PDF printer utility

Create PDFs from a virtual printer with this free but limited tool.

WinPDF from PDFDesk Informatique is a free tool for creating PDF documents via the Print properties. It installs a virtual printer on your system that you select via the Print command. It saves documents as PDFs in a directory of your choosing, or it can print them out as PDFs. It can convert other documents to PDFs, too. Though it's a free solution for creating PDFs, it adds a watermark on output, limiting its appeal.

Installing WinPDF adds the Easy PDF Creator printer software to your Printers directory, and you can access it like your system's other real and virtual printers. You can access the program's PDF settings from its main interface, a simple dialog with nine buttons, or from the Printer Preferences dialog. Among its options are Page Setup, Fonts Embedding, Document Information, and Encryption, which includes a password-setting feature and security selections. We browsed to a document, a JPEG image of a pen-and-ink drawing surrounded by text. We right-clicked the image thumbnail, selected Print, and then clicked Options/Print Properties on the dialog to select our preferences. Clicking Print opened a Save As dialog with PDF selected as file type; we simply had to name the file and browse to a folder to save it. We clicked on the saved file, and it opened with Adobe Reader, our default PDF application. The image and text were as clear as any PDF file we've seen. Next we tried a color image and a printer test page, which also saved correctly. Unfortunately, WinPDF added a watermark to each in the form of a line of blue text advising us to buy the full Easy PDF Creator Program to remove it. This was a disappointment, but the watermark line is barely visible and didn't make any part of the document unreadable, so if you don't mind it, it's not too big a problem, considering it's a free PDF creator.

WinPDF is an interesting free tool that would be more useful if it didn't add a watermark to the files it creates. Still, if all you need is a simple utility to create PDFs that can be opened by other applications now and then, it's more than up to the task.

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