You no longer need the expensive Adobe Acrobat software ($299 for the current Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Standard, and $449 for Acrobat 7.0 Professional) to create PDF files from your Microsoft Office documents or for converting web pages to PDF documents. There are tons of alternatives available to print to PDF and some are even freeware.
Nitro PDF Desktop 1.77 Nitro PDF Desktop provides basic PDF-creation and editing capabilities at a fraction of the price of Adobe Acrobat Standard. Nitro PDF automatically places buttons in three popular Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) for single-click conversion to PDF, convert to PDF and e-mail, and program-specific settings. It also lets you convert printable files to PDFs by right-clicking on them in My Computer or Windows Explorer. (Price: $99, File Size: 20 MB, 30 day Trial available)
ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 3 Convert PDF to word document, PDF to Excel and a handy single-click process that lets you fill out any PDF form. In addition to the main application, the setup installs two other modules, PDF Create! Assistant and PDF Converter Assistant. PDF Create! Assistant lets you batch-convert selected files and file types to PDF, while PDF Converter Assistant handles file conversions from PDF, and can be used to tweak file settings prior to converting.
There are tons of free alternatives available and some claim to as powerful as Acrobat Distiller.
1. OpenOffice - Directly print documents to PDF without any third-party plugin.
2. PrimoPDF - A completely free PDF Converter Tool. You can print to PDF from virtually any Windows application. This is a full application and not a trial version. There are no watermarks in the PDF files.
3. PDFCreator - Creates a virtual printer that will print all formats to PDF from any application.
4. Cutewriter - CutePDF Writer installs itself as a "printer subsystem". With it you can create a PDF by combining various text and image files, or edit an existing one. You can also combine or extract PDFs, and add backgrounds, letterheads, and forms to them. Basic security options include password protection and watermarks.
5. PostScript-to-PDF converter - Very powerful but for geeks. ps2pdf is a work-alike for nearly all the functionality (but not the user interface) of Adobe's Acrobat Distiller product: it converts PostScript files to Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Many users report that the combination of ps2pdf with Acrobat is superior to using a generic PostScript viewer (psview or ghostview), particularly for documents with many pages where the navigational support in PDF files reduces the overhead involved in navigating conventional PostScript documents.
6. Adobe CreatePDF - A free service from Adobe that allows you to convert MS office documents to PDF online. You upload the file to Adobe webserver or point a webpage URL and the resulting PDF is sent to you by email or can be downloaded directly from Adobe site. PS2PDF is another similar service - upload a postscript compatible file to and then click on the resulting link that contains the generated PDF.
Note that the free Adobe service limits each PDF to 100MB and 50 uploaded pages, and it times out after 10 minutes of processing per file, a limiting factor if you work with complicated files containing high-resolution images.
7. A little technical solution: Use AFPL Ghostscript to create PDF and GSview to view and edit PDF files.
8. PDF995 - The pdf995 suite of products - Pdf995, PdfEdit995, and Signature995 is a complete solution for your document publishing needs. It provides ease of use, flexibility in format, and industry-standard security- and all at no cost to you. Its easy-to-use interface helps you to create PDF files by simply selecting the "print" command from any application, creating documents which can be viewed on any computer with a PDF viewer.
9. FPDF is a PHP class which allows to generate PDF files with pure PHP, that is to say without using the PDFlib library. The advantage is that PDFlib requires a fee for a commercial usage. FPDF requires no extension (except zlib to activate compression) and works with PHP4 and PHP5.
10. NovaPDF - Converts any type of printable document (DOC, XLS, PPT, HTML, EML, TXT..) into PDF files. Password protect the PDF files you create with 40-bit and 128-bit encryption levels, set different printing resolutions (from 72 dpi to 2400 dpi), NovaPDF support shared network printing. Supports ZIP and JPEG compression methods. You can define different profiles, each with its own settings for page size, resolution, fonts, compression, document info and save settings. NovaPDF also provide PDF SDK for integrating PDF print functions in software applications.
11. PDF Online PDF Online (formerly goBCL / goHTM) is web-based server solution that offers free document conversion into PDF and HTML formats. Create PDF for free, PDF software programming, PDF toolkit, convert to PDF and HTML, PDF converter, PDF api, PDF SDK / COM and PDF server batch process. PDF Online lets you submit documents from your web browser. PDF Online then processes your document and, within minutes, generates and emails you an accurate PDF or HTML (complete with JPEG files) representation of your document.
PDF, or Portable Document Format, is a unique, cross-platform file format that allows for precise representation of documents. There are certain advantage of PDF over other document formats. By converting to PDF, you can rest assured that your users will see your documents exactly as you intended, with all the fonts, formatting, and graphics intact. Rapidly becoming the de facto standard for electronic document distribution, PDF also enables you to add features like security, bookmark navigation, web optimization, and more.
The other important market is reverse conversion of PDF documents. Abbyy's PDF Transformer can be used to convert PDF to word, PDF to excel or to convert PDF to text. Adobe: Accessibility - Learn how to use an online conversion tool to extract content from a PDF file and have it delivered to you in ASCII text or HTML format.
Keep in mind that when it comes to embedding fonts in a PDF file you have to make certain that you have the correct fonts on the system you're using to make the conversion. Typically you should embed and subset fonts, although there are always exceptions. WonderSoft Virtual PDF Printer helps you choose and embed your fonts into any PDF. The program supports True Type and Unicode fonts.
Most of the low-cost Adobe Acrobat alternative lacks many of Acrobat's advanced tools, such as integration with Microsoft Word, print and copy controls, and a "Send to PDF" option for your right-click menu.
One good bookmarking solution is EverMap's AutoBookmark plug-in for Adobe Acrobat, which is priced at $99 and helps you sort and print bookmarks, customize bookmark titles and create multi-level bookmarks.
A second user-friendly solution that runs less than $50 is MagicTeck's Windows-based Magic PDF Bookmark Editor. This is a good stand-alone solution for creating, adding, editing and extracting bookmarks. It also offers unlimited nesting levels and does not require Adobe Acrobat for use.
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