Published on 9 November 2012
Though it is easy enough to put a document into PDF format, making it look interesting costs you either money to hire a designer or time to figure out how to get the business graphics and type arranged well. Thankfully, the The PDF Chef offers an alternative.
The PDF Chef lets you design attention grabbing documents for print or posting on the web. Use its templates or create your own. Choose images from its fee-based library or import ones you already have. The design is simple and intuitive requiring no technical skills. The process is quick to figure out so you're not spending all day putting together your document.
If you regularly produce newsletters, brochures or flyers for print, The PDF Chef is for you. You can create distinctive documents to publish online, on smartphones and tablets. Pretty much every business needs to product marketing collateral, so any business can use this service successfully.
The interface is easy to learn and uses drag and drop. It's all automated and geared to the rank beginner. Because it is free in design-mode, you can experiment with numerous designs to find what works best. Try that when you're paying a designer! You can save documents and templates for ongoing updates.
Graphics and fonts are a snap. You have access to their fee-based image library or you can import your own. Don't know how to crop a picture? The image editor makes suggestions for cropping. The PDF Chef has a large library of fonts and will also let you upload special ones of your own. You have total control of size and positioning.
From the dashboard you choose either a new document or a template and then move to Content Mode where you select the picture panel or the word panel. Adding elements is quick and easy with drag and drop.
To find images, click on Image Gallery. Here you can search for photos and clipart to illustrate your document. These are all free to use while you design your document. The cost is clearly shown if you want to use it in the final version.
The Image Editor makes it easy to crop photos. It tells you if the graphic is the wrong size and makes suggestions for cropping.
In Design Mode you play around with placement and the graphics, finding what works to get your message across.
The PDF Chef eliminates the need to learn complex design software. This cloud-based tool makes it possible for the absolute beginner to sit down and design an effective, attention-grabbing document quickly, without a long learning curve.
The image library has over 19 millions photos and graphics for an additional fee. However it is simple to upload your own. If you do use of theirs, they are upfront about what you will pay.
The ability to use the design mode for free means you can play around to your heart's content with possible approaches to your document, giving you plenty of time to get the input of others involved. Documents can be updated quickly and templates can be saved for future use.
The tutorials cover all the basics plus advanced skills like adding shapes, creating a template and posting the document to a Facebook page. The wiki and forum provide answers to a wide range of questions. Anything not covered can be handled by emailing support.
The PDF Chef offers several fee choices. The monthly subscription becomes quarterly automatically if you choose to continue. The yearly option is by far the best deal. They charge nothing if you just want to try a design. Only when you are ready to publish do you need to decide on a subscription choice.
If you create documents for print or publish on the web even occasionally, The PDF Chef is worth checking out. The savings in design fees alone makes it a good investment. In addition it is easy for anyone to pick up. If you have documents that you update regularly, it makes it easy.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 4/5, value 4/5 and ease of deployment 5/5