Saturday, October 08, 2005


I just learned that goBCL is now PDF, a service that will convert virtually any file you upload into .pdf format and e-mail you the results, in about one minute, all for free (file size limit is 2 MG, output res is 100 dpi, suitable for online viewing.)

For years I've been recommending goBCL to people who need to make .pdf files for their web sites but can't afford the pricey software. I tested the new version last night, and it's the same as it was before, maybe a little faster. If you'd like to see the results, here's my test document, a .pdf version of my short story Red Branch.

Some freeware .pdf maker programs I've found online -- but have not personally tested out* -- that may also prove helpful:

PDF Factory (free trial version prints a small banner on each page.)
PDF Machine

*Always read the small print and test out freeware carefully. I always back up everything before I download freeware, just in case it comes with a bug that wants to eat my hard drive.


  1. Just a quick comment - if you download and install the free OpenOffice suite you'll discover it has 'export to PDF' built into the word processor, spreadsheet, presentation & drawing progs.
    I've been using it instead of MS Office for at least 2 years now, and each app loads the equivalent Office file (e.g. Openoffice writer loads DOC files, Calc loads XLS files)
    It runs on Windows & Linux, and there's also a beta release for OS/X.

  2. Anonymous12:38 AM

    Simon, you are my free software demi-god now. Thanks for the link and info. :)

  3. Is that a nice way of saying I'm a cheapskate? ;-))


  4. If you have a Mac running OS X, you can create a PDF from any printable file. Just choose "print to PDF" in the print dialog.

  5. Anonymous11:01 AM

    I can vouch for PDF995. I use it all the time, and it gets the job done.

  6. OpenOffice is my software of choice. The only time I ever use MS Word at work is when I have to send a document to my boss, and even then I usually do it up in OO, then save as a Word file and open it up in Word to make sure it looks OK.

    Just my 2¢.

  7. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I'm with fledchan... I love the easy to PDF feature on my Mac. Couple of clicks, and I'm done. I only have the full version of Acrobat because we password protect and disable copy/print functions on PDFs at work... OSX is much faster!

  8. Oh, so that's why Microsoft's next Office Upgrade has the "make a PDF" feature included. Gotta keep up with Apple!! (latest news report direct from Silicon Valley. lol) Thanks for the tips, everyone. :)


  9. To be fair, Microsoft also has to contend with screams about anti-competitive behaviour whenever they include a new feature previously offered by other companies. E.g. CD burning software, home movie editing, firewall, web browser.
    I'm no Microsoft apologist, but it might be the reason it's taken them years to add PDF export support.

  10. Anonymous8:23 AM

    The previous comment was SPAM, thus destined to be deleted.

  11. Anonymous5:28 AM

    I used pdf Maker for a little while but can't recommend it. For some unknown reason it would shrink the lower margin in a way that made the page numbers disappear when I was printing the pages. It also messed up one really expensive MS printout. I deleted it right after.



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