[Review] Zilla PDF to TXT Converter

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Zilla PDF to TXT Converter

Version reviewed:

v1.0.8

Supported OS:

Windows 2000, XP, and Vista

Price:

$19.95 (USD) but you can get it for free for a limited time at Giveawayoftheday.com!

Software description as per the developer:

Zilla PDF to TXT Converter is a windows application to convert pdf files to plain text format files in batch mode. Zilla PDF to TXT Converter also support convert specific pages range to txt files.

————————-{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Straightforward and easy to use.
  • Can convert PDFs in batch.
  • Supports drag + drop.
  • User can convert whole PDFs or define a specific portion of the PDFs to be converted.
  • Supported encrypted PDF conversion.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Can’t seem to properly convert PDFs that were created out of text files.
  • Doesn’t properly carry over spacing between paragraphs/lines.
  • Doesn’t give the user any sort of “heads up” if the PDF being converted is encrypted or not.
  • Doesn’t follow normal program “conventions”, such as installing into the Program Files folder.
  • “Sound Reminder” doesn’t work.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”9″}Point and click; very easy to use. The only real annoyance is how the folder always defaults to C:/Windows/System32 whenever initially browsing for PDF files after opening the program.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”7″}Works very fast and converts well for the most part. Only three problems that I noticed: 1) It can’t seem to convert PDFs that were created out of text files 2) The spacing between paragraphs/lines is not properly carried over and 3) The “Sound Reminder” feature does not work.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”2″}I don’t see many people finding a PDF to text converter very useful.
{/for}
{for=”Price” value=”2″}$19.95 for a program that can only doPDF to text conversions? Is this a joke?
{/for}
{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”3″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect dotTech’s overall rating/verdict of the program in which all the features and alternatives have been considered.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tdown]
{/rw_verdict} –>

As the name may suggest, Zilla PDF to TXT Converter is a software that does PDF to text conversions. For those that have heard or used PDFZilla before, Zilla PDF to TXT Converter is basically the PDF to text converting part of PDFZilla.

This is what Zilla PDF to TXT Converter’s main program window looks like:

Using Zilla PDF to TXT Converter is very easy. You simply add the PDFs you want to convert (you may drag + drop, use the “+” button to select single PDFs, or use the folder “+” button to add all the PDFs in one folder; you can add as many PDFs are you want because batch processing is supported), change any output settings that you wish…

NOTE: You can convert the whole PDFs, or select a specific portion of the PDFs to convert.

NOTE2: If you are converting encrypted PDFs (owner or user), you need to enter the password.

…set the output folder, and hit “Start Converting Now”. Conversions are done pretty must instantly so you shouldn’t be waiting long. A sound is supposed to play – if you have “sound reminder” (“Setting” -> “Settings”) set to “on” which it is by default – when the conversions have finished but this feature doesn’t seem to work.

In terms of conversion, the conversion accuracy is good for the most part. (However, keep in mind they are PDF to text conversions, so don’t except your output text file to look like the input PDF file). There are only two problems I have noticed with the conversion accuracy:

  • The spacing between paragraphs/lines does not carry over into the output text file. For example, if two sentences have 4 lines of empty space between them in the PDF file, the output text file will only have 1 line.
  • For some weird reason, any PDFs that were created from text files are not properly converted to text files. I don’t know why.

That being said, I really dislike how the developer of Zilla PDF to TXT Converter did not follow many program conventions:

  • During installation, Zilla PDF to TXT Converter tries to install directly into the C:/ partition instead of C:/Program Files. You can, of course, change this.
  • By default, the output folder is set to C:/Output/. There is no reason why Zilla PDF to TXT Converter should be outputting there. Like most other programs, it should be outputting either into a subfolder its own Program Files folder or into a subfolder in My Documents. The good thing is that once you change the output folder, it stays changed until you change it again.
  • Usually when a user clicks on a drop down menu from the menu bar at the top of a program, you can float your mouse cursor to other drop menu menus in the menu bar and the menus will appear. With Zilla PDF to TXT Converter, however, you need to click on each drop down menu to make it appear – you can’t just float your mouse cursor over.

Lastly, I would like to see one feature added into Zilla PDF to TXT Converter. As it stands, if you add an encrypted PDF to convert into Zilla PDF to TXT Converter, you are not given any sort of heads up that you need to enter a password. I would really like to see a feature that alerts the user that a password needs to be entered because otherwise the user may not know/remember and this will mess up the conversions (any encrypted PDF that is converted without password will create no output file).

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Converter

Technically speaking, PDF to Word converter is different than a PDF to text converter. However, both can serve a similar purpose, and PDF to Word can double as a PDF to text. Plus PDF to Word is a lot more useful.

A-PDF Text Extractor

A-PDF Text Extractor is a free utility designed to extract text  from Adobe PDF files for use in other applications. There are three mode of output text: In PDF Order, Smart Rearrange and With Position.

-Developer

SomePDF PDF to Text Converter

Convert PDF to Text format – Fast, Accurate and Free! Some PDF to Text Converter can help you to convert PDF to Text, so you can edit and reuse your PDF content. It does NOT need Adobe Acrobat software. It processes at very high speed and you can convert multiple PDF files to text files at one time.

-Developer

Zamzar.com

Online converter that, among other things, can do PDF to text.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}I give Zilla PDF to TXT Converter a thumbs down. Aside from the kinks I mentioned above, performance of Zilla PDF to TXT Converter is not really the problem. The biggest problem I have with this software is that 1) it is a software that only does PDF to text conversions, a task that is very limited in usefulness, and 2) it charges a huge price for such a simple task. My recommendation is to grab AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Converter (if you have Microsoft Word) – it will serve your purpose of doing PDF to text conversions and serve you in many other ways also. Otherwise give Zamzar.com or SomePDF PDF to Text Converter a shot if you really want to do PDF to text conversions.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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11 comments

  1. prying1

    @Patrick:

    Thanks Patrick – Appreciate the reply – I will check my scanner’s software updates (if any) and work from that end.

    Hmmm… One f the books I scanned I no longer have… Maybe I can print out the JPG’s and rescan them. – As you said, I may have to suffer many hours of frustrating and discouraging experimenting to get the result I desire… -(8-P

  2. Doru

    Ashraf,you forget Simpo Pdf to text,who is very fast,free,good(for english and also for romanian languages) and another is Adobe Reader if you save in text.Zilla Pdf to text i think that is good only for english.In romanian,he eat the letters.

  3. Patrick

    @prying1:

    Hi Prying1,

    Depending on your scanner and the software that comes with it, you (nowadays) should have the means to directly scan anything into Word (e.g.), to output scan in RTF-format or get some picture format like jpeg or jpg (or even BMP) as output.

    From there on it should be possible to edit text and pictures USING APPOPRIATE SOFTWARE.

    From experience I know that it takes very close reading of (any) manual(s) to get an idea of what your hardware can do. On top of that, you need the right driver software correctly installed on your system -not everything is plug-and-play :( And, finally, you have to suffer many hours of frustrating and discourageing experimenting to get the result you desire…

    IMHO you might consider updating your scanner’s software? Scanning your books to the correcr format?..
    Also, this program is of no use to you: you saved your scans in jpg-format in the first place. Converting it to pdf and then reconverting it to text (be it TXT or RTF) will get you nowhere.

    I hope this info is of some use to you.

    Greetz,
    Patrick

    PS: “and it did not work on Google scanned books either”
    As far as I know this Google application makes it possible to read/download e-books ‘processed’/scanned by Google itself and does not function as a local reader. Writing and publishing an e-book through Google (or uploading to Google)is a different story all together.

    P.

  4. Patrick

    @CPUSRVC:

    Lots of links indeed… only some of which are actually “free” free, lots of them free trials, some of them just advertisements…

    It takes time to find out ‘who’s who’ and ‘who does what’ and ‘what does what’…

    For some people though, this link may be “pedagogical” ;-)

    Greetz,
    Patrick.

  5. tunchi_1939

    Hi Ashraf: I’ve just received your e-mail anouncing your review for this software, and hotmail marked your mail as dangerous.
    This is the first time I received this kind of message.
    For your information, here it is the copy of the pertinent part:

    “New article posted: [Review] Zilla PDF to TXT Converter?
    From: dotTech (admin@dottech.org)
    High riskThis message may be dangerous. Learn more
    Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:22:57 AM”

    When I clicked on “Learn more”, hotmail showed me this:

    “About Sender ID, spoofing, and phishing
    Sender ID is a technical solution started by Microsoft and other industry leaders to help fight spoofing (Sending messages with fake or stolen account information.) and phishing (Falsely claiming to be a legitimate business to send you to a fake website or scam you into giving out private information.) , which are the two primary deceptive practices used by senders of junk e-mail (Unwanted, unsolicited, or illicit e-mail or other electronic messages, including spam.) . For more information, visit the Sender ID Framework Overview webpage.
    Notes
    * Windows Live Hotmail treats all messages that fail Sender ID and phishing tests as fraudulent and warns the user about opening these messages. For information about how to read blocked e-mail messages, see Block or allow messages from specific senders and domains.
    * If you experience difficulties when you use another mail service to send your mail, but you use your Windows Live Hotmail address as the sending address, contact the network administrator of the other service for help.”

    I always read your reviews and I thank you for your excellent work.
    Greetings from Lima, Peru, and sorry for my English.

    P.S.- The same thing happened to another mail:

    “New article posted: Free AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Converter (v2.5.3)!?
    From: dotTech (admin@dottech.org)
    High riskThis message may be dangerous. Learn more
    Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:33:21 AM
    To: “

  6. prying1

    I have some books (Copyright expired of course) that I’d love to scan and have as PDF and TXT – Tried this program on a couple I’ve already scanned, saved as JPG and later converted to PDF. It failed to pull anything out of the scanned pages and it did not work on Google scanned books either.

    Know any good (free or near free) Optical Character Readers? That seems to be the only solution.

  7. Patrick

    Hello,

    A lot -if not too much- has been said about PDF-to-whatever conversion software.
    Some observations:
    - PDF in itself has so many features (amongst which protection is not the least) that any “easy” conversion software is doomed not to do what developers claim it does
    - hence: most ‘light’ conversion programs really don’t deserve the attention they get because of their numerous malfunctions/disfunctionality (and therefore are not worth spending any money on)
    - as with all program reviews: read more than one (preferably and, if at all available, from independant sources -developers are by definition not independant, but that does not imply that they are crooks) before wasting hours and hours testing. (BTW, Ashraf mostly does an excellent job at reviewing and testing -nobody is perfect and by ‘mostly’ I mean a 95%+ ‘success rate ;-)
    - it is virtually impossible to evaluate all existing PDF-to converters, so it seems paramount to really know what you want or need before actually purchasing something -and that is more difficult than most people think it is (trust me, most people don’t knów what they want, they have some vague idea and that’s what they base their decisions on)
    - my experieces with PDF-to converters have been mostly disappointing
    - ABOUT THIS PROGRAM: I wouldn’t bother looking at it just because of it’s text only limitation…
    - many people claim that Open Office (freeware package under GNU conditions -if I am not mistaken) incorporates most of the combined functionalities various PDF-converters (claim to or seem to) offer. I haven’t had time to install OO’s latest version and check these claims. Based on past experience with earlier OO versions however, I’m inclined to believe those users. A thorough review of the whole package and OO Writer in particular may well prove them right -but this lies well outside dotTech’s or GOTD’s mission, OO being free anyway… And there must be dozens of usergroups where you can get all the info you desire ;-)
    - one final remark… In many cases (but certainly not in all) a select/copy/paste from a PDF into (e.g.) Word works fine… if
    1) you’re willing to spend lots of time editing the resulting text,
    2) if you don’t mind losing photo’s, graphs, tables etc. (unless they’re in ‘grabable’ format -e.g. tables in jpeg may be copyable).
    In most cases you will need several programs to reach a good result or you may even have to google for those tables or illustrations you can’t extract from the PDF. It all depends on what result you need in the end and wether you deem all that work(and frustration) worth it’s while.

    Sometimes it’s more rewarding to create something original based on the ideas expressed in some publication(s) than just converting one ‘product’ into another format. I’m in for creativity ànd I use select/copy/paste a lot… to achieve something completely new, to create added value (even to original pictures or sound, by changing context e.g.)
    But that is a totally different story altogether ;-)

    Greetz,
    Patrick.

  8. MikeR

    There are giveaways. And there are giveaways.

    Giveaways of software on free trial, such as today’s Zilla PDF to Text Converter.

    Or giveaway signs — as with that same Zilla PDF to Text Converter — that a software developer is utterly lackadaisical and really can’t be bothered to invest the product with either elementary thought or basic skill.

    Well; assuming there’s much in the way of thought, or skill, to begin with.

    An app which can’t even follow standard installation and output routines, but for which the developer expects payment — in this case, a quite ludicrous $19.95 — isn’t software in search of a home but junk in search of a bin.

    Thanks for the heads-up, Ashraf. You’ve just saved me and many others from wasting their time and bandwidth.