There are several things to like about Cogniview's PDF2XL OCR, including a simple interface, an idiot-proof walkthrough feature, some customization options and a built-in optical character recognition feature for scanned documents. But while it performed flawlessly on two easy tests, it flopped on the more difficult problems.
It failed on a difficult 1,500-page scanned document, choking after about 50 pages. There was no apparent way to break down the file into bite-size, digestible pieces save for tedious clicking and dragging, unacceptable when working with such large documents.
It also stumbled with a report marred by abundant white space and irregular cell depths. The program's simple layout editor -- which will look familiar to anyone who has used Excel's text-to-columns feature or Access's import wizard -- allows the user to tweak the conversion and fix misplaced rows and columns. But these changes are made page by page, making anything but short documents unacceptable if its automatic conversion settings need help.
For large documents, Cogniview just isn't flexible enough. Users can define tables manually or choose to automatically detect them, but there are no choices in between.
The inclusion of the OCR feature justifies this program's price ($129.97 for a full version), which is somewhat more costly than other converters. There is a free evaluation version, but that it limits users to converting just 10 pages of any given document at a time. That may be enough, though, for someone with a deadline and a smallish one-time project.
PDF2XL OCR had no trouble with this document, a simple lined table of Bernie Madoff's customers and their addresses. Using the program's auto-detect feature, the 163-page document took only seconds to convert.READ OUR FULL TEST RESULT »
PDF2XL did a good job capturing information from this PDF of D.C. housing violations cleanly and accurately while minimizing hassle.READ OUR FULL TEST RESULT »
Although PDF2XL's OCR feature appears to cleanly translate the tricky font in this list of contributors to Gov. Jan Brewer's border fence project, the document's size stops the conversion in its tracks.READ OUR FULL TEST RESULT »