Another of Adobe’s many competitors, LULU Software offers the free Soda PDF 3D Reader, their premium Soda PDF 360 software and a variety of online tools. Soda PDF Reader is available both online and as offline desktop software. Soda PDF 360 has both web-based and desktop components as well.
What Soda PDF Anywhere does best
Branding their offerings altogether as Soda PDF Anywhere, they do their best to make good on their name by emphasizing their web features, part of which is making it possible to access and edit your documents on pretty much any device with a web browser. With some of the Soda 360 plans you can also use the e-sign feature to have documents signed remotely.
Soda PDF Reader is available in a few different forms, online in your web browser through their website, as a Microsoft store app and as a desktop program. LULU Software also has several tools available on their Soda PDF website, such as those for merging and converting PDFs which can be used with a free account, although in a limited capacity.
Which features you have access to will depend on what version of Soda PDF you get. With a free account you have access to both a basic PDF reader and editor, as well as online tools for merging, compressing, converting, splitting PDFs and more. The extent to which you can edit PDFs and the number of times certain tools can be used is limited with a free account.
The paid versions of Soda PDF come in 3 tiers, Standard, Pro and Business. All plans include web and desktop versions, the latest updates and basic viewing, converting and editing functions. All of the plans also have a 3 device limit, but the authorized devices can be changed as often as needed.
The Standard plan does not include tools for commenting, securing or creating forms on PDFs, which is a bit strange as some of these features are free in competing products. These features do come with the Pro plan, which also includes OCR, e-sign and batch processing tools. However, the OCR in the Pro edition is only for making scanned text searchable.
For actually editing text from OCR scanned PDFs, you need the Business plan of Soda PDF 360. This plan also includes “Ask The Expert” phone support and unlimited e-sign functionality, as well as some more technical features like Citrix deployment.
The basic online tools, desktop reader, Soda PDF 3D Reader app on the Microsoft store and Soda PDF Merge app on Android are all free.
Soda PDF 360 Standard is $8 a month, Pro is $12.50 a month and Business is $20 a month. When charged annually, the price for Standard is $6.75 a month, or about $81 a year; Pro is $10.50 a month or $126 a year; and Business costs $16.75 a month or $201 each year.
What users have to say about Soda PDF Anywhere
One of the most often said positives about Soda PDF Anywhere is that it has good user interface and is overall easy to use, especially for creating new PDFs and converting files to and from PDF. Many users also praise the OCR tool and its ability to make scanned and image based PDFs searchable and editable.
The most commonly stated negative by users is that they received poor customer support. Several users have said that when they had an issue and contacted support that it took a long time to receive a reply and when they did they were often unhelpful, stock responses or basically just telling them to read the manual.
Both the free and paid desktop versions of Soda PDF Anywhere are available on Windows, as are all the online tools. The Soda PDF 3D Reader app is only available on the Microsoft Store on Windows 10.
There is no desktop app for Mac or Linux systems, but all of the online features can be used in browsers on these systems, which provides most of the same functionality. The Soda PDF Merge app is only available on Android, but the online functionality can be used on both iOS and Android web browsers.
Despite some flaws, Soda PDF 360’s Pro and Business plans are compelling alternatives to Adobe’s offerings and a free Soda PDF account provides useful tools for the casual user.
Our score: ★★★★☆ 3.5/5