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Old 12-31-2008, 03:30 PM   #1
dodger
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Need a recommendation for a PDF Converter

Hi. I'm an aspiring writer and using MS Word for much of my freelance writing. I've recently started shopping around for a PDF converter to I can convert some documents I have to PDF. Stuff like Word and text documents to PDF. I'd also like to convert some things from PDF back to Word.

I've found that there a TONS of PDF conversion programs out there. Reviews for these programs are quite sparse and often from many years past. I was wondering if anyone had any good recommendations on a PDF converter? I just want something where I can scan a PDF and the text be searchable. Having the PDF converter not take a long time to convert is also something that would be nice.

Edit:
Oh yeah, I'm also wanting to buy a scanner and scan some pages out of an old book into PDF format. I assume that the scanner software will have the software for that, correct?

Last edited by dodger; 12-31-2008 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:39 PM   #2
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Adobe Acrobat Professional 9 will do whatever you need. It's not free software, but try to consider it as part of the cost of doing business. Best of all, it's legal.

If you just want to make PDF's, from Word go to "print," choose PDF writer or something from your printers (there's always something), and "print." Dialog boxes will open up and ask you where to save the PDF document.
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:09 PM   #3
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Personally I like http://www.neevia.com/print_to_pdf/ to make PDF files out of Word. It is cheap and has macro support to generate a TOC from you document which many do not. For more serious work I use framemaker which has PDF support built in.

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Old 01-01-2009, 08:36 AM   #4
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Hi dodger

As you have discovered, there are lots of PDF creating software, and from free to the cost of a small car (joking but not so much so).

To create PDF’s from your documents and using office you have 2 fast options (both free):

1 - if you have office 2007 (and it just works for this version), get the Microsoft free plug-in to create PDF’s with office programs (go to the Microsoft site and search for “2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS”);

2 - get open office, it supports saving in PDF by default and you can even launch it from a USB pen or a any external media if you do not want to install it on your computer (you can get it to be launched that way in http://portableapps.com).

Concerning the scanner, yes almost all of today’s scanners have some software who permits the creation of PDF’s.
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:56 AM   #5
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Do you really need PDF? It's not really a nice format for books.
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:51 PM   #6
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Jey js, what alternatives would you suggest for book?
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:54 PM   #7
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I like Nitro PDF Professional. It is not free and it does takes a bit of time to feel comfortable with it. They do provide excellent support. Only free for a short period but they are very quick to respond. I have used it to convert Word to PDF. I create the TOC in Word and then create the links in Nitro. I am not an expert on PDF conversion programs but I do believe this one is worth checking out if you don't mind paying for the program.
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:23 PM   #8
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Nitro PDF Professional

I have the Nitro PDF Professional and experience loads of problems. The first issue i had to return to Office Max and they gave me the 6.0 version due to so many issues with the first they were actually pulled off of the shelf. The program freezes up, it reverts to foreign language on it's own, stops responding when you want it to open, and in order to kick start it again you must restart your computer. I have installed it on 2 computer's and it does the very same thing on both. The support is non existent and try and look for a number...ya right! Good luck. Don't waste your money , and if anyone says it's a good program they probably work for them...don't listen.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:09 AM   #9
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Cutepdf works really well and it's free
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDHarriman View Post
2 - get open office, it supports saving in PDF by default and you can even launch it from a USB pen or a any external media if you do not want to install it on your computer (you can get it to be launched that way in http://portableapps.com).
+1 recommendations for this one.

Also allows you to open word documents, AND will transfer correctly to PDF any internal hyperlinks, like cross-references and footnotes.

However, there is the 'PDF isn't an ideal ebook format' point to consider, too. It's good for PCs, not very good for ebook reader devices.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:55 PM   #11
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It really flabbergasts me what people are willing to pay for.

If you want a virtual printer that allows you to print-to-pdf, there's a completely free (and I mean free, not limited shareware or nagware), completely open source option called pdfcreator:
http://pdfforge.org/
(Linux users have other options, including cupspdf, etc.)

As noted, you can export directly to PDF in any recent version of Word, or in the free and open source OpenOffice.

Converting "back" from PDF to Word does not work well with any tool I've tried, but calibre is probably as good as most options.

But really... why save your documents in a proprietary format like Word, making you reliant on Microsoft? Do you really want to set yourself up for a lifetime of paying for their upgrades... when their product is not really all that good? Use some kind of open format.

And if you want really nice typography, I highly recommend that you dump all word processors completely, and switch to something like LaTeX.
"The Beauty of LaTeX"

Quote:
However, there is the 'PDF isn't an ideal ebook format' point to consider, too. It's good for PCs, not very good for ebook reader devices.
PDF is in my opinion far and away the best ebook format, so long as the PDF was actually made for your device. PDF's bad reputation comes from people trying to read PDFs that were not made for their devices. There is no way to get decent typography like kerning, ligatures, end of line hyphenation, full font choice, vector graphics, etc., with any other format.

Last edited by frabjous; 01-15-2010 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:41 AM   #12
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And if you want really nice typography, I highly recommend that you dump all word processors completely, and switch to something like LaTeX.
"The Beauty of LaTeX"



PDF is in my opinion far and away the best ebook format, so long as the PDF was actually made for your device. PDF's bad reputation comes from people trying to read PDFs that were not made for their devices. There is no way to get decent typography like kerning, ligatures, end of line hyphenation, full font choice, vector graphics, etc., with any other format.
The problem with LaTex is the learning curve. I've been trying to figure it out last month (I have worked with it ages ago, for some school assignments, it's perfect if you need mathematical symbols...), but I just can't seem to get "into it" anymore...
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:14 PM   #13
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It does have a steep learning curve at first, but it's worth it... at least if you want to regularly produce quality output. And the support for math and other technical fields is unparalleled.

If there's any particular questions you have about it, or things you want to know how to do, let me know, or ask over at the latex-community.org forms.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:53 AM   #14
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I've installed MikTex and TeXnicCenter. And I made a nice "Hello World" PDF. But it shows a nice A5-sized piece of text in a A4 sized PDF page...

Maybe it would be nice if there was a short "how-to" on how to make a (simple) ebook from scratch. All documentation I could found was geared toward thesises. And those are all printed on A4 format.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:18 AM   #15
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I've installed MikTex and TeXnicCenter. And I made a nice "Hello World" PDF. But it shows a nice A5-sized piece of text in a A4 sized PDF page...

Maybe it would be nice if there was a short "how-to" on how to make a (simple) ebook from scratch. All documentation I could found was geared toward thesises. And those are all printed on A4 format.
Yeah, default margins suck for ebooks. I'd recommend using the memoir class (instead of the standard book, report, article...) and reading its excellent manual. Or, at a minimum, use the geometry package thus:

Code:
\usepackage[papersize={9cm,12cm},margin=2mm]{geometry}
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