We’ve had our tryst with some really good PDF editors for the iPhone but doc-to-pdf converters are hard to come by. The latest converter we tested was PowerPDF – a damn good product but obviously a pricey thing for most of us.
Able2Extract PDF Converter is probably the best free iPhone/iPad PDF converter at the moment. Despite featuring an old and out-dated design that was updated sometime last year, using Able2Extract PDF is relatively easy and it lets you convert documents of any type to PDF files almost instantly.
Different people have different reasons to want some sort of a PDF conversion tool. For desktops, this is a resolved issue: there are hundreds of free and paid PDF converters. For the iPhone and the iPad, there aren’t many. And the ones that promise you a seamless PDF conversion right on the device have complexities: you’ve got to login/sign up for some service or you have to pay to get the app.
Able2Extract PDF Converter is free. And it doesn’t come with any sophistication. There are no signups, no entering data or no first-steps. In fact, the journey doesn’t even begin in the app. It starts elsewhere.
Using Able2Extract PDF Converter is probably the easiest thing. You bring documents to Able2Extract PDF Converter from the other apps via the ‘Open In’ option. For instance, I open a document (sent as an attachment) in my Mail app, tap on the share icon and tap on Open In. Then, I tap on the icon for Able2Extract.
The app will import the document and list it in the interface. From here, there are only two options for the file: convert it to PDF or share it (via other apps; the usual share sheet shows up).
Tapping on the PDF icon will upload the document to Able2Extract’s servers where the original conversion takes place. The converted file (PDF) is saved to your iPhone/iPad and an online copy is retained for 24 hours. (It’s secure and anonymously stored according to the developers. It gets auto-deleted after 24 hours).
You can share the converted PDF file via the Messages app, Mail and open it via other apps too.
But that’s not all.
Most apps focus on one thing, on one direction of conversion. PowerPDF, for instance, converted documents to PDF. Able2Extract does that just fine but it can also do the reverse. It takes a PDF file and converts it to documents, spreadsheet or even plain text. For simple PDF files, the conversion is as you’d expect it to be: good. (the developers have another app, Able2Doc PDF to Word, for this purpose)
There are a few glitches here and there, most of them ignorable but it gets to you after a while. The interface is old and that’s obvious. The app had its last update almost a year ago. While the uploading/conversion/downloading routine is decently paced, sometimes, opening a file within the app is painstakingly slow.
I’d say that Able2Extract PDF Converter is a decent app if you want a quick fix. If you need to convert a document to PDF quickly, and all you’ve got is the iPhone, this is the app that does it.
Also read our post on Foxit, a free PDF editor for the iPhone/iPad.