Free Online Services vs. Regular Software

Online services for processing documents and images are gaining popularity. There exist numerous services of the kind able to convert different documents to PDF, JPEG, OCR, etc. Such online services seem to be a step forward first, because the user does not need to purchase anything using them for free. All one needs is a web browser. Online services are technology of the future. The advantages are obvious, but there are some pitfalls which will try to describe below. So, does that make sense to change regular software for the free online service?

A little bit of spam

Each and every online service offers online registration, which means that you provide your email address which will then be included into numerous mailouts. Free applications need to somehow be paid for, right?

Wait for your turn

You will need to wait to get your documents processed. It’s obvious that the online service takes care of hundreds of other documents provided by other users.

Only small files!

All the modern services (including Gmail) have space limitations, which means that you are unlikely to be able to process documents and images larger than 10 megabytes in size.

Only documents of popular types!

Modern online services support documents and images saved as Word DOC, Adobe PDF, JPEG, TIFF. It’s very unlikely that you will find the online service that will convert your documents saved in PCad or QuarkEpress format to PDF.

Only simple documents!

You will hardly be able to convert the Excel file containing external links or calculations, to PDF. Same is true for AutoCAD drawings containing materials textures from external graphics files.

False mirror?

Sending the document to the online server you cannot be certain that the online service is equipped with all the fonts your document contains. It may refer to another font similar to the original one, which means that the converted document will look different from the original one. Whether or not it will be way too different, time will show.

No Internet – no service!

You can use the online resources only when you have Internet connection available. If you are out of town, the cost of using online resources may be much higher than using a regular software program due to the roaming. Plus, in case there is no Internet connection, you will not be able to complete your task.


When uploading the documents to the online service, you can’t tell how long they will be kept there and who will get access to your information. Google and Skype, for example, share all the data they have with governmental offices. Do you have any idea of who has access to the users’ documents on your favorite online service?


Indeed, online services have lots of drawbacks, though technology is becoming more mature. Some of the issues though, like confidentiality, will never be solved. So, in case you need to save just a couple of texts in the PDF format or convert a certain ringtone for your iPhone, online services are a good solution. Just don’t give anyone access to your confidential documents and make us of modern spam-filters.
  • Mitsuharu Shibata


    «I am very good at commanding PC, but other company employees can use a PC a little. I can set rules to the files on server like adding the date, and the name and so on. Everyone can convert documents with the same format following my rule.»