*Warning* – major rant begins here – I spill my guts!
Most of the free PDF conversion programs are limited on purpose. So, you are forced into $$$ upgrading or just put up with less features. Trade-offs include: Hyperlinks don’t work (especially anchored text), there’s no security for copy and/or password protection, & no compression for image quality. (why force people to download a 32 Mb eBook with images that’s 62 pgs long when it could easily be 3.8 Mb without any apparent loss in quality?)
Well, I have received many great tips and ideas on the Warrior Forum and I wanted to give something back. I recently discovered 7-PDF Maker which has got to be the most brilliant FREE PDF app out there!
7-PDF Maker is very best free PDF creator that "you never heard of" and "that money can't buy" - (website is German but this link should translate to English)
(For the record I'm not an affiliate in any way, shape or form)
Also, if you Google "7-PDF Maker" you will find copies at both CNET & Softpedia freeware websites.(But I always get mine from the creator's home website)
7-PDF Maker is a fast, free, and easy-to-use PDF creator. It has no restrictions, no watermarks, no spyware, no adware, and no pop-up advertisements.
Features include: preserves all links (urls, anchored text, and table of contents), encryption / password security, quality levels (compression) and auto PDF preview. Even batch processing!
This program is amazing - it even converts any one of 84 different doc / image files without even having to open them first!
You probably won't need it - but get the 7-PDF Help Manual: (Actually the manual does come in handy because the 84 different file types are listed in the back!)
7-PDF Manual EN - PDF erstellen | PDF Creator | PDF Converter kostenlos | 7-PDF Maker
What about OpenOffice?
OK, before I get in big trouble with the OpenOffice crowd, I should say that OpenOffice is still the best solution for PDF creation. In fact, I think OpenOffice is the gold standard that every other program must be compared to!
So how does 7-PDF Maker compare to Open Office? Well, they are very close - the PDF settings screens are very similar. And the PDF files that are output are identical. Yes, Identical.
7-PDF Maker & OpenOffice are cousins. Sure enough 7-PDF Maker & OpenOffice are both using the same source code; the 7-PDF log screen shows credits to the OpenOffice.org community and Sun Microsystems. Another hint: While viewing file properties in Acobat Reader the description of the PDF Producer is OpenOffice.org 3.2 (No wonder both OpenOffice and 7-PDF Maker are the same!)
Why you want it:
You’ve tried many of the so-called "Virtual Printers" and found that if you are lucky you might get the hyperlinks to work. (I’m talking about PDF Creator, Primo PDF, Cute PDF Writer, DoPDF, PDF995, PDFill Writer, Bullzip PDF Printer, etc.) Half of these programs require you to download and install Ghostscript or Convertor.exe. (Ghostscript is known to be buggy and a resource hog that doesn’t always play well with other programs on your computer!)
I've tried all of these "Fake Printer" programs and unfortunately, NONE can preserve links like anchored text, bookmarks, and table of contents.
Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t embedded text seem to be nicer and more clickable? I know that I have more of a tendency to click “More Details Here” than the traditional http://www.mywebsite dot com. I haven’t tested this so meanwhile maybe you should hedge your bets and use both!
MS Word has “Save as PDF” which is a free download from Microsoft. This works for Office 2007 and 2010, but not Office 2003. “Save as PDF” does allow all links to go through but there are no quality choices or copy protection. (So, one out three features isn’t too bad, huh?)
For MS Office Word users I usually recommend OpenOffice for PDF conversion to get all 3 of these important features – all links, security, and quality choices. But why download and install another office suite when all you want is PDF conversion? It doesn’t make any sense now. OpenOffice is a 150 Mb download and installed with Java takes up 750 Mb on your HD.
7-PDF Maker is only 107 Mb – and the PDF files are perfect – same as OpenOffice!
What about Online Conversion?
Some web services do a decent job of converting word docs to PDF. But, some web services limit the file size to 1 Mb or 5 Mb. I say no thanks – I don’t trust letting my source doc out of my sight – sorry I worked hard on this d*#@ book! And, I can’t tell you how much fun it is waiting around for my new ebook to show up in my email so I can download it to myself! Wow, there’s got to be a better way! Besides, I like to try different things – like different quality settings to strike a compromise between download size and print quality. And, don’t these free sites keep shutting down – sorry, I like to be more in control of my destiny.
I haven’t used it but, here’s 7-PDF Maker Online Conversion:
7-PDF WEB PORTAL - PDF erstellen | PDF Creator | PDF Converter kostenlos | 7-PDF Maker
What about Automation?
PDF Factory. anyone? Yes, it’s true that 7-PDF Maker does come with batch processing. The command line version of 7-PDF Maker will auto-process any number of docs or images into PDF all at once. This is great if you want convert a ton of PLR docs. First do your rewrite/cleanup, add all your links, then dump them all into a folder. Run 7-PDF Maker and presto out comes your new PDF ebooks all-at-once!
So, I hope this RANT helps my fellow warriors with their PDF Conversion needs.