[Athen] Replacing Adobe Pro with FoxIt Pro

Karen McCall K4mccall at outlook.com
Thu Jun 17 04:09:29 PDT 2021

I did a presentation at AHG comparing Acrobat Pro, Foxit for Business and Nuance (now Kofax) PowerPDF. The three tools are basically the same in terms of OCR capabilities and tagging as they all seem to use the Acrobat back end for functionality. I was disappointed in the results. For the Accessibility Conference at the University of Guelph, I compared the OCR capabilities of the three tools and came up with the same results. I now use ABBYY FineReader for all OCR I need.

The basic problem with the on-board OCR tools in addition to the lack luster OCR is that you can ask to find problems and none of them found the "no spaces between words" problem or the "spaces between characters in words" problem. It isn't until you get to the tagging of the PDF and testing with a screen reader that you find this out. Because you "trust" the "there are no suspects" message, you may have spent time ensuring that the tags are correct only to find, at the end of the process when the document is tested, that is unreadable.

Using a stand alone tool, I can quickly OCR the PDF save it as a tagged PDF and test it with a screen reader. If there are problems, I can go back to FineReader, start an OCR project and in the text editor of FineReader, use my screen reader to find the instances of no spaces between words or spaces between characters in words, I can also search for optional hyphens and remove them so that words aren't broken by hyphens and read more naturally.

I know that the cost of Foxit for Business and PowerPDF is less than Acrobat but if you are expecting better results, you won't find them. They all have the same tools but located in different places or called something slightly different because of proprietary branding. The on-board PDF viewers aren't accessible. The help documentation doesn't address accessibility needs and is often out of date for even the simplest tasks. For example, adding tags to a document is a small button and I keep forgetting where it is and that it is a small button so I have to keep looking it up but the help documentation is fuzzy on tagging PDF simply saying it is easy and showing an outdated UI. I now have it written down in my own help documentation for the product.

I do have the handouts for the presentations if you would like them, e-mail me off list.

One more thing, when I found out that Kofax had purchased all of the Nuance print based/OCR division I called and asked whether their product would improve in terms of tagged accessible PDF. They didn't have a clue about what I was talking about. The developers didn't know that the product had included those tools and they weren't sure that this would be important enough to continue developing the tagged PDF tools. I said I would be glad to beta test for them and, after 8 months, haven't heard back from Kofax.

I did offer to beta test for Foxit but again after a few months of asking me questions about tagged PDF, they lost interest and there was no formal mechanism to beta test their product at all.

On the other hand, I have beta tested for Adobe for years and they don't always listen to or appreciate feedback on tagging or the accessibility of the UI.

So, in terms of price, Foxit and PowerPDF are one time pricing models. In terms of OCR, they are on par with Acrobat. In terms of tagging, they are on par with Acrobat. It is only the pricing that is "better" for the moment.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Susan Kelmer
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 1:13 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Replacing Adobe Pro with FoxIT Pro

If you are using Adobe Pro for OCR, you are missing better functionality that could be had with Abbyy Finereader or Omnipage (we are an Omni shop and I would never count on Adobe Pro for OCR). We only use Adobe Pro for breaking up files or fixing reading order, that sort of thing. Its ability to OCR is definitely substandard. :(

I cannot speak for the accessibility of FoxIT, so hopefully others have good, solid answers.

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
Division of Student Affairs
T 303 735 4836

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From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Robert Spangler
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 11:09 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] Replacing Adobe Pro with FoxIT Pro

Hi all, our campus is encouraging all units to stop purchasing Adobe Pro, and instead switch to FoxIT Pro. We primarily use Adobe Pro for OCR as well as editing book scans and publisher files. Does anyone here have experience with FoxIT? How is its accessibility with screen readers? I understand that the ability of blind people to edit PDFs is limited anyway, but is navigating the program interface accessible? Can it perform OCR as well as Adobe, and handle all the book editing functions? Thanks for your responses!


Robert Spangler
Disability Services Technical Support Specialist, Office of Learning Resources (OLR)
University of Dayton
Ryan C. Harris Learning Teaching Center (LTC)
Roesch Library Room: 023
Phone: 937-229-2066
* All appointments are being held remotely at this time.
For Deaf/Hard of Hearing, call 711 (Ohio Relay)
For office hours and further OLR information, please visit
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