Prepare your PDFs for editing with Able2Doc

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By Pete Davison Comment

Able2DocAble2Doc is a new iOS app from Investintech, a company that specializes in PDF solutions. Able2Doc is currently listed in the New section of the App Store’s Productivity category, and is available now as a free download.

Able2Doc is a file converter that allows users to take a PDF file and turn it into a Microsoft Word document. There are a lot of document-to-PDF converters available for iOS already, but going back in the other direction is something which is less commonly-seen — and just as useful in many situations, particularly if a PDF file is the only copy available of a document which needs amending.

Able2Doc is set up to receive files from other apps, and does not have any means of directly importing PDF files from within itself. Rather, it requires that the user make use of apps that feature the iOS “Open With…” dialog box, and pass the files on to Able2Doc that way. This means that it is possible to bring documents in from a variety of sources, including the iOS Mail app, Dropbox and numerous others, but it is perhaps not the most intuitive way of working. The app would perhaps benefit from a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Internet-based transfer system to complement its ability to accept incoming files, though once the user has familiarized themselves with the routine this is a relatively small issue.

Once a PDF file is imported into Able2Doc, it immediately begins the conversion process. This takes place online — the file is uploaded to Able2Doc’s servers and converted online, which means that relatively little strain is placed on the iOS device for the conversion process. The downside is, of course, that it requires an Internet connection to function at all — the addition of an offline mode for times when the user is out of range of a reliable connection would be beneficial, and it’s likely many users would accept a performance hit in exchange for being able to convert files wherever they are. Some users may also have privacy concerns about uploading potentially private documents to Able2Doc’s servers, but the developers assure users that all files are deleted after 24 hours and are not used for any other purposes than conversion.

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Once a file has been successfully converted, it shows up in the app’s main interface, where it may be viewed, deleted or shared via the iOS Open With… dialog. The resulting document can be opened in any app that will accept incoming .DOC files, so it is a simple matter to save the file to Dropbox or Google Drive, to email it to someone or even to edit it in a compatible piece of productivity software.

When tested, the conversion to .DOC was mostly sound, though it occasionally mangled the layout and text wrapping in documents with non-standard margins. These issues can be reasonably easily fixed with a bit of tweaking in the word processor in question, however — the important thing is that Able2Doc successfully performs its key function, which is to extract the text from a PDF file intact and make it editable.

Able2Doc is a decent app, then, albeit one that could use a few additional features to improve the user experience and workflow. For free, though, it’s certainly a decent effort, and a handy tool for those who need to convert files on the go.

You can follow Able2Doc’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.