PDFCreator
PDFCreator2.png

PDFCreator is a free, open-source program to convert files and Web pages into PDF format. One way to use it is to choose "PDF Creator" from the print dialogue. The software can be downloaded for Microsoft Windows at pdfforge.org.

PDFCreator

Version

Latest version examined is 0.9.5 (download) released on 24 December 2007.

What It Does

According to the Web site for PDFCreator,

PDFCreator is a free tool to create PDF files from nearly any Windows application.

Key Features:

* 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.

What Computers It Runs On

PDFCreator runs on the typical pre-Vista Windows computers including XP. However, Vista is a problem:

Bug Bounty: 150 $ for solution PDFCreator on Windows Vista
Submitted by philip on Wed, 2007-09-12 14:16.

Hello,

as you all know, PDFCreator currently does not work properly under Windows Vista. The upcoming Version 0.9.5 will have basic Vista support, but the main problem has not been solved.

The problem is, that Vista has a strict security system, that does not allow the way PDFSpooler.exe tries to start PDFCreator under the context of a user.

Is there someone who has already done this under windows Vista?

We have the possibility to do this in C (not C# oder C++) oder in Visual Basic 6.

Any help, hints oder experience is appreciated here, as we have spent several days on this issue without a result.

We are offering a bounty of 150$ for the first one who can solve this.

regards,
Philip

Download

PDFCreator may be downloaded from this download page at pdfforge.org.

How To Use It

"Print" to a PDF

pdfcreator-print-dialogue.png PDFCreator1.png

The simples way to use PDFCreator is to "print" a file but choose choose "PDFCreator" in the print dialogue window. Instead of printing to a printer, you'll be able to select PDFCreator from the dropdown menu under the printer's Name.

Click "OK."

You will then see various options, such as changing the document's name, date, and author, and after clicking on "save" you can choose where you want the PDF to be saved.

Convert a Web Page

pdfcreator-firefox-plugin.png

If you're using Internet Explorer or Firefox you can click on a PDF button (the one on the right, beside the Adobe icon) and convert the Web page you're viewing to a PDF.

This plug-in is optional and installation can be skipped. If you don't like it after installation you can right click on a toolbar and remove it.

Search Engine
I don't know what search engine the search box uses. Personally I wouldn't use it until I knew more about it.

Advanced Features
I have not used the advanced features of the program (see also screenshot at the beginning of this article). It appears that running the program in standalone mode allows one to set security options and save files in formats other than PDF (such as JPG or PNG image files).

Reviews

Some comments are quoted in the PDF entry.

Also, from a Lifehacker.com posting on 10 April 2007:

Windows only: Free, open source application PDFCreator is an all-in-one PDF Swiss Army knife.

Aside from the whole print-to-PDF functionality we're so fond of here at Lifehacker, PDFCreator has a slew of other wildly useful PDF tools, like encryption, autosave filing based on tags, and PDF merging. If PDFs aren't really your thing, you can even save files as PNG, JPG, and more. I mentioned doPDF a few weeks ago, but many readers were quick to put PDFCreator on the pedestal it deserves in the comments and show me the error of my ways. PDFCreator is free, open source, Windows only. — Adam Pash

And from a posting by Greg Leedberg in 2005:

In the end, PDFCreator is a simple, flexbile [sic], powerful little program. It lets you easily create PDFs, which even initially has a lot of good uses. However, once you get used to it, you'll start to find lots of times when making a PDF is really beneficial (especially opposed to printing). And of course, it compares very favorably with its competition, especially the expensive Adobe Acrobat — even if you ignore the price! Great program.

Another discussion—with screenshots—is available in Save the Trees - Print to PDF using free tools.

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