Nitro Pro 9 Review - Windows PDF Productivity

Nitro Pro 9 Review – Windows PDF Productivity

Nitro Pro 9There are many good things about Microsoft Windows, but the ability to work with PDF documents is not one of them. You can view documents easily enough, but you need to look elsewhere if you want to actually do something useful with them.

A while ago, awesome DocumentSnap reader Sherri-Lee Mathers from Balsam Way Bookkeeping turned me on to a program that she relies on for her paperless practice: Nitro Pro.[1]

It looked great, so I decided to annoy the Nitro folks on Twitter until they agreed to hook me up with a review copy of Nitro Pro 9 to check out.

Nitro 9

What Nitro Does

Nitro Pro is an application for working with PDFs. They call it “the official PDF solution for productivity”. I’m not sure who hands out that designation, but it is definitely an application that lets you do almost anything with PDF documents.

You can create & combine PDFs, edit them, make them searchable with OCR, sign them, mark them up, and upload them to the cloud.

If you are a home user and all you ever do with PDFs is view them and print them out, then Nitro is probably not something you need to go paperless.

However, if you are a Windows user that manipulates PDFs, converts them, and generally needs to make them work for you, Nitro is definitely worth a look.

Nitro Pro 9 has many features, but I am just going to pick out a few of them that I think would be handy for going paperless.

Compare PDFs

If you have two PDFs, you can quickly compare either the text of the document or the general look. It will then show you where the differences are.

I marked up a document and changed some of the text (more on that later), and the compare tool found all my changes and gave a summary.

Nitro 9 Compare

If you are someone who needs to compare different documents, this tool could be worth the price all on its own.

Export Documents

Just because you are working with a PDF doesn’t mean that you want the end result to be in PDF format.

Nitro 9 Export

There is an export bar that lets you export to a number of formats including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, RTF, and you can extract the text out of a PDF and save it as a plain text document.

Export To Word

I want to specifically mention exporting to Word. I have worked with many tools over the years that try to convert a PDF to a Word document. Most of the times the results has been “OK” at best and disastrous at worst.

Nitro does the best job that I have seen at converting PDF documents to Word. I don’t know what Elven magic they have going on in the background, but in my experience the results has been excellent.

Nitro 9 Word Export

Export To Evernote

There is an Export To Evernote option that will take the current PDF and open it up in the Evernote local client. Handy if you want to save things to Evernote that you are working with.

Redact Sensitive Information

A PDF can have information that you don’t want others to see. Many people don’t realize that even if you use an annotation tool to “block out” that information (for example, a Social Security number or credit card number), it may still exist in the PDF.

A Redaction tool gives the ability to permanently wipe out the sensitive information. This is helpful if you are going to be sharing the PDF with someone, or if you want to remove private data before uploading the PDF to a cloud service.

In this example, I want to go 1984-style and wipe out the name Paul J Bowman from the company history. I have highlighted the name with the Redaction Tool. It is now marked for redaction.

Nitro 9 Redaction Tool

I can send the PDF to someone who needs to approve that redaction, or I can Apply it myself.

Nitro 9 Redacted

The information is now permanently removed from the PDF.

If I want to be extra sure that I have redacted everything, I can do a Search and Redact. It will then go through the whole document and remove everything that matches my search.

Nitro 9 Search and Redact

Sign PDFs

I have posted about this on DocumentSnap many times, but there are few things more annoying than needing to sign a document and having to print it out, sign it, then fax it or scan and email it back.

Nitro allows you to capture your signature either by scanning a piece of paper, capturing it with your webcam, or it will generate a handwritten signature using a QuickSign font.

Nitro Capture Digital Signature

If you want to be even more secure, Nitro can apply a proper digital signature using a certificate.

Visual File Combination

If you have to build a PDF out of a number of other documents, the Visual File Combination palette can be very helpful. Just add PDF documents and move around the order.

Nitro Visual File Combination

When you have it how you want it, you can create the PDF and it will all be nicely merged.

Nitro Cloud

Nitro has released their Nitro Cloud service, which allows you to take your documents online. I don’t have much to say on this yet as I haven’t played around with it, so watch for a future post.

What About Acrobat?

If you were to compare one other piece of software to Nitro, it would probably be Adobe Acrobat. How does Nitro stack up?

The first comparison is cost: Nitro costs half as much. It also hasn’t become as bloated as Acrobat has become (in my opinion).

Nitro has made an almost-certainly-biased comparison chart between Nitro Pro 9 and Acrobat XI.

My take: if you have already purchased Adobe Acrobat or it came with your scanner, you probably don’t need to go out and buy Nitro (unless you hate Acrobat and want an alternative of course).

If you are looking for a PDF editing program and you don’t need some feature that only Acrobat Standard or Pro has, I would go with Nitro.

My Thoughts

I have been thoroughly impressed with Nitro Pro 9. It does more than what I have outlined above – in particular I’ve found the PDF editing features excellent – and the price is half that of its biggest competitor.

Nitro Pro 9 retails for $139.99. If I were a Windows user and worked with PDFs on a daily basis, Nitro would be my main PDF productivity application.

Have you used Nitro? How do you like it?


  1. You can read more about how Sherri-Lee uses Nitro here.  ↩

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 11 comments

j. marxer - December 29, 2015 Reply

NitroPro 9failed to open a PDF sent to me that Adobe opened immediately. Nitro’s website offers no phone number for service and promises immediate response to email support tickets. it has now been 5 hours which, to me, is not immediate.

Mido - March 13, 2015 Reply

Good review…Bull…Nitro don’t even reply to Submit a ticket asking for help. con artist and cheat at best….Almost 6 month. Middle finger NITRO

    Lauren (Nitro) - March 13, 2015 Reply

    Hi Mido,
    I’m sorry you didn’t have a very good experience with our support system. if you’re able to send an email to nitro.business@gonitro.com, I would love to take a deeper dive into your issue and see where was a disconnect in getting your issue fixed. Hope to hear from you soon.

Randy - August 15, 2014 Reply

Unless the feature has been added recently, Nitro Pro 9 does not support adding/creating named destinations where you can link to specific locations (e.g., paragraphs) within PDFs. Does anyone know if that has been added to the product yet?

Joeie - June 1, 2014 Reply

I started using Nitro products a few years ago and I have gotten to the point where I prefer Nitro to Adobe Acrobat. I agree that Acrobat has become bloated, probably so they can keep charging an arm and a leg for it. Nitro does everything I need it to do…. combining, editing, converting, watermarks and markups… everything. I am so glad that I bought it instead of Acrobat. Just getting ready to upgrade to Nitro Pro 9 now. I hope it doesn’t disappoint. I am leery of the “Microsoft 8” appearance it brags about. I have not purchased Microsoft 8 BECAUSE of the appearance.

Elle - February 27, 2014 Reply

Great review – I was just looking at Nitro Pro as an option for pdf editing and management and then thought I would have a quick look at the DocumentSnap blog to see if you had recommendations.

I was also interested in the form creation and editing options offered by Nitro (eg to send digital pdf forms that can be filled and emailed back rather than needing to be printed and scanned in on receipt). Have you trialled this feature yet?

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - February 27, 2014 Reply

    Haven’t gotten that far yet Elle. Good topic for a post next week!

    Sean Zinsmeister - March 3, 2014 Reply

    Hi Elle, this is a pretty common workflow that we get a lot! It’s interesting to see a demand increase for building and handling forms. I’ve been encouraged to see Google Chrome and Firefox take steps to enhance how their browsers handles PDF forms, which now allow you to fill out forms without exiting your browser. It’s the little things that make us more productive 🙂

    Nitro Pro should be able to tackle your form creation and editing needs. Here are a couple of quick 1 minute tutorial videos that give a nice overview:

    Form Filling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79eNIDxH1o4

    Form Creation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElHM1luYQ9Y

    If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line and I’ll connect you with a member of our Product Team who can help answer any questions you might have.

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