A new tool from Global Graphics is aiming to make it easier for users to put together documents for distribution in formats such as Adobe's PDF and Microsoft's XPS.
Available from 18 May, gDoc Fusion lets users drag and drop pages from PDF, XPS, Word, Excel or PowerPoint files, edit them, and then save the results as a PDF, XPS or Word document. The tool has been designed with simplicity in mind, according to the firm, to allow users to produce documents as quickly and easily as possible.
"There are dozens of cheap Acrobat clones out there, and we didn't want to be just another one. Our market research showed customers wanted ease of use and simplicity to bring documents in from multiple formats," said Global Graphics chief executive Gary Fry.
The company developed the XPS (XML Paper Specification) architecture used by Microsoft, and has its roots in digital print technologies, according to Fry.
Users can open and view multiple source documents at the same time in gDoc Fusion, and simply drag pages or images between them. A feature called Flick View is inspired by the user interface of Apple's iPhone, Fry explained, and lets the user quickly scan through the pages of a document with the flick of a finger to find the information they need.
When editing a page, context-sensitive tools such as those found in Word make it easier to make changes, Fry said, while a Finish Document Wizard walks the user through the options available at the end of the process, such as whether the document should be in PDF/A format for archiving, formatted for web delivery or print, and whether the final document should be read-only or password protected.
"These features are all in Adobe's Acrobat, but we've brought them out upfront into a simple user interface," Fry added.
Customers can download gDoc Fusion for free from the Global Graphics web site to try out, but a fee is required to unlock various features of the program.
"It's a fully working version. If you want to create a single file, it puts a watermark of our company logo on," explained Fry.
For £49, users can unlock the ability to just convert documents to PDF files, while £99 gets the full 'Fusion' functionality, including the ability to drag and drop pages and output to all supported formats.
Initially, gDoc Fusion will be available only for Windows XP and Windows Vista in the UK, US, Germany and Australia. Global Graphics said it intends to make the tool available in more languages and for other platforms such as the Mac if there is demand.
The company also plans to produce plug-ins tailoring the gDoc functionality for specific user groups such as government departments, legal and financial industries.
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