Sunday, November 25, 2007

Vista Tip: Install a PDF Printer Driver for Free

Dad didn't need a driver to allow him to produce PDF files so I didn't consider installing one at the time we set up his new Vista pc.

I, however, produce quite a lot of PDF documents at work, and use Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 to get the job done there.  There are a few twists, but basically what I do is create the document in my original application (Visio/Office/etc) then select Print --> Adobe PDF from the printer listings.

The Adobe PDF virtual printer driver then takes over and creates the PDF version that I "printed." Then I will open it in the full Adobe Acrobat software to do additional tweaking and document preferencing.

At home, I like to print documents I distribute to family and friends via PDF as well.  The files are much smaller and considerate of other user's bandwidth usages...and I don't usually have to worry if they have a compatible version of an office program to view them.

But I don't have $449 laying around to put a copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional on one of my home systems.

Use a Free PDF Printer Driver

While I was working on the Vista laptop the other day at the in-law's home, I had need to capture a web-page for an order I had placed.  Since we have never hooked up a printer to it (surprised?) I was left with using Vista's default XPS Document Writer to print/save the document.

It worked, but was VERY slow generating the output file and I wasn't impressed when it was all said-and-done.  And most people probably don't have a copy of the XPS Viewer installed on their system, but likely have Adobe Reader

So I added a free PDF printer driver instead...and it was fast and worked like a charm.

CutePDF Writer - (freeware for both personal and commercial use) - I went with this one on the Vista laptop.  It is highly rated by users, has a lot of options to tweak the output with before PDF format creation, and supports Vista (along with all the other Windows OS's. You do need to download both this application as well as a separate and free GPL Ghostscript 8.15 which is linked on the site.  Install that one first, then CutePDF and away you will go!

PDFCreator - (freeware for both personal and commercial use) - This is the application I have been using on my XP Home desktop system for a long, long time with beautiful results.  It supports encryption, sending of created files via emai, creation of output in additional formats (PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS), AutoSave of files to folders/filenames based on Tags, PDF file merging.

BullZip PDF Printer - (freeware for both personal and commercial use) - Another Vista-compatible pdf printer driver.  Also requires the separate Ghostscript download before installing the main program. Lots of features that make PDF creation a joy.

doPDF5.3 - (freeware for both personal and commercial use) - Another Vista-compatible pdf printer driver.  This one does not seem to require a Ghostscript download before installing the main program. Claims to have a new text compression algorithm to reduce the size of PDF files.  Not quite as many features as the others, but still worth considering.

PrimoPDF v3.2 - (freeware for personal use) - This application allows optimization of PDF outputs for screen (on-line) viewing, print, e-books, and pre-press. Like some of the others, it does support password encryption of the file, allows setting of document information to the PDF file, non-TrueType font support and the ability to merge/append PDF files upon conversion.

BTW, all of these support both the 32/64 bit flavors of Vista now.

Find one and install it, I promise at some point you will be glad you did!

--Claus

1 comment:

The Guru said...

I've used PrimoPDF to create PDF's in OpenOffice. Before you ask, yes OpenOffice does have a save as PDF feature but that is for the entire document not individual pages.