Although it's fast and simple, Nitro Pro does a messy job of converting PDFs to spreadsheets. With documents common in most newsrooms, it's not likely to save reporters time.
The software's ease of use, good documentation and robust community aren't much help when the things just won't work, and its lack of customization for data input and output means users must clean up their spreadsheet data manually or have the Excel expertise to automate it.
When Nitro does output data, it's not always very helpful. Many entries are lumped into the same cells, preventing filtering and sorting. Other entries are left out of the output file altogether, making me a bit nervous about reliability.
The software did perform well with our simplest task. But even that case wasn't without some difficulty.
That's because in every test, Nitro separated its Excel results over multiple sheets -- sometimes numbering in the hundreds -- making comparison impossible. Proper data analysis would require reporters to combine the sheets, which requires a working knowledge of macros and Visual Basic.
However, a Nitro representative said the company is aware of the problem and is working on a fix for the first half of 2012.
Some sort of input or output options could help here, but aside from the ability to specify page numbers in selected documents, Nitro has none.
Nitro Pro does have other common functions to help users create and edit PDFs. But for PDF-to-spreadsheet conversion, Nitro Pro could stand to trade speed and simplicity for customization and functionality.
Nitro was able to make quick work of this 50-page report generated from Microsoft Access, although a few rows of data are omitted. The biggest problem stems from split pages, which require a little programming knowledge to clean up.READ OUR FULL TEST RESULT »
Although it captures the data and formats it perfectly, Nitro splits this table of Bernie Madoff's customers over more than 100 pages. That kind of cleanup means a lot of work or a little programming knowledge.READ OUR FULL TEST RESULT »
Nitro Pro nailed the headings in this unlined table of political appointments, but not much else. The lack of lines confused the program, so it lumped entries into single cells. Sorting and filtering isn't possible as a result.READ OUR FULL TEST RESULT »