Sunday 23 January 2005

PDF options unlimited

I've always encouraged people to make use of Portable Document Format (PDF), especially when sharing files by e-mail or across the Internet. Unfortunately I think people may be under the impression that in order to create PDF files you need to purchase expensive software. In fact while there are many good reasons to use Acrobat software from Adobe (the original designers of the PDF format), these is a good range of alternative PDF software options to suit all budgets and needs, including freeware and open source options.

One freeware PDF tool I discovered recently is PrimoPDF. It's a free no frills tool for creating basic PDFs. Like many of the freeware tools it makes use of Ghostscript, however installation is simply and straightforward. It is also ad free so there are no annoying pop-ups. To create a PDF you just print the document to a virtual PDF printer - you can then choose to create a PDF that is suitable for on screen viewing or high-quality printing.

I actually use a combination of free and commercial software. I have a copy of PublishPDF Pro (retails for around A$200) installed on my desktop PC that I use when I need more control over PDF output, such as such security and encryption. However on my laptop I usually find myself using the native PDF export function in OpenOffice, an open source alternative to Microsoft Office, for creating simple PDF of documents I've created. I use PrimoPDF for everything else.


  1. Another very easy (for Windows users) and free* tool for creating PDFs is Pdf995. There is also PdfEdit995 and Signature995 which give even more PDF functionality.

    * A sponsor page is displayed each time they are used. You can license it for US$9.95 (or their suite of 3 PDF tools for US$19.95).

  2. Anonymous10:47 am

    Or you can use a Mac. Save as PDF is a standard part of the operating system.
    Brian, ACTKM lurker


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