For someone who spends most of his time evaluating products and writing reviews, it is always nice to have a passion for what I am reviewing, that is what makes my job a pleasure to do. Having been involved in graphic design and the publishing industry for many years, it made me very happy to find Apago's PDF Shrink (version 4) universal binary software.
Apago are by no means a new company, they were founded in 1991. The North Atlanta based company offer a wide range of software solutions, mainly based around PDF workflow and manipulation, with a few other bits thrown in for good measure.
PDF Shrink is probably the most appropriate software I could look at, as the past few months I have been producing the downloadable (and printable) version of the reviews that appear on Geekanoids. With so many reviews going onto the website, size is very important, without compromising on quality. Toward the end of this review, instead of the regular download, you will find two options, one created in my normal workflow with Quark Xpress, the second was optimised with PDF Shrink.
So to kick off, let us take a look at how PDF Shrink presents itself to the user on first launch. The main window (screenshot 1) has a row of icons across the top, these are mainly used for creating various PDF settings. They are all pretty self explanatory, so I will not insult you with the obvious. Of interest are the 'New', 'Save Droplet' and 'Save PDF Service' buttons.
'New' allows you to create a preset PDF workflow, where you can specify the settings in one of two modes. 'Basic' shown in screenshot 2 allows you to make the settings by clicking options that appear in plain English, this is a great idea and allows most non-tech users to be up and running in no time. You can choose how the resulting PDF file is going to used, which viewer will likely be used to read the PDF, security settings (password protection etc), how the file will be saved (you can even add a suffix to the resulting filenames), the last option is saving, where you can assign an icon and description to the workflow you are creating.
Clicking the 'Advanced' button toward the bottom of this window (see screenshot 3) allows you to make the same sort of settings, but with options that would make more sense to the more advanced user. So for example, instead of choosing how the PDF is going to be used (to post on a website for example), you would choose the resolution, type of compression and amount of compression.
Once you have made all the settings you require, the name and icon for the workflow appears in the main window, ready to use. If you look back at screenshot 1, you will see settings for Email, Print, Web Reviews and Web. All of these are preset into PDF Shrink when you first launch it, with the exception of 'Web Reviews' which I created to test how the procedure worked... to download the full review (PDF created by Quark Xpress) click here.
Product supplied by Apago Inc.
Retail price: $35
Link to product.