Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tired of Acrobat licensing expenses? Replace Acrobat with LibreOffice Draw and edit PDFs for free

Are you tired of your software budget evaporating on questionable licensing expenses like Acrobat Standard?  Do you wish you could recover that cost or redirect it into something more useful?  In that case, have you considered the freely available LibreOffice Draw ?

For the unacquainted, LibreOffice is an open source office productivity platform first released under the LGPL in January 2011 by The Document Foundation.  You may recall, that Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems in 2010, and along with that they inherited OpenOffice, and abruptly killed commercial support for it (trivia - Sun released it as an OpenSource project after acquiring StarOffice in 1999).  The net result, is that LibreOffice (which is actively being developed) is actually quite a a mature, open source office productivity platform - and is similar to Microsoft Office in many respects.  Notably, LibreOffice Draw (akin to Visio) has the ability to edit PDFs.  No, not like Microsoft Office, which let's you create in Office and then do a Save As to PDF.  LibreOffice Draw literally lets you do a File>Open... browse  to your PDF...  then modify the content.  And it works... when you're finished, go to File>Export as PDF>Export.  And boom... you're finished.  You can even install the portableapps.com package - which I use for editing PDFs.

This isn't to say that you can just blindly replace every instance of Acrobat Standard, or Professional across your organization.  That would be unwise.  But if you think about your user or client base, and thelicensing expense line items in your budget, how many of your resources just need a simple PDF editor?  How many  couldn't care less about all of the other features of Acrobat Standard and Professional? 

Given the actual need and your budget, give LibreOffice Draw a try, and see if you really need all of those Acrobat Standard licenses.

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