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pdf Factory  

Go to www.fineprint.com to get the program

So you want to create Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) files, but you don't want to spend the $250 to get the product. And anyway, you really don't need all the goodies that come in the Acrobat product (they are good, but if you don't need them...)? If this is the case, then consider getting pdf Factory or pdf Factory PRO from the people who gave you Fineprint. In case you're not familiar with the PDF format, it's a relatively secure file format that can be read by almost anyone. The Adobe Acrobat "reader" (the program that is used to display any PDF file) is available as a free download from Adobe (there are versions for Macintosh, Unix, and Windows). Unlike sending a Word document which can be modified, a PDF file is less likely to be modifiable by the recipient (because most people don't have Adobe Acrobat).

Like Fineprint, pdf Factory installs as a printer driver. This means that any job that can print output can be directed to print to pdf Factory and thereby produce an Acrobat PDF file. With pdf Factory, you can also do the following:

  • Collect multiple documents into a single PDF file. You just print to the pdf Factory printer and collect multiple jobs. This is a nice way to produce a single output document from multiple files. For example, you can print a Photoshop document as the first page, then print a Word document as your report, then print an Excel file with data to support the report, and follow that with a set of diagrams created by Illustrator or Visio. Once you have collected all the data in the order that you want, you produce/save the PDF file from the pdf Factory window. With pdf Factory, you now have one document that you can print, save, post on your website, or email to interested parties.
  • While you're combining multiple jobs, you can selectively delete pages that you don't want in the output.
  • You can automatically create a Table of Contents and bookmarks for your final output document. For example, if you print several jobs, each job can have a bookmark so that anyone reading your document can quickly jump to the desired spot in the PDF file.
  • With pdf Factory PRO, you can apply Security to the PDF document when you create it. This means that you can:
    • restrict people from viewing the file without entering a password that you supply,
    • keep anyone from copying text or graphics from the document
    • not allow anyone to print the document
    • keep people from changing the document (even if they have Adobe Acrobat).

This is useful for creating files to display on your website, or for creating documents (such as contracts, proposals, etc.) that you want to email to people but make sure that they cannot change.

Note that if you purchase Adobe Acrobat, it comes with a printer driver similar to pdf Factory.

There is one area where pdf Factory appears to be not quite as good as Adobe Acrobat: the files that it creates are somewhat larger than the same file created by Adobe Acrobat. So far, this has not been an issue for me.

And, as for Fineprint, the technical support is magnificent. Send an email to support@fineprint.com, and you'll almost always hear back in a couple of hours from one of the product's developers. They are a big help if you have any questions or problems.

Another great product from the FinePrint people!


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