#177: PDF-apalooza

One the most frequent questions I get are ones about is PDF documents. I’ve covered this topic before but it’s been quite awhile ago and I thought it might be about time to revisit it again.

PDF Viewers:
Adobe Reader is the “official” software for viewing PDF files but it has become bloated and vulnerable to malware attacks over the years. It gave me quite a bit of trouble and was VERY SLOW when it did work. If you’re interested in exploring an alternative, here are some free options that are much faster and have worked well for me.

»  PDF-XChange Viewer
This is what I’m currently using. It loads fast and also has some editing features in addition to reading PDF files.

»  Foxit PDF Reader
This is a popular, lightweight, and fast PDF viewer for that I have used and really like.

»  CoolPDF Reader
This one is freeware that claims to be the smallest PDF reader available, at only 650kb. It can also convert PDF files to many different formats such as TXT, GIF, JPG and more.

Tools for Creating PDF Files

There are many more options for creating PDFs these days including the newer versions of Office, Google Docs, etc. However, if you don’t have access to one of these or if you just need a free and useful standalone option you should consider one of the following alternatives.

»  PDF Creator
PDF Create my current favorite for creating PDF files. It also has some abilities for converting them to other usable formats as well.

»  PrimoPDF
This is a popular option that I’ve used successfully.  It is one that installs a “printer” that you send your document to and instead of being sent to the printer the document is “printed” to a pdf file on your computer.

»  CutePDF Writer
Cute PDF Writer installs a PDF printer that you send documents to in order to create them as PDF files. This one is also an official “AEP  approved” option.

PDF to Word Conversion:

Of all the PDF questions I get, by far the most common one is “How can I convert my PDF document to Word so that I can edit it?”  The best option is always to get the original source document. After all, one of the main points of creating a PDF document in the first place is so that it won’t be edited.  That being said, there are definitely occasions where it is helpful to be able to do this and here are some good options.

»  Nuance PDF Reader
This tool will upload your PDF and then email you a converted Microsoft Word document. It works really well but be aware that you’re uploading your document to the internt which you may or may not want to do.  I’ve had really good luck using Nuance with some fairly complex documents.

»  HelloPDF
This one is a stand-alone option that will convert your PDF to Word Doc without requiring you to upload anything nor that you have Adobe Acrobat Reader or Microsoft Word installed!

What do you use to work with PDF documents? What PDF challenges are you still trying to solve?

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