Create PDF Documents out of any Windows Application

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 16, 2008
Updated • Nov 22, 2012

I regularly have to create pdf invoices which some companies seem to prefer over other forms of documents and I have been using doc to pdf online converters until now that convert the Microsoft .doc files into the Adobe .pdf documents. I have two major problems with this procedure however.

The first is that i have to upload my invoice to a website so that it can be processed and converted into the portable document format. This is a privacy issues, and I love my privacy as you all know. The second is that websites come and go and there is no telling if the website with the converter script will be there the next year.

I therefore decided to try some local solutions to create pdf documents without having to purchase Adobe Acrobat. WinPDF Writer is such a solution. It creates a virtual printer that creates pdf documents out of any text document that you create in Windows applications.

The free program ships with a set of settings that you can display from the start menu of the system. Here you can specify the default location that converted pdf documents should be saved in to, whether you want to view or email the pdf after the conversion, and if the print job name should be used to save the pdf file under the default folder automatically.

WinPDF supports a set of security settings which you can configure. Among them options to password protect the pdf document and to disable features such as printing, editing, copying, extracting or adding and changing of comments and form fields.

It's working flawlessly with Microsoft Office and I suppose it would work with other applications as well. I just have to select the virtual printer to create the pdf document.


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  1. Suan said on May 21, 2008 at 7:23 am

    I used PDF Creator for a long time too, but one day it just stopped working for me. Even the newest version does not work. Very disappointing…

  2. Dante said on February 17, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    @mule. That’s why I said for the illegit. I personally have my company pay for the copy. But Acrobat Pro is useful when you need to edit or interact with a pdf doc on occasions. And it’s not such a security risk if you have all your firewalls and anti-virus scans running properly.

  3. mule said on February 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Quote: “Dante says, February 17th, 2008

    Not bad. A very niffty program for the legit. For the illegit there’s always the free downloads of Adobe Acrobat Professional. They’ve even cracked the version 8 series for Vista already.”

    Acro 8 is complex, slow, POS (piece of sh*T), not to mention a fair security risk on your machine. In my experience, most people don’t need it. They just want to “print” to a pdf occasionallly.

    Plus, why not run something without the guilt ;)


  4. jojo said on February 17, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Welcome to 2008 Martin :)

    There are a bunch of free PDF converter apps out there. I used PDFCreator for a long time, but ran into a conflict between it and Truecrypt 4.x, where the PDF create process wouldn’t work on systems that had TrueCrypt 4.x installed.. I haven’t tested if the problem still exists with TrueCrypt 5.x. I also don’t like that PDFCreator hasn’t been updated in maybe 2 years. Unfortunately, this is a common problem with open source product.

    Right now I am using DoPDF and it seems to work OK. Microsoft also offers a plug-in for Office 2007 offering PDF saving capability.

  5. Dante said on February 17, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Not bad. A very niffty program for the legit. For the illegit there’s always the free downloads of Adobe Acrobat Professional. They’ve even cracked the version 8 series for Vista already.

  6. mule said on February 17, 2008 at 5:23 am

    I have had great sucess with doPDF (free). Very tiny and fast. Handles complex graphics output very well.

  7. Enrico said on February 17, 2008 at 2:41 am

    It’s the typical case in which someone in the crowd shouts “Get a Mac!” ;)
    PS: Apple put PDF creation as default in the print dialogue

  8. Jawwad said on February 17, 2008 at 12:25 am

    I will strongly recommend PDF Creator in this category because of the extensive feature set and also because of the optimized pdfs it creates. I have tried more than half a dozen solutions before settling on this one. Although some might also like Primo PDF which is a close second for me.

  9. cam said on February 16, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    PDFCreator for the win.

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