Create PDF files with free, easy-to-use software

For a few months, I’ve wanted the ability to create PDF (portable document format) files from my home computer, but I didn’t want to pay $300 for Adobe Acrobat X Standard. While it’s a great tool, I couldn’t really justify the price.

I found several lower-cost and free software options for creating PDF files, but I am always wary of downloading unfamiliar software. That’s why I look for recommendations from reputable sources. There are three main websites I turn to for software and technology reviews: PC World, PC Magazine and ZDNet. My research led me to PC World’s recommendation of a software called Cute PDF™ Writer.

Downloading and installing Cute PDF Writer from the PC World website was a breeze. The software adds Cute PDF as an option in your printer menu. When you use the File>Print command for a document or Web page, you simply “print” to Cute PDF instead of sending the document to your regular printer. This leads to a popup window where you can name the file and select the location where you wish to save it. The created file opens easily with Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader software.

Cute PDF doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of Adobe Acrobat X Standard. You can’t use it to edit files, create fillable forms or set up password-protected files. These features are available in the professional version of Cute PDF, which you can buy for just $50—that’s 80 percent less than Adobe Acrobat X Standard. I haven’t tried that product or read any reviews of it, but it’s definitely worth investigating if you need those functions.

I’ve been using Cute PDF for a couple of weeks and have experienced no problems. For those who simply want to create PDF files at home, it offers a great option.

What’s your favorite free software installed on your home computer?

Disclaimer: I am not a software engineer and cannot guarantee the safety or reliability of any software. You download, install and use any software suggested by me or users of my blog at your own risk. I will not be held liable for software failure.

1 Comment

Filed under Cheap and free stuff, Product recommendations, Technology and office equipment

One response to “Create PDF files with free, easy-to-use software

  1. Wendifer

    I use PDF files for posting documents such as forms on a webpage. These are word processing documents that I do not want altered, but need to allow my users to print. In Microsoft Word, you can select “Save As–>PDF” or select file type of PDF on the Save As page. This works in Microsoft Publisher and Excel as well.

    Be sure to keep your original copy in Word form, because you will not be able to edit the PDF.

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