Wouldn’t it be great if Windows comes with its own PDF converter? Unfortuately, it does not. With PDF being one of the preferred ways of protecting and sending documentation to others, we need a way to convert any document format into PDF. In case you are searching for such tool, here are five of the best free PDF converters for Windows users:
PrimoPDF (featured in our 2007 Best 101 Free Computer Software For Your Daily Use) is a Windows-only PDF Creator that provides many features for you to make any kind of documentation into a PDF. As with many PDF Creators, when you have a file that you need to PDF, you go to Print option, and PrimoPDF will be listed.
After you hit the Print button, you are given five options that you can choose from: Screen, eBook, Print, Prepress, and Custom. One thing that I like is that it gives a quick and useful description of the five PDF-creation options. It was also nice that they put them in chronological order from which option is best for smallest file to the biggest file.
The Custom option allows you to create a profile where you can customize the PDF settings to the way you prefer. In Document Properties, you are able to enter a title, description, and keywords for your new PDF. I am thinking that keywords is an option if you choose the Screen or eBook options.
Another great feature of PrimoPDF is the levels of PDF security that you are given. You can have password protection for viewing and modifying the PDF. If you password protect the modification part, then you can even get to granular level of what kind of printing is allowed and what changes.
Overall, PrimoPDF provides flexibility and tons of features that make it a great PDF creator.
PDF995 is a PDF Creator that is very easy to use, but is supported by ads, which can be a bit much. It is also Windows only. The PDF995 printer driver and converter are separated in two EXE files. Having to download and install two different EXE files is a little tedious. It would be easier if it were in one zip file. You are given a notification after installing one of the files that lets you know that in order for the PDF creator to work, you need to install the second file. Like PrimoPDF, PDF995 is very easy to use because you just go to your Print options, and it’s there. The only frustrating thing is that the free version has a lot of ads, which I guess is the way they are able to keep the tool free. If you want to remove the ads, then you can pay to upgrade.
Also, you don’t have many options to customize your PDFs properties and privacy settings. It just basically creates the PDFs and that’s it. PDF995 gets the job done, but the ads might make you not even attempt to use it.
CutePDF is quick and easy, but it has a major flaw. One thing that CutePDF did that I liked was that it had a zipped package, so you didn’t have to download two individual EXE files. However, if you wanted, you also were given that option. During installation, you are given the option to install Ask.com and make it the default search provider. As with the others, you select CutePDF from your printer list, and press the Print button. After choosing a name for your file, and then the file dialog box disappears, and you wonder if the conversion occurred. I had to search for it to find out if it did create the PDF and where it placed it on my local drive. A prompt should be given so that you are aware if the conversion was successful or not. It’s something that the developers should think about. CutePDF does the installation in a better way than PDF995, but it needs to notify you if the PDF conversion was successful or not.
DoPDF is a multilanguage PDF converter. After selecting a document to print, DoPDF opens up a window for you to select the file destination and if you want to open it in the reader after it’s been converted. The reader is actually your default PDF reader that you currently are using. DoPDF is very simple and easy to use. It has a way for you to know that the file has actually converted to PDF, so you aren’t keep wondering if it has or not. It doesn’t have an built-in reader, so if you currently do not have a PDF reader installed on your machine, you will have to download one.
PDFCreator has tons of features that will aid you in converting your files. It isn’t just a PDF converter, like the others. PDFCreator provides the capability of converting your file into numerous formats.
The PDF security settings are very similar to PrimoPDF. It provides different layers of security by allowing you password-protect the PDF from being viewed and/or modified. PDFCreator has two types of encryptions, so you can encrypt your PDF to protect it even more from unwanted eyes. When converting your file to PDF, you are able to create a title and keywords. You can save it right away, or email it to whomever you choose, using your default email application.
Which is your favorite PDF creator?