I received an email yesterday alerting me to a new app for converting Microsoft Office documents to PDF on an Apple or Android mobile device. In researching it, I discovered that the company also has an app for converting PDF to Office. Either of the two apps — both of which are free — make for useful additions to any lawyer’s smartphone or tablet.

The new app for converting into PDF is called Sonic PDF Creator and is available for iOS devices, including iPhone and iPad, and Android devices. Once you’ve installed it on your device, it is ridiculously easy to use. Simply locate the document that you want to convert on your device and select to open it using Sonic PDF Creator. Within seconds, the conversion is complete.

The PDF remains on your mobile device until you delete it. In addition, you can choose to email it, print it, or send it to a site such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

I tested it on both an iPhone and an Android tablet without problems. It was fast and flawless on both. The only problem I encountered was on my iPhone, in my first attempt to convert a Microsoft Word document that I received as an attachment to an email. When I tapped the document, it opened in my default app for reading Office documents. Then I realized not to tap the file, but hold my finger on it for a moment. That brought up a box allowing me to choose the app in which to open it. Once I chose PDF Creator, the conversion was completed within seconds.

The second app, Able2Extract PDF Converter, does just the opposite, converting PDF documents into Word, Excel, PowerPoint or text formats. It, too, is available for both iOS devices and Android devices. In fact, it actually converts both ways, from PDF to Office and from Office to PDF. It works in the same way as PDF Creator, but with one extra step. After you locate the document on your device and choose to open it in Able2Extract, you then need to select the output format — Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF or text.

Given that Able2Extract does both types of conversions, do you need both apps? Probably not. The advantage of the PDF Creator app is its simplicity. It does one task and does it well. Open the document in the app and you are done. It is quick and easy. Plus, you may not need the ability to convert both ways.

Just to be sure I wasn’t missing something, I put the question to the company. Here is the response I received:

We’ve developed the apps that way due to user behaviour. Some users might need only Office to PDF conversions and hence, use Sonic instead of Able2Extract because of the more direct PDF creation process it has to offer. In some cases, this is more convenient for converting more than one file to the PDF format for instance.

Namely, when you open file in Sonic, it is instantly sent to our servers and converted instead of just being placed within the list queue and having to select the conversion output type (as is the case with Able2Extract).

Both apps come from a Canadian company, InvestInTech.com, which sells more feature-rich desktop versions of both applications.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.