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May 19, 2009

Global Graphics launches doc creation tool

But is gDoc Fusion an Acrobat killer?

By Steve Evans

Global Graphics has launched gDoc Fusion, a eDocument development application that claims to offer the ability to create, review, edit, share and archive PDF and XPS documents.

The company says that gDoc Fusion’s selling point is its ease of use: the new platform enables users to drag and drop documents from PDF, XPS, Word, Excel or PowerPoint, edit them and save in PDF, XPS or Word format.

Gary Fry, CEO at Global Graphics, said that the company wanted an application that is much easier to use than Adobe’s Acrobat. When starting the application, the user is greeted with four options – Page View, Quick Convert, Document View and Flick View.

Page View enablers the user to make changes to a document by highlighting the text or image and editing it. Opening a document with Quick Convert enables the user to save a document in any of the formats available.

With Document View the user can work on several open documents at the same time as well as re-order and drag and drop pages into the document. Flick View enables a user to browse and visually search through the documents. It was inspired by the flick through technology on Apple iPods and iPhones.

“I’m not arrogant enough to rubbish Adobe Acrobat,” Fry told CBR. “But a large enough number of people want better functionality and an application that is easier to use. This is not an Acrobat clone – this is something unique that allows speedy and efficient development of documents.”

Fry added that the company had carried out research that suggested many people used Acrobat just for its document creation functionality, so Global Graphics created an application that strips away a lot of the other functionality.

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As well as ease of use, the company also made the start-up page much clearer. “We don’t have any toolbars, unlike Acrobat or Microsoft Word,” said Fry. “We’ve put the tools in something called context sensitive toolbars. So when you need the tools, they will appear automatically.”

The application is initially available only on Windows XP, Vista and 7, but Fry added that the company may develop a Mac version if there is user demand. “I don’t see as much of a need for the Mac platform for this, as the Mac user interface is very good. I think its reliance on document formats is slightly less than Windows,” he said.

The user does not need to have Word installed to use the application, Fry said. “If you don’t have Microsoft installed you can still drag and drop any Word, PowerPoint or Excel document and it will automatically convert it. It’s great for things like netbooks, where you are running Windows but don’t have a licence for Word, PowerPoint or Excel,” Fry said.

gDoc Fusion is available for free from the Global Graphics website but functionality will be limited; a fee is required for the full version.

Using the free version, users get the ability to view any document in any format, but a Global Graphics watermark will appear on the document. They can upgrade to document creation for £49. The full version is available for £99.

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