There are often times when you may need to send someone a document, or show them a sample from a program that you’re working on, but they don’t have the same version of word processor or the right programming software.
The PDF format has become the popular standard for sharing documents, so the ability to convert anything that you’re working on into PDF format would allow you to share data much more easily. The best tool that I’ve found to convert anything to pdf is the free PDF converter called PDF995.
PDF995 can be used, as described in an earlier article on MakeUseOf, as a print driver for OmniFormat. However the full PDF995 suite of products has a whole range of functionalities that makes dealing with PDF formatting very simple.
Converting Anything To PDF Format
The power to convert any single document or image to PDF format becomes apparent once you start using the simple PDF995 print driver. For example, many businesses have a limited number of licenses for proprietary programming software like Visual Basic or Visio for graphical design. However, while you’re programming, you may find the need to show what you’re working on to a colleague or your boss who may not have the software installed. The easiest way to do this is by converting your work to a PDF file by printing it out to the PDF995 print driver.
For example, in manufacturing automation, engineers create screens on industrial Panelview units by using special Allen Bradley software to do so. This software is much like other graphical user interface design software, but in order to see the screens in design mode, you need to have the software. If your boss asks to see the latest screen that you’re working on, you can do so by printing it to PDF995 as shown below.
Within the printer list, you’ll find the “PDF995” driver. Select that driver and print the file. The free version of the software will display a sponsor ad for about 20 seconds, and then after asking you where to save the PDF file, PDF995 automatically displays the PDF file within Adobe Acrobat.
This works for any program that you might be working with that allows you to print, including any special proprietary programming software, machine processor logic, or even graphic design programs. By printing to a simple PDF file, you can attach the file and email your work to anyone you like, or publish it on the web as a downloadable file.
The Additional Features Of PDFedit995
When you download and install the PDFedit995 add-on, the features of this software extend far beyond just converting images and documents to a PDF file. The PDFedit995 application lets you do things like combining multiple docs to a single PDF file, automatically inserting links into the PDF, converting PDF’s back to HTML or Word Doc format, and it even provides integration with the Microsoft Word toolbar.
For example, just the other day I downloaded a PDF manual titled “How to Access MySQL with PHP.” The manual is great, but in PDF format I can’t edit it or make use of any of the highlighting or notation functions that most word processors offer. With PDFedit995, it’s a breeze to convert any e-book in PDF format over to a Microsoft Word document or even into a HTML file. Although converting to a Word document will not convert the images from the PDF document, converting the PDF to HTML format will.
All you need to do is start PDFedit995, click on the “Text” tab, and then click on the button labeled “Convert PDF to Word or HTML.” The following screen will appear.
In my case, I want to convert the PDF e-book on PHP programming to a Word document. So I browse to where I’ve saved the PDF file and then click on “Convert the document.” If you de-select the “Include Images” checkbox, the program will automatically convert the PDF to both HTML and Word formats. The Word format is great if you just need the text extracted from the PDF in an editable form. However, if you’re more concerned with formatting and including the images, the HTML format is best, as shown below.
In addition to this useful conversion utility, PDFedit995 also offers the ability to:
- Combine multiple existing word documents into a single PDF
- Automatically inserts hyperlinks
- Integrates with the Microsoft Word toolbar
- Add stationary (such as backgrounds or headers) to your PDF documents
How to Use Signature995
When you install the Signature995 add-on application, PDF995 will offer a few additional tabs that expand its functionality to include the ability to stamp each page, for example with the word “CONFIDENTIAL.”
Stamping pages can be very useful in a business environment where uncontrolled copies need to be identified on every page with “UNCONTROLLED COPY,” or in government offices where the classification level of the documents need to be identified on every page.
Other PDF Conversion Tools
PDFedit995 is just one of many PDF conversion tools that are available for free. It does have the annoyance of a sponsor pop-up window every time you use it. So if that tries your patience a little too much, consider some of the other tools we’ve covered on MakeUseOf before, such as doPDF for converting documents to PDF or tools like PDF Split and Merge. There were also a couple of lists posts such as cool PDF tools and simple PDF apps.
Which application you choose really depends on your specific PDF needs and what kind of features you’re looking for.
Do you have any favorite PDF tools or applications that convert anything to pdf? Tell us about it in the comments section!