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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Your favourite PDF programs

    A long while after Alan's suggestion and inspired by BATcher's PDF Toolbox post, I start this thread so we can throw in our recommended PDF software.

    To be honest, 98% of the times I don't use a PDF viewer I use PDF creation software (rather than PDF editors, converters, etc). So, despite having bragged about owning a complete set of PDF apps, I must admit that I only use one or two of these, and I don't even recall most of the other's names. I just know they are there in case I need them!

    Here's my choice:

    PDF Creation:
    I like <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> PDF Creator. A couple years back I definitely favoured Cute PDF, but for some reason I stopped using it. I believe it happened to create a bunch of consecutive PDF documents with some spoiled blank sheets or the like.

    PDF Viewers:
    Although there being many third-party alternatives out there, I still use old Adobe Reader versions, which are not unnecessarily packed with "features" and are thus faster. Probably Adobe Reader 5 (called Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 at that time) will do, but I might change slightly when I reinstall my machine. You can download these from http://www.oldversion.com.

    Others:
    These are applications I presumably got to know thanks to fellow loungers, but I cannot give an accurate descritpion right now. I just know I thought it would be a good idea to keep them handy for whatever reason I may need to resource to them. Here's the list:<UL><LI>PDF-XChange Viewer: "The free alternative to the adobe PDF viewer/reader - fully featured, faster and still.
    View, print, export text & images and add content to PDF files, type on PDF's in any font, fill and save forms and much more ! Free for private and commercial use, provided not bundled with other software or for financial gain"
    <LI>Free PDF to Word Converter: self-descriptive.
    <LI>A-PDF INFO Changer: "A-PDF INFO Changer is an utility for Reading and changing the PDF file properties, include author, title, subject, keywords. It is a freeware. You can use it unlimited."
    <LI>Tweak PDF: "With the freeware utility Tweak PDF, you are allowed to set the initial view preferences of a PDF document, such as whether to center window of the PDF file when opened, whether to display document title, to fit window, to hide menubar, to hide toolbar, and to hide window UI. [...]"[/list]Hope you find them useful.
    <img src=/w3timages/blue3line.gif width=33% height=2>
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  2. #2
    2 Star Lounger
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    I use Bullzip PDF printer http://www.bullzip.com/products/pdf/info.php but I don't use all the features; I just make basic PDF files. It does a good job. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

    The Bullzip website references a Ghostscript Lite file, which seems to be just the part of Ghostscript that you need to make PDF files. What is this Lite file? Where does it come from? I still use the full GPL Ghostscript version 8.61.

    J. Till

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    If one has the money, pdfFactory is extremely convenient. When you print, rather than having to name and save your file, you get a previewer that lets you see how your document will look. You can immediately delete the job and try again if it isn't right. You also can print Outlook plain text messages and delete the unwanted pages before launching the PDF in Adobe Reader, without ever saving the file (it saves in the background). You can combine multiple print jobs into a single PDF without having to use import features. I could go on. But it's $50, so obviously it isn't for everybody.

    Among the free products, CutePDF Writer creates more compact files than PrimoPDF (see Word to PDF conversion freeware). FreePDF XP offers the nice feature of being able to define printers that create other formats, such as 300dpi JPEGs (see Print to graphic), and it offers multiple prints into a single file by deferring file naming (you name and save when you print the last item you want in the file).

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    I used CutePDf for a while. Didn't like it and the PDF sizes were big. Switched to DoPDF a few months back (http://www.dopdf.com) which I like better. Also makes smaller PDF files.

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    I second jscher2000's recommendation for pdfFactory. It's so useful to be able to combine several different documents into a single pdf and also to remove pages not wanted. I'm still with v2; v3 allows pages to be moved within the pdf and I'll probably upgrade when I next need this function. (Note combining/deleting/rearranging is all done before the final pdf is produced.)

    For viewing I use Foxit; small, efficient and not installed.

    David

  6. #6
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    I'm an everyday user of ScanToPdf. Mostly, I use it to scan handwritten, completed forms into my PC as a pdf file for record keeping. And I can email these documents to others and know that the other party will be able to print / view it using Acrobat or the free Acrobat Reader.

    One of the many plugins allows watermarking. The program has a free trial but then $39 if you wish to keep.

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>
    - Ricky

  7. #7
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    I'll second doPDF! It is the only one I've found that faithfully understands the page/ paper size of the original document.
    PDF995, PDF Creator, CutePDF and PaperlessPrinter all fail to pick up the custom page size of a MS Word doc, even when I used Fineprint as an intermediary driver and had them all set to "Custom Size".

    This is very useful for downloaded "pocket-sized" manuals, produced for A6 page size (4 x A6 per A4). I then use a script on the doPDF output to produce double-sided A4, 4 x pdf pages to the printed page, which can be cut horizontally across the middle, folded and assembled back-to-back then bound into the "original" booklet. Most satisfying!

    Alan

  8. #8
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    Prior to Office 2007, if I wanted a document in PDF I could do the Word Processing in Word, and then import it into WordPerfect and save the result as a PDF. The same applies to most other Office applications. MIcrosoft is very late in the game.

  9. #9
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    <hr>I'll second doPDF! It is the only one I've found that faithfully understands the page/ paper size of the original document.<hr>
    Well, I've struggled with that nuisance too. Not sure I've arrived to a satisfactory solution, so I'll keep an eye out for doPDF too.

    Edited to add:

    From the website:
    <hr>No GhostScript - doesn’t require 3rd party programs to do PDF files (like GhostScript). This makes the setup file to be incredibly small compared to other free PDF converters.<hr>
    Indeed, at 1.35 MB it is small <img src=/S/exclamation.gif border=0 alt=exclamation width=15 height=15>
    <img src=/w3timages/blue3line.gif width=33% height=2>
    <img src=/S/flags/Argentina.gif border=0 alt=Argentina width=30 height=18> <big><font color=4682b4><font face="Comic Sans MS">Diegol</font face=comic></font color=4682b4> </big>

  10. #10
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    If you have Office 2007 you should check out Download details: 2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS. It is <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> and lets you save as XPS or PDF in eight Office applications.

    Joe
    Joe

  11. #11
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    Yes, but the problem with the Office PDF plugin is larger PDFsizes. I find it just as easy to use the Print dialog to select a PDF printer there.

  12. #12
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    Unless you are doing thousands and thousands of file who cares? These days disk space is so cheap, I think ease of use and integration with tools I already use are more important that file size.

    Joe
    Joe

  13. #13
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    If you are creating Acrobat files for sending by email, or for people to download from a web site, then file size is quite important.

    StuartR

  14. #14
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    How much larger though? I've not done any tests on relative file sizes. You can always zip the file too.

    Joe
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  15. #15
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    Re: Your favourite PDF programs

    I have seen file size differences of 100% when comparing the output of some PDF creation utilities.

    The ability to zip the file applies in both cases.

    I guess the point I am making is that the size of the created PDF file can be an important feature for some people, but may be of very little significance for others.

    StuartR

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