Online PDF conversion service - fishy?

  1. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,233
    Gold Member

    I've been asked for my opinion on online PDF conversion sites.

    This is what I was sent:
    http://www.pdfonline.com/index.htm#free

    My spidey-sense is tingling. I jsut wonder what they're getting out of it that they're not telling me.

    Can anyone advise me about online PDF converiosn in general? Is it cost-effective to just buy Acrobat Distller?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There are several free PDF generation tools; just use one of them. They show up as virtual printers on Windows computers.

    - Warren
     
  4. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    This is the free PDF writer that I've used for about a year now, and I'm satisfied with it:

    PrimoPDF http://www.primopdf.com/
     
  5. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,233
    Gold Member

    OK, well I gave it a test-run. It seems OK.

    Problem is: it didn't preserve my fonts.


    I'm now trying PrimoPDF. After installing it, what do I do next? Does it just show up as a printer all by itself? I opended its little control panel but that seems of little use. (And what is "button 2" anyway? Looks like a sloppy programmer to me.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2006
  6. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,300
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Print your document and select Primo as the printer. There may be a panel of options to play with, but the defaults should be OK to get started.

    It should be possible to get it to embed fonts. I know people who use Primo for apps with special fonts which would need to be embedded when they email the PDFs to other people. You may need to open the Windows Printers control panel, select Primo, and go to the "font substitution" options there. With luck you have a help file somewhere...

    Personally I use a different package called PDF995 (shareware - costs $9.95, hence the name) but AFAIK all these PDF creators work more or less the same way, and they all use the GNU ghostscript engine to do the hard work.
     
  7. I've used cutePDF, it seems good. I don't know much about it though.
     
  8. FredGarvin

    FredGarvin 5,087
    Science Advisor

    I use PDF995 and it has worked great for every application I have ever used it on, including CAD packages (where I use it a lot).
     
  9. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,233
    Gold Member

    I got PrimoPDF running and creating PDFs.

    But it doesn't seem to be preserving the document size - my document is 4.18"x6.88" but it ends up in the PDF as 8.5x11.

    I found the PrimoPDF Edit Page Size dialogue and have set it correctly, but it doesn't print that way.
     
  10. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,233
    Gold Member

    Same tihng with PDF995 - doesn't preserve document dimensions.
     
  11. hits on their site, and marketing driven revenue.
     
  12. dextercioby

    dextercioby 12,314
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    Homework Helper

    I've had Adobe Acrobat Distiller and was satisfied with it. I turned to free software now and, yes, LaTex fonts don't look so good anymore.

    Daniel.
     
  13. FredGarvin

    FredGarvin 5,087
    Science Advisor

    I have never had that problem with it.
     
  14. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,300
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    Homework Helper

    There is a limitation with PDF995 - it has many predefined paper sizes but it doesn't support a "custom" size where you can type in the paper dimensions at print time. You select the paper size with the the "properties" button on the Windows print dialog.

    You should be able to get your image at actual size on a larger piece of "paper", if you switch off all the "fit to page" options in the program you are printing from, if that's a good enough workround.

    If you want to add a new paper size, you can edit the .PPD file (PostScript Page/Paper Definition?) that defines the sizes. The .PPD file format is in a document on the Adobe website somewhere. But that's not a replacement for a genuine "custom" size. If you need that, you probably need to buy Adobe Distiller or whatever.
     
  15. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,233
    Gold Member

    Well, yes it does. You can choose 'Post Script custom size' in the PDF995 print properties, and set your values there.

    It just doesn't stick.


    I tried some of the other size papers (A3, etc), to see if it was simply the custom size that was buggered up, but none of them worked. My PDF doc came out 8.5x11.
     
  16. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,300
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    OK, we must have different versions of PDF995. I can definitely use the predefined paper sizes, I do it all the time, and I don't have a custom size.

    I can't find a version number but mine is several years old. It ain't broke for me, so I've never checked for upgrades.

    Sorry, I dunno what else to suggest, except to email their tech support.
     
  17. -Job-

    -Job- 1,132
    Science Advisor

    If you write your docs in Latex you can use latex.exe to convert to .dvi and then dvi2pdfmx.exe to convert to .pdf. The web based latex editor i'm working on, www.latexlab.org, uses this process when you select to export as pdf.
     
  18. robphy

    robphy 4,394
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    Here's my vote: PDFCreator http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

    Since it seems that some of the others mentioned have some interesting features (like table of contents generation), I might take a look at those.
     
  19. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry I missed this thread....
    It does for me. Just make sure you select the paper size when you print. What program are you printing from?
     
  20. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,233
    Gold Member

    MS Word.

    And the place where you select the paper size is the print driver for the PDF writer.
     
  21. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Right.... so I don't understand the problem. When you select letter size paper in the PDF995 driver, what happens?
     
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