The problem with using decentralized PDF exporters and converters

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of PDF exporters and converters out there. They’re online. They’re available as apps. They may even be downloadable to your computer. But unlike Foxit software, many of these programs are written by many different developers for different reasons—and sometimes, not to ISO standards for consistency of operation or compatibility.

And that’s where the problems can occur.

Anyone who uses open source software knows that one of the drawbacks can be the uncertainty of compatibility. In the PDF world, that can mean that the document you create, convert, or receive isn’t compatible with your or someone else’s version of the same software. Sometimes, the PDF document you get from someone using a free converter won’t render onscreen, has weird text or characters, or simply won’t open.

Also, all of these bits and pieces of software offer different features. For example, one user may want to export the links in PDF documents. Another may need to archive the whole document with graphics. Yet another entire corporate division may be tasked with archiving PDF documents in PDF/A for long term readability and searchability.

Can these situations result in incompatibility issues? Of course. Can they even create situations where end users are faced with a document that won’t even convert to a PDF? Absolutely.

While all these scenarios are not entirely unavoidable, they do stem from a common problem: standardization.

In earlier articles, we’ve discussed the benefits of standardizing on a single PDF solution across your enterprise. Not the least of which are your ability to rely on a unified set of underlying standards for how the PDF software solution you use works, what types of features it offers, who supports it, and who you can rely upon if you need technical support.

If you’re relying on a variable selection of PDF exporters and converters, perhaps it’s time your organization considers standardizing on a single solution that can handle all users’ needs across any platform you can throw at it.

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