Create your own PDF files

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Ian

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2005
Posts
759
Location
Adelaide, South Australia
Sometimes you need to share a file with others but you don't want them to have to worry about pictures or perhaps you don't want to bother with all the different forms of MS Word and whether they have a compatible computer or not. Maybe you want to lock the output file down so the info cant be changed, just printed. One of the answers is to put it into a PDF file. PDF stands for Portable Document Format and was developed by Adobe. Find out more at ]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format

If it isn't in PDF form, and you have a way of reading it (perhaps it is a Word document or RTF or other text file)  but don't have a way to put it into PDF form, try a neat little utility called CutePDF. It is free for non-commercial use. Comes in two parts, both freely down-loadable and low in download time too.

Once you have installed it you will have a virtual printer installled in your printer section, I suggest you make this your default printer, that way if ever you hit print and a printer isn't connected, this baby handles it without your desktop/laptop giving you all sorts of grief about no printer connected. BTDT way too many times.

The output is a basic but quite OK PDF file that can be freely shared with others. If the original has graphics and links to sites then the same will be in your PDF. I just 'printed' up a copy of this page and have attached it as a sample. Check it out.

I use this baby all the time and have never been disappointed in the output. You ll find it (and its bigger pay-me brothers) at  http://www.cutepdf.com/products/ plus good support, FAQ's etc. I don't get anything from them for posting this, just that it is a great little tool that really comes in handy for how I work.

Pros
When you get to those sites where you have filled out a form but you want a copy. Select to print and you have a full copy of all of the info you are about to send. Want to show a friend what a site looks like but they don't have access to the net? Print it as a PDF and then share it that way. There will be lots of times when having a record will be handy later on. PDF's are an almost universal way to do that.

Cons:
To read it requires that you have a version of Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. That isn't that much of a problem as it is freely available for almost every operating system in common use. Be aware that Acrobat is a big download because Adobe are bloating it with loads of extraneous garbage. But the upside is that a great majority of folks already have an Acrobat Reader installed on their systems.

They are not the only way, they are not the smallest way, they are not the fastest way. They certainly are almost the universal way. They are the way that many Government and State bodies have decided to format their public forms. They are here with us if we want them or not.

An almost out-dated (because of the updates in Acrobat 7) rant against PDF files in web sites: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030714.html
 

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John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,798
Location
Davison Michigan
Folks, I've used Cute PDF for some time now.. You will need to install something called "GhostScript" but now I"m going to tell you just how hard Cute PDF is to use.

Create your document using your normal document creation tool, Example, Word, Write, Microsoft works Word Processor, or spread sheet, or even your web browser.

ANY PROGRAM WHICH CAN OUTPUT TO YOUR PRINTER

now, from the FILE drop down menu top left on your screen select PRINT

In the pop up box select CutePDF

Select OK

in the next popup feed it a file name (and optionally choose a path) and it's done
 

Lew_Mann

New member
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Posts
2
Location
MA
I've been creating PDF documents for several years in my practice. I'm a semi-retired "financial planner" and have always emailed paperwork to clients using PDFs.

As the VP of one of my RV club chapters I create a monthly newsletter in Word, convert it to PDF and email it to all members. Today's computers come equipped with Adobe Acrobat Reader. So, every club member can open, read and print the newsletter, even if they don't have Word.

PDF documents, namely forms, can be "fillable." This means I can email you an application for an annuity (my specialty), you can complete the application at your computer keyboard; then print the document and sign it.

I sometimes PDF web pages, store them and/or email them to others.

Lew Mann
About to be a fulltimer . . .tomorrow
'98 Dutch Star Diesel 38 ft
 

Ian

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2005
Posts
759
Location
Adelaide, South Australia
Lew, you must be using the full Acrobat to create them. While CutePDF is good for producing a reasonable PDF file I am pretty sure I cant make it produce a PDF form that can be completed. Mind you that would be neat if it could ;)

I see some products on the CutePDF page ( http://www.cutepdf.com/products/ ) that allow form creation. Wonder how they would compare to the cost of Acrobat.
 

BruceinFL

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Posts
3,205
The free Open Office suite allows one to save files to any word format or export them to pdf. So you could make up a form with Write (Word) or Calc ( ) and  have a pdf file. Open Office also opens/writes to MS format. Oh, by the way, did I say it's FREE?  ;D
http://www.openoffice.org/

 

Lew_Mann

New member
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Posts
2
Location
MA
Ian,

Yes, I use the full Acrobat program. I'm now on version 7. What I like about fillable forms made in PDF is that anyone with the free Acrobat Reader program can view AND fill in the form. Several insurance copanies are starting to discover this as a method for agents to become more efficient.
 

Ian

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2005
Posts
759
Location
Adelaide, South Australia
BruceinFL said:
Oh, by the way, did I say it's FREE?  ;Dhttp://www.openoffice.org/
I have not used any MS Office product for almost 2 years now. OpenOffice does it all for me and not only is it free, it takes up much less room on my hard drive and in memory.
I do a lot of editing for online writers and though they send their files to me as Word docs, I just flip Track Changes on, and they get their Word files back with all my red marks and amendments over them. They don't see any difference.

You can consider me an ambassador for OpenOffice! I wont be going back!
 

Mike in Texas

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2006
Posts
56
Location
New Braunfels, TX
For you Mac users out there, one of the options at print time under OS X is to print to a PDF file, no special application needed. PhotoShop on either Mac or Windows can open the files. When I download a rebate form or other kind of form that is in PDF format, I load it into PhotoShop and using Layers, type the required information onto the form and then print it. PhotoShop can be used to convert the PDF file to EPS, JPG, TIFF, and other formats.
 

Jeff

Site Team
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Posts
8,965
Location
SD/AZ
I have used PFDedit from 995software for a couple of years. It allows everything discussed included a simple way to combine separate PDF files. Very low cost, (I think under 10.00 back then).

It works transparently by being a printer choice when you want to create or resave a PDF file.
 

ShakerNorm

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Posts
6
Location
Cold Lake, AB Canada
I also use CutePDF for making PDF Files - but if you want to add text to a PDF file - try FOXIT PDF reader.  Using it in conjunction with CutePDF, you can fill out PDF forms AND print them, or save them!

Foxit Reader
 

Ian

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2005
Posts
759
Location
Adelaide, South Australia
ShakerNorm said:
I also use CutePDF for making PDF Files - but if you want to add text to a PDF file - try FOXIT PDF reader.  Using it in conjunction with CutePDF, you can fill out PDF forms AND print them, or save them!
Foxit Reader
Thanks very much for that. I have long been looking for an alternative to Adobe Bloatware, this just might be the answer.

Looks like the next problem is finding forms that are 'user-fillable' so I can try this program out.
 
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