Steve D. – friend, client, and Nashville photographer specializing in sports photography (see Action Sports Photo) and nature photography (see Steven Dieringer Photography) – plans to create a colorful brochure to advertise his photography services, to be distributed to potential clients in person along with his business card.
A few years ago, Microsoft Publisher or similar programs might have been among the best choices for brochure creation – and perhaps it still is, depending on the specific features needed. If vector art was to grace the brochure, Adobe Illustrator would be a fine choice. But for a nice, clean, professional brochure requiring no fancy frills or artwork – just text and digital photography – the PDF format would be the obvious choice today.
Fortunately, there is plenty of PDF creation and/or conversion freeware from which to choose today.
Users of OpenOffice [ OpenOffice.org ] may not need PDF conversion utilities; all OpenOffice.org applications allow PDF export; supports also PDF/A-1a; since many import formats are supported (e.g., doc, docx, rtf, xls, ppt) conversion is also possible.
PrimoPDF by Nitro PDF Software
I am a big fan of PrimoPDF. I have been using PrimoPDF in my billing process for a few months now to automatically convert the invoices I create in Microsoft Excel to PDF format. It is so quick and easy, it blows my old method out of the water (I used to use an online tool to convert my MS Office files to PDFs). To convert an Excel (and many other) formatted file to a PDF, one merely drags the target file directly onto the PrimoPDF icon; seconds later, a nice PDF file is created in virtual printer fashion, with little to no wait.
As nicely as PrimoPDF performs its conversion-to-PDF function, that’s really about all PrimoPDF does. For those who need more functionality – features more like those of Adobe Acrobat – NitroPDF offers its Acrobat alternative, Nitro Pro 7 (formerly Nitro PDF Professional?) – which can combine multiple files into a single PDF, convert PDFs back into Word and other formats for repurposing, create PDFs more quickly, as well as edit, view, form-fill, annotate, scan, and more.
WinPDF offers an easy way of creating high-quality PDF documents out of almost any windows application. The software installs a PDF writer named “Easy PDF Creator” as if it were a real printer, making the creation of PDF files as easy as printing. Common documents can be converted to PDF files at an incredibly fast speed while retaining the look and feel of the original documents as well as many options that give users flexibility in PDF creation.
WinPDF looks impressive and is 100% free; however, I have not been able to determine whether it is certified spyware-free, and if that isn’t an explicit feature, I suspect that means the software quite possibly includes a bit of spyware or other malware. I might be willing to test it if need be, but I would run something like Spybot Search and Destroy [ download Spybot Search and Destroy from CNET ] immediately afterwards just to be safe.
PDFCreator: Negative reviews concerning spyware
This evening I was about to download PDFCreator, the open source project at SourceForge.net, but I decided to read a few reviews first. Well, I am glad I did; there were quite a few recent complaints from former users that were fans of older versions of PDFCreator. Apparently there have been some negative changes, but this doesn’t mean anything since I have never used the application. However, another review got my attention, and it was supported by comments from others: apparently the installation process is NOT spyware-free.
I no longer download freeware from sources that don’t certify the software as being spyware free – which is why I remain a big fan of CNET software downloads.
I have an immediate need to create quality ebooks, some of which will be offered free to subscribers, with others for sale at reasonable prices. Perhaps I’ll first experiment with creating the entire ebook in Word, then using PrimoPDF for the final conversion. If this doesn’t work, I suppose I‘ll soon research and document the simplest, quickest, and least expensive methods of ebook creation.
Resources: Freeware for creating PDFs
- CNET downloads
- Microsoft Publisher 2010 – Microsoft Publisher 2010 helps you create, personalize, and share a wide range of professional-quality publications and marketing materials with ease. With Publisher 2010, you can easily communicate your message in a variety of publication types, saving you time and money. Whether you are creating brochures, newsletters, postcards, greeting cards, or e-mail newsletters, you can deliver high-quality results without having graphic design experience.
- Adobe Illustrator – Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor developed and marketed by Adobe Systems. Illustrator is similar in scope, intended market, and functionality to its competitors, CorelDraw and Macromedia FreeHand
- Download Adobe Reader X
- Adobe Acrobat X – Adobe® Acrobat® X software lets you communicate easier, faster, and better with PDF. Increase your productivity by editing and reusing content, streamlining reviews, and quickly creating fillable PDF forms.
- OpenOffice.org – an open-source application suite whose main components are for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases; available for a number of different computer operating systems, is distributed as free software and is written using its own GUI toolkit; supports the ISO/IEC standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) for data interchange as its default file format, as well as Microsoft Office formats, among others
Originally written on Sunday, October 30, 2011
Major update, publishing on Sunday, November 20, 2011