Thursday, May 20, 2010

Create PDFs for Free

PDF is the most popular paperless document format on the net. Businesses, schools, and governments love the PDF format because it allows them to create a document that can be protected from editing and email it or post it to a web site for public consumption. Adobe Acrobat is the top dog of PDF editors. But what if you don’t need to edit a PDF? What if you only want to create a PDF, not edit one? I, for one, do not need to edit any PDFs, but I like to have my most important documents such as tax or bank information in PDFs and store them in my online cloud storage for safe keeping :)

I have used a great deal of different free PDF creators and all of them do the exact same thing. You install the software on your computer, then you simply ‘print’ a document, select the “PDF Writer” in the printer list, then choose where to save the document. There isn’t anything more to it. Easy peasy. Here is a list of some of the PDF writers out there:

image PrimoPDF is one of the options and is a good choice. You can create a PDF out of any document that you can print. Also, there is a small app included with PrimoPDF that you can drag and drop a saved file into the app window and it will create the PDF for you! This can save a ton of time if needing to convert a couple of documents to PDF quickly.

image CutePDF Writer is the free PDF writer that I have had the most experience with. It doesn’t have an app that will auto-convert files to PDF for you. It is simply the ‘print-to-PDF’ printer. The reason why I have used this one the most is that it simply works. It is a very small install and works with all NT editions of Windows. Highly recommended.

image One of the problems that I have while working at certain places is that the business has strict allowances of what is allowed to be installed on their computers and I cannot install a PDF converter or PDF writer. So what do I do? is the ticket. This is only one of the free online file converter sites, but this one does the job. Just go to the site, choose where your file is that you want to convert to PDF, and presto! Your file is now a PDF.

image Finally, for those of you that have Office 2007, Microsoft offers a FREE plug-in for Office 2007 that will print to PDF or XPS. The file download is here. This plug-in is for Office 2007 ONLY, not Office 2003. For those of you that have Office 2010 you will find that Microsoft has included the print-to-PDF feature in that release and is a permanent addition to the Office lineup! Cool beans!