PDF is Adobe's "Portable Document Format." People often find the format useful for exchanging files that would otherwise require specific software to read (such as Microsoft Word). On Mac OS X one can easily save to PDF, but there is no built-in way to do this on Windows. This article lists some options. I decided to use PDFCreator.

Converting to PDF

On Windows XP

Free software


Here's freeware designed to convert a file to PDF, sometimes by installing some add-on as a print driver ("Print to PDF" or equivalent then should appear as a printer choice):

  • Primo PDF
    • "Completely free PDF creator - Create PDF files from 300+ file types."
    • "Make 100% industry-standard PDF from any files that print."
    • "Create PDF files optimized for print, screen, ebook, or prepress."
  • CutePDF Writer
    • "CutePDF Writer (formerly CutePDF Printer) is the free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a "printer subsystem". This enables virtually any Windows applications (must be able to print) to create professional quality PDF documents - with just a push of a button!"
    • "FREE for personal and commercial use! No watermarks! No Popup Web Ads!"
    • "Requires PS2PDF converter such as Ghostscript (recommended)."
  • PDFCreator (pictured above)
          • "Create PDFs from any program that is able to print"
          • "Security: Encrypt PDFs and protect them from being opened, printed etc."
          • "Send generated files via eMail"
          • "Create more than just PDFs: PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS"
          • "AutoSave files to folders and filenames based on Tags like Username, Computername, Date, Time etc."
          • "Merge multiple files into one PDF"
          • "Easy Install: Just say what you want and everything is installed"
          • "Terminal Server: PDFCreator also runs on Terminal Servers without problems"
          • "And the best: PDFCreator is free, even for commercial use! It is Open Source and released under the Terms of the GNU General Public License."


  • edugeek.net discussion (November 2007):
    • "Another vote for PDFCreator, I like and use it, very good tool. So for making them its PDFCreator and reading them FoxIT Reader"
    • "We used to use Primo PDF, but it started having ads in the free version, so I tried PDFCreator. It seems to produce better quality PDFs than Primo PDF, in my opinion."
    • "Have deployed PDFCreator across the whole site on Tuesday, have had some good feedback from staff."
    • "PrimoPDF (even works within a TS environment)"
    • "We use CutePDF - easy to install and use. We install it as part of our standard image."
    • "we use pdf995 http://www.pdf995.com/ It's free if you don't mind the ads - Rates are reasonable if you want to lose the ads! (eg USD19.95 for single user - USD325 for 25 users for the full pdfedit995 suite)"


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