There are many choices when it comes to selecting a technology partner to support PDF Productivity. Which is the right one for you? In this article we compared two of the bigger players in the space - Foxit and Nitro PDF Pro.
We evaluated the following:
- Reviews and Ratings
According to their LinkedIn description, “Foxit is a leading software provider of fast, affordable and secure PDF solutions. Businesses and consumers increase productivity by using Foxit's cost effective products to securely work with PDF documents and forms.”
Nitro is a global document productivity software company accelerating digital transformation in a world that demands the ability to work from anywhere, anytime, on any device. Nitro enables organizations to drive better business outcomes through 100% digital document processes and fast, efficient workflows. The Nitro Productivity Platform offers comprehensive business solutions, including powerful PDF productivity, unlimited eSigning and industry-leading analytics, all supported by a superior customer success team.
Both companies offer different pricing options.
At a one time purchase, Foxit’s PDF plans for both Windows and Mac are available for $159, or $49.99 per year for a Cloud hosted version. Also a one time purchase, Foxit PDF Editor Pro (Windows only) is available for $179. The Foxit PDF Sign Bundle is available for a subscription of $149/year.
Nitro PDF Pro for Windows is available at $179.99 for a one time license up to 20 users. Nitro PDF Pro for Mac is available at a lower cost, with a one time license of $129.95.
Both products are neck in neck in terms of functionality. Below is a feature list that both products incorporate:
- Create a PDF from virtually any document, image or file type
- Drag & drop to create and combine PDFs
- Insert, delete and organize pages in a PDF
- Combine multiple files and file types into one PDF
- Deep integrations with common systems including Office 356, Sharepoint 365, One Drive for Business, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive
- Copy and paste while keeping formatting intact
- Batch-create files
- Convert Word, PowerPoint and Excel files to editable PDF (and vice versa)
- Convert scanned documents into editable, searchable PDFs
- Convert PDFs to JPEG, TIFF or PNG image formats
- Convert web pages to interactive PDFs, complete with links
- Convert CAD files to PDF
- Extract text and images
Apply and Request Signatures
- Request secure, legally binding eSignatures (*Nitro Sign integration)
- Lightweight eSigning workﬂows, designed for speed and ease of use
- Apply your own eSignature
- Digitally sign and certify documents
- Send, track, and conﬁrm eSignatures with real-time notiﬁcations and analytics
- Easy mobile signing optimized for smartphones and tablets
- eSigning templates for frequently used forms
- Easily add documents and templates that your whole team can access (*Nitro Sign integration)
- Easily add electronic signatures to your documents via image or imprints
Build and Fill PDF Forms
- Static XFA form support
- PDF form creation and editing
- Easily create, ﬁll, sign, send, and store forms
Keep PDFs Secure
- Add password protection and permissions to PDFs
- Redact to permanently remove sensitive information from PDFs
- Create protected PDF ﬁles that restrict copying and editing
- Secure PDFs with Microsoft Rights Management Services (RMS) 2.0
- Encryption support for 64-, 128-, and 256-bit (with R6 support)
- Work with digital signatures including chain of trust support
- Manage digital signature proﬁles & certiﬁcates
- Create and manage digital IDs
- Batch security
- Document version tracking
Edit PDF Files
- Insert and edit text and images
- Insert and edit fonts, layouts and pages
- Optimize, shrink, and repair PDF ﬁles
- Visual rotation of images and pages
- Insert and edit bookmarks, links, headers, numbering, and watermarks
- Insert and edit Bates Numbering
- Create searchable and editable PDF from scans with OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
- Smart Alignment tool
- Copy and paste between applications
- Automatic text reﬂow and resize
- Scanned image detection with automatic deskew
Review, Markup and Annotate PDFs
- Highlight, cross out, and underline text with annotations
- Create annotations using sticky notes, text boxes, call-outs, pencil, and shapes
- Attach entire ﬁles as annotations
- Sort, manage, ﬁlter, and summarize comments
- Apply dynamic stamp annotations which auto-populate speciﬁc information
- Spell check
- Compare PDF ﬁles
- Advanced search allows for increased precision and contextual results
- Smart guidelines for Object Tool aligns shapes to ensure content is arranged properly
User Friendly Interface
- Familiar Oﬃce–style interface for easy adoption
- Familiar macOS–style interface for easy adoption
- Access your documents from your desktop, browser or mobile device
- Functional on touch-enabled devices
- Integrated Microsoft Oﬃce toolbar and shortcuts
- Outlook plugin to create PDFs from email
- Share via Apple Mail, Messages, Cloud services, or other apps
- Print reduction suggestions
- Smart tips & onboarding product tour
- Customizable home tab
- View Optional Content Group (OCG) layers
- Floating toolbar for easier access to editing tools
- Drag & drop documents into multiple windows
- Preview PDF ﬁles in Windows Explorer, Outlook, and web browsers
Easy IT Deployment and Management
- Lightweight deployment with thin, server and desktop options
- Support for App-V and managed servers
- Usage analytics for insights into printing activity and document workﬂows*
- Manage licenses, users, and services via online Admin console**
- NIST 800-53, HIPAA, SOC2 Type 2 certiﬁed
Advanced features include 3D rendering and rich-media embedding. PhantomPDF Online (Foxit’s web application) includes in-browser PDF functionality like text editing, conversion to Word/PPT/Excel, and markup and annotation tools. It’s important to note that Foxit has an integration with DocuSign, and much of their eSignature capabilities are a result of this integration. They have recently acquired their own eSignature solution. Nitro has long had an eSignature solution, Nitro Sign, and has been working to build out that functionality as a dedicated product and engineering workstream. Additionally, while Foxit was at a competitive advantage with Mac capabilities, in June 2021 Nitro acquired PDFpen, adding an excellent PDF solution for Mac to the portfolio.
Both Nitro and Foxit offer multiple support options.
Foxit’s Support Center has a number of self-service related options designed to support PDF Editor for Windows or Mac, Foxit PDF Reader for Windows or Mac, Foxit Sign, Foxit PDF SDK, enterprise resources, subscription and sales. Those options include the ability to browse by Popular Topics, Licenses & Activation, Install/Uninstall & Enterprise Deployment, and Functional Usage & How-To Variety of Support Options: Upgrade Portal, Foxit Account Portal, User Forum, Video Tutorials, User Manual and Submit a Ticket
Nitro offers premium support to Business and Enterprise users which includes a dedicated customer support rep. For online users, there are a host of self-serve options including Community Forum, Knowledge Base access, and User Guides.
Nitro users can access the Community Form to read Nitro announcements, ask questions other users can answer, or submit product improvement suggestions. For commonly asked product questions, workflows and known issues, a vast selection of help articles are available in the Knowledge Base. The Nitro PDF Pro user guide contains a host of articles for better product understanding. Walkthroughs, step-by-step user instructions and screenshots help any user understand Nitro PDF Pro and Nitro Admin features.
In deals where Nitro has displaced Foxit, customers have commented that support was slow to respond to bug/security fixes and customer requests regarding their PDF product. Any cost savings gained in the initial purchase will be made up for in huge costs later when they have issues and need support.
Both Foxit and Nitro share a positive experience among their customer base.
Here’s what customers said about Foxit:
“Foxit allows me to edit and annotate PDF docs with ease. It also allows for more collaboration than other tools. The editing tools are comprehensive and allow me to make all the annotations I want. When creating a document, all the features I am looking for are possible. It is easy to convert and merge Word documents into PDFs. The reading/viewing features are clean and sleek. It's easy to send new or edited documents as attachments and I rarely have to use another platform for a project.”
“The software is a definite value, features of software compare to Adobe and the cost is less than half per license.”
Here’s what customers had to say about Nitro:
“The ease of use is far better than anything I've used in the past 25 years. The speed, accuracy of scans and the ability to control man options is fantastic and much more user friendly than the current "mainstream" versions”.
“We have documents and manuals that are hundreds of pages and Nitro makes it easy to open these manuals, change the things we need to change, add things at just one click and manipulate our outcome to be exactly what we need. I'm real impressed with Nitro and wish it would have came in my life years ago when I was struggling. I would resort to using online pdf converting tools and then would have to either pay or it just doesn't do what I need it to do. But since purchasing Nitro it gives me the ease to manipulate and change our files/manuals that have to be updated yearly. There may be a 300 page manual that needs 2 things changed and Nitro makes it so easy to do. I love Nitro. I will definitely be purchasing it for my home personal use as well.“
With its MS Office style interface, the Foxit PDF Editor has options to customize the toolbar around commands: to show favorites, add frequently used ones, or delete unused.
Users can also create a new tab and add new groups and commands, and also reorder or remove new groups or commands as well as export or import a customized ribbon. The ability to export or import customized ribbons enable IT Admins to deploy customized ribbons to their team.
Unfortunately, customizing the toolbar is unintuitive and requires consulting documentation to sort out the process. Searching the “Tell me” field for a tool or command is much easier. However, the ability to customize might be useful for Admin deployment to certain teams needing specific tools.
Nitro has repeatedly been liked by users for its easy to use, Microsoft style interface. The feature set is just right and provides users with the tools they need, when they need them.
When picking a PDF Productivity Provider, it’s important to consider a whole host of reasons that will ultimately benefit your use case. When it comes to Nitro PDF Pro, the robust feature set provides customers with the ability to accomplish all workflow needs, in one unified application. With strong customer support options, native eSignature integration and evolving roadmap, Nitro is worth giving a try. Sign up for a free trial today.