PDFs: A Love Hate Relation

PDFs have, to a large extent, replaced the fax today for sending documents electronically. They are generally cheaper, easier to send, and offer better quality. However, they can also sometimes be a pain to work with. But there are some tools available at little or no cost that can make life easier.

Editing Un-editable PDFs

It has happen to you, you get an email or go online and you find there is a PDF form that you need to fill out. Only one problem, the PDF is not an editable form or it is a form that you can’t save with your information added. You have to print it out, fill it in by hand, and then scan it back in in the first case. For the second case, if you want to save the form as filed out, you have to print it out and if you need to change something, well, you have to start over if you closed the file. There are several on line tools available to help you out. My favorite is PDFescape, a PDF editor and form filler that is free to use if you don’t mind ads or ad free is you subscribe, currently $10 (USD), for a lifetime membership. If you don’t want to pay you can still register and they will save your documents online for two weeks.

Creating a PDF from any Printable Document or Image

Most of newer word processors have built in PDF generation but not all. But, what about the image, spreadsheet, or WEB page you want as a PDF. I use PDF995 which in stalls as a printer and generates PDFs instead of paper copies. Like PDFescape, PDF995 is free to use if you don’t mind ads or you can get purchase a lifetime registration and avoid the ads. They offer an whole suite of tools you can use and the registration cost is slightly different depending on your choices.

Use Your Newer Multi-Purpose Printer

Almost all scanners or printer/scanners these days can scan to a PDF. This includes the inexpensive inkjet printers you can buy. If you have one of those and hardcopies, all you have to do scan the document and specify PDF as the output. Personally, I use both a printer/scanner and PDF995 depending on whether or not I have a hard copy.

Do you have any favorites that you like use? If so, post you information here so we can share it.