ones you want (Edit, Convert, and Forms for example) or go with pre-made packages. Note that the pre-made packages offer significant savings over choosing individual modules.

Converting performance is decent with PDF Architect – it accurately converts to and from MS Office formats with ease. Batch conversion is also relatively fast and easy in this respect.

Collaboration is also made easy with PDF Architect. It features annotation and redaction tools, version tracking and secure e-signing functionalities that all work well.

The program is easy-to-use and fast, and there is plenty of helpful material on its website and within the user community to help you learn to use it and solve any issues you might encounter.

The specialized modules the application is built on are quite powerful in themselves, especially the editing module. It handles complex document manipulations easily. Since you have the option of only getting what you want with PDF Architect, you could luck out if you only need to go deep on one aspect of PDF management.

Final Verdict

PDF Architect is truly a unique approach to the standard model of PDF software currently available. Its modular system can end up being very cost-effective for some, but could be a bit of a complicated headache for some just looking for a good range of functionalities without trying to build their own solution. It can come across as quite limited depending on how you build it or which package you purchase – OCR is only available in the Pro package, for example.

It offers decent performance in viewing, editing, converting and collaborating on documents, and features the standard cloud-connectivity that users have come to expect from their PDF software – easily integrating with Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and OneDrive. Its security and e-signature features are also reliable.

All in all it’s a decent and relatively affordable program recommended for those that really want to take the time to build a customized PDF solution for their needs.

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