Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
With its ribbon-style navigation, similar to Microsoft Office's, Nitro Pro 8's interface should feel familiar and intuitive. The top-level tabs include File, Home, Edit, Review, Forms, Protect, and Help. Click on any of these to reveal a row of buttons immediately below. Large icons along the toolbars make it easy to identify functions, so the program is straightforward, even for beginners.
As for the guts of the program, Nitro Pro offers all of the functionality you would expect from a complete PDF package. It makes it incredibly easy to create, convert, insert, edit, review, secure, sign, and even add redactions to PDF files. Recent updates to Nitro added even more conveniences, like expanded Asian language support, more streamlined conversions to Office formats, and expanded support for third-party applications like Evernote.
Nitro's convert function is a huge selling point for the program. It works in just a few clicks, and allows you to convert batches of PDFs to Word or Excel files, images, or even plain text. If you're working with scanned images, Nitro can easily detect them, apply its OCR (optical character recognition) powers, and convert your images into searchable, fully editable Word or Excel documents. And if you're converting PDF tables to Excel, Nitro lets you choose to export to a single worksheet or multiple worksheets, which is an improvement over previous versions.
With the latest patch to version 8.5 (included with a purchase of version 8), Nitro incorporated a nifty PDF-to-PowerPoint feature. For anyone who works with presentations often, this one-click converter is a godsend. The flexibility that Nitro offers in converting PDFs to different file formats and back is unequaled and undoubtedly one of my favorite things about the program.
The Stamp Signature tool is convenient, as it captures, stores, and overlays your handwritten signature on PDF files. It even password-protects your saved signatures so other users can't gain access. To use it, just snap a photo of your signature and create a QuickSign profile within Nitro.
Nitro Pro's Auto Recovery is another useful feature. With it, you can rest assured that your work can be restored in the event of a system or program crash. The feature is enabled by default, and can be customized to back up your changes at different intervals.
While it's true Nitro Pro comes filled to the brim with features, where it really excels is performance. It opens files significantly faster than other PDF programs, including Adobe Acrobat. Plus, all of its tools work smoothly, without performance lags. I was impressed by the speed with which I could edit images, combine multiple PDFs, convert PDFs to other formats, and perform other typical operations.
One thing Nitro Pro should incorporate in future versions is multimedia embeds. Today, Acrobat is ahead on this front, as Adobe's product does let you add interactive elements like audio and video clips to PDF files. Granted, the lack of this functionality isn't likely to disappoint too many of Nitro's core users. But given the fact that Adobe is pushing its software in this direction, I do expect to see "interactive PDFs" become more popular.
Overall, Nitro Pro 8 provides everything you could ask for from an all-in-one PDF solution. With its rich feature set and intuitive interface, it makes it a snap to handle PDF files and forms. Plus, it gives you the power to add stamps, watermarks, and security to your documents, all for a smaller price tag than that of Adobe Acrobat.