Free PDF Creator for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 25, 2013
Updated • Jan 25, 2013

I do not really print that much anymore on paper, only the occasional contract that I have to sign or other legal documents that I'm required to sign and process. Other than that, I prefer to keep the printer spooler service and printer disabled. Using a virtual printer to convert documents into pdf format on the other hand can be an excellent way to do just that.  The main reasons for doing so are convenience, as you can send documents and information straight from any Windows program supporting print to the virtual printer to convert it and functionality as good solutions offer lots of customization options.

Free PDF Creator is a free (who would have thought that?) virtual printer solution for Windows that comes without time limits or other restrictions such as the number of uses.

Note that the Print Spooler service needs to have been started on the system before you install the pdf converter as the creation of the virtual printer will fail otherwise.

You can skip registration during setup as well as it is not mandatory to use the software.

First thing you may want to do after you have installed the program is to run the settings from the start menu. Here you can define the following output parameters:

  • Output quality - Set to web ready by default which you can change to print, pre-press or custom quality here.
  • Document properties - Document meta data such as the author, subject, keywords or titles which are used for all pdf documents created with the help of the program.
  • Security - Here you can set a password to open the document and define document changing rights for users including printing and making changes to it.
  • Post processing - If you want the pdf to be post-processed.

free pdf creator screenshot

The program displays ads in the settings menu and also under PDF Editing Options which lead to web pages of commercial programs that allow you to edit pdf documents.


The option to add security and output quality options to converted pdf documents is surely an interesting one. While it is not the only program to offer that option, Free PDF Creator makes the features dead easy to use.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Shawn said on December 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Ok here’s a few tricks to get some info and removing some crap.

    In google search (Ghack’s arch enemy =P ) pdf writer

    Here’s what I use when I want to remove thoses soft… crap

    Now if someone could build a filter for removing anything that is crap in my book as a search now theres a plug-in worth paying for.

  2. Ken Saunders said on December 8, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Bet you never thought that you’d get a comment nearly 2 years later. :)
    On my old hard drive, I used cutepdf but I wanted something different now that didn’t require additional installs. This is perfect.

    For what it’s worth, I entered Solid PDF Writer + ghacks and this page was listed on both Yahoo and Google. Google and Bing usually have similar results for some basic searches but you probably knew that.
    I think that I’ll look into creating a search plugin for your site.
    It will save me some time in the future.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Well both search engines seem to favor pages such as containing virtually no information at all about the product.

      Softonic has so many subdomains in the results for the same search term it is frightening.

      If you ask me, the results are bad, really bad. First, the developer page should be number one always for a product search. I think that should not be visible in the search results ever as it is clearly abusing the system, and the quality of most download portals which are always prominent is often very weak when it comes to the review itself.

      I’m not saying make my site number one or two for all queries. Just look at the results and try to make them better, please.

  3. Ken Saunders said on January 30, 2013 at 9:52 am

    “Any software which asks (if we are lucky) to install a toolbar with a search engine, or any other software most likely contains spyware”

    CCleaner, Avast, and many others offer 3rd party installs as a potential revenue source.
    I hate it when software companies do it, but doesn’t mean that they contain spyware. Crapware, sure.

    I mention what I use in the comments as a way to just offer alternatives very much the same way that you do Martin with your articles.
    Sometimes I look into what others use and may adopt it myself, like img2tab for example.
    For PDF creation, I use Solid PDF Creator (free). It offers security features though I’ve never used them. It’s dead simple to use.

    To view PDF’s, I’m starting to use Firefox’s built in one by simply hitting Ctrl+ O and it’s pretty fast, but even better and faster is Sumatra PDF (portable).

  4. Bart Degryse said on January 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I’ll stick to Bullzip PDF Printer. Also free and it doesn’t try to install unwanted software. I’ve been using it for years (+- 10) without a single problem. Back then I chose it because I needed to create PDFs from MS Access VBA. With Bullzip that was a piece of cake as it exposes its interface to VBA and has excellent documentation on how to use that.

  5. Shawn said on January 28, 2013 at 12:47 am


    pdfforge major strength is that you can save not only in pdf format but many others and you can set the resolution of the final product to maximize a program that would normaly give you poor resolution of printing.

    FreePDFCreator is similar to pdfforge however there are much less options to setup with. (They do offer try it free but why try it free when pdfforge has it already for no extra charge) Check the faq: you’ll see that the screenshots indicate to trial functions.

  6. commoner said on January 27, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    What is the difference between FreePDFCreator and PDFCreator (pdfforge)?

  7. Blue.bsod said on January 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Any software which asks (if we are lucky) to install a toolbar with a search engine, or any other software most likely contains spyware. I’ve used PDFCreator on three machines, one with McAfee’s, and two with Norton’s. None have been flagged, and as I recall the program did ask me if it could install 3rd party software and change my search engine and home page. I declined.

    Always select CUSTOM install options if any. Those of you bitching about spyware, read the fine print prior to pressing, Okay on auto install. You agreed to it, so why you complaining that you didn’t know? Of the percentage of programs that asks for permission prior to installing 3rd party programs, I’d have to say it’s 50/50 who honour that agreement and not actually install anything via ghostscript and they were good to their word.

    Besides the software firewall, I have a hardware one and there has been no flags since installing PDF Creator. The best part it isn’t a separate program to launch; we simply select print document from within ANY program and select it as the output device. We can even edit, add, delete the result PDF document it creates via the PDF Architecture program it includes with the installation.

    As for quoting Wiki: come on really… The source of Wiki is not a proven source basically any Joe-Blow who registers there can alter, edit, add and delete the info, I’ve done it myself. Like PDF Creator, Wikipedia it is an open source project. Anyone blindly clicking, “Okay”, and not reading the fine print get what they deserve in my opinion. Just because you read it on the internet, doesn’t make it true.

  8. Pete said on January 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I have used CutePDF Writer for years is the Free PDF Creator any better?

  9. Pablo said on January 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Martin, a couple of questions:
    – Does this program requiere GhostScript? Is GhostScript silently installed when you install this program?
    – How does this program compare, feature-wise, with the two best free PDF writer program currently available: Bullzip PDF Printer ( and PDF24 PDF Creator (

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Pablo yes it installs Ghostscript during installation.

  10. Shawn said on January 26, 2013 at 2:44 am

    I just decline the opencandy and using Universal Silent Switch Finder on most programs like theses the /nocandy switch should work fine.

    There’s no software that’s perfect… as long as people read what on the screens they should be fine.

    Ad for those who might of accepted the SaveByClick here’s the clean up method.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Are you saying that the program has installed Save by Click? I just checked and it is not installed on my system, I would have made a reference to it if I knew that.

      1. Shawn said on January 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm

        Hi Martin,

        The savebyclick was mentioned due to my software recommendation… I’m so used to install software and bypass the crapware I had forgotten about the savebyclick option in my pdfcreator version.

  11. xetal said on January 26, 2013 at 2:11 am

    seems that the spyware claim is truth in some aspects, at least was …

  12. Claude LaFrenière said on January 26, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Hi :)

    First this is not a spyware according to VirusTotal:

    Two: to complete the installation the PC must be rebooted.

    Works well as far as I know. :)

  13. TheRube said on January 26, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Mr. Brinkmann:

    I agree with omas to a degree.

    I did try out pdfcreator some time ago BUT (as best as I can recall) I found the software to be a bit Buggy!

    As Alternatives, doPDF is excellent and so is nitroreader!


  14. omas said on January 26, 2013 at 1:26 am

    pdfcreator is spyware

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 26, 2013 at 1:30 am

      In what regard?

  15. Shawn said on January 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I”ve always used pdf creator at

    This tool does pdf but also other filetypes which is nice and intergrates with any program.

    But hey as long as the program does the job whatever works and is fast on my system is a keeper for me.

    And heck FREE is always the best price ;-)

  16. Nebulus said on January 25, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    For printing to PDF I use doPDF v7. It is enough for what I need; Free PDF Creator has more features, so it is a nice find. Thanks!

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