A decent free PDF creator

Despite seeming a little old-skool and inaccessible at times, the computer world still requires you to mess around with Adobe PDF - Portable Document Format - files now and then.

Looking at them is free and easy with Adobe's official Acrobat Reader amongst other software (the Poorhouse has heard good things about Foxit, but never tried it). Creating them is a bit more of an obstacle; traditionally one would use the full Adobe Acrobat, but with a cost of £250+ who really loves PDFs enough to bother? Luckily there are free alternatives.

There's more than one around, but some are rather feature-limited (likely because they are cut-down versions of something non-free), have rumours of spyware, weird dependencies or being complicated surrounding them. The Poorhouse is having a good time with PrimoPDF though. Yes, there is a money-costing version (or an API) for big organisations, but the free one is fully-featured and just like the "real" Acrobat works as a virtual printer so almost any Windows program can output files to PDF via it. The only annoyance, which isn't even really an annoyance, is a small integrated banner ad you see whilst it does its magic.

It's simple enough to use (assuming you know how to print documents that is) but if you wish it does have configurable PDF security, quality and document property options to play with. It is distinctly less feature-filled (some would say bloated) that the official Acrobat but if you just want to make simple PDF files to store or distribute it does the job nicely.

If you just want to make a single PDF now and then, there is also a free online version available.


Comments

Adobe pdfs

Thanks for the information on Primopdf - could be useful. I guess you know that Adobe themselves have a free, "trial" area for making pdfs here ? It seems quite useful if you are only making the occasional pdf - not least because they are not very good at counting! You supposedly get 5 free trials but I have used 3 in the past and still have 4 to go, it seems!
They seem a bit fussy about email addresses however (necessary for log-in)- would only accept my hotmail one!

Thanks for the tip, I guess

Thanks for the tip, I guess they are the gold standard in PDF making - maybe should they ever work out your numeric crimes you could sign up with a stack of email addresses from Mailinator if they're not too clever...

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