Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Cool tool: Free PDF generators


Printing reference material is a waste of paper and space so I save useful articles I find on the internet in my own digital knowledge base. With decent backups I am sure I don't loose my “papers“. Printed copies have a tendency to accumulate over the months before I throw most of them away to gain some space. I have tried different formats during the years:

  • Save as single file (.mht) file in Internet Explorer

  • Print with the Microsoft Office Document Image Writer.

  • PDF

In the past I mainly used the Microsoft Office Document Image Writer. It is fast, free and already installed on my computer as it is included in Microsoft Office 2003. Both the Document Image Writer and the MHT file have one big problem: there are no readers for the Pocket PC or other platforms. This is a major issue for me as I want to synchronize important documents like ticket reservations with my Pocket PC instead of bringing along tons of paper.

Finding a PDF solution

The only multi platform option is PDF. Adobe Acrobat costs too much for my use so I have evaluated two free solutions for creating PDFs:

Both solutions install a new printer on your PC so creating PDFs is a snap. No external converters. Just print your document the new printer, specify a file name and you are done.

The PDF995 and CutePDF printers do not go in conflict so I could try them both at the same time. The evaluation went a lot quicker than expected as there are virtually no differences. I suspect they use the same PDF rendering engine as the output of both programs are pretty much identical. The only real difference between the two programs is that PDF995 brings up a couple of Internet Explorer windows with sponsored links.

After using PDF995, and tolerating its sponsored links for a year, I have moved to CutePDF and never look back.


  1. My first impression is very good. It generates smaller files than CutePDF and it has a lot more options.

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. Is there anything that will create PDF Files on Pocket PC?

  3. What exactly do you want to do? Do you have to generate PDF files locally on the Pocket PC or is a web or e-mail solution acceptable?

    I do not know of any solutions that can generate PDF files on the Pocket PC but there are web and mail based options if you have internet access on the PPC.