Acrobat.com is by far the more appealing site of the two. The site usability is as polished as you would expect from an Adobe product, despite its beta status. It also provides storage space for your documents and the ability to share them with others. Its achilles heel would appear to be the 5 PDF conversion limit quoted in both the Technology Bites post and the Acrobat.com user guide. Whether by accident or design this limit is not enforced at this time. During testing I converted 6 documents in 15 minutes with no issues.
By comparison the PrimoOnline interface is spartan but functional. It provides a basic web form to specify the file to convert and the email address to send it to, and quickly sends the result to your inbox. Its claim to fame is having 300 formats it can convert into PDF. Upon reviewing the list most would be readable by MS Office applications so I’m not sure how useful this will be for most people in practice.
- PrimoOnline does not honour the fonts used in the source document. If you compare the test documents you will find that Acrobat.com’s output is near identical to the input document, while PrimoOnline has substituted fonts and looks noticeably different.
- As expected neither service coped with the Enhanced MetaFile (EMF) included in the document. For some reason the most space efficient way to copy Visio objects into Word documents is also the most difficult to convert into PDF form. The Device Independent Bitmap version of the diagram converted successfully on both services and demonstrates how the EMF version should have looked.
- Acrobat.com consistently output smaller files than PrimoOnline. It was also the only service to include a Bookmarks list, though both services do generate clickable hyperlinks in their output. This feature is one of the main advantages these services have over a PDF printer based solution.
Based upon the test results Acrobat.com is a clear winner, provided that Adobe continue to ignore (or remove) their quoted 5 conversion limit. Given its difficulties maintaining document formatting I’d find it hard to recommend PrimoOnline unless you were purely looking for a universal document converter so aesthetics were less critical.
Via Technology Bites