The best freeware virtual PDF printer: a comparison

PDF Virtual printers are a convenient way of creating PDF files. These programs can save any kind of printable document as a PDF file; all you need to do is to select ‘print’ from your favorite program, then select the virtual PDF printer and get a PDF file.

PDF Virtual Printer Comparison

There are many excellent free virtual printers. We have tested 15 of these and selected 10 of them to evaluate and compare. These (in alphabetic order) are: Bullzip PDF Printer, doPDF, Doro PDF Writer, PDF Printer (PdfSvg), PDF reDirect, PDF24 Creator, PDFCreator, Perfect PDF 7 Master, Print2PDF Free and qvPDF.

The virtual printers that we tried but decided to exclude from the comparison were Bolt PDF Printer, CutePDF Writer, ImagePrinter, pdf995, PDFlite and Primo PDF, mainly because they were inferior by functionality, configurability, or ease of use. Some (e.g. Primo PDF and CutePDF) were removed from the list for privacy considerations as they contain adware/spyware components.

[Note: this post was written by Freewaregenius contributor Priit L.] Last update: 6/21/2011.

PDF is one of the most widespread formats for document exchange on the internet. PDF (Portable Document Format) was once an Adobe proprietary format but was accepted in 2008 by ISO as an open standard. Everybody can create PDF files and there are hundreds of programs available capable of doing that. Many document editors can save PDF, and there are programs that convert documents like Microsoft Office DOC, DOCX, XLS etc to PDF, as well as a number of online converters are available to do this job. However, virtual PDF printers have emerged as one of the most reliable (and common) solutions for creating PDF documents. This post aims to evaluate the various freeware options out there and identify the best.

PDF printers can differ in functionality; however, we have identified some of the essential features as follows:

  • The user interface: varied greatly, from no user interface at all to complex interfaces cluttered with configuration options. We came to the conclusion that a good interface needs to be as simple as possible for inexperienced users while offering some flexibility.
  • Quality settings: ability to create lightweight files for web upload or big files for high quality printout;
  • Watermarking and stamping: add Your identification watermark or stamp like ‘sample’ or ‘top secret’;
  • Encryption and passwords: protect Your document by encrypting it and require password in order to open or change it;
  • Print aggregation: ability to merge several documents into one PDF file.

Some programs offer additional functionality like:

  • Output other file formats beside PDF: convert whatever document or web page to JPEG/TIFF/etc image;
  • Append another PDF file as background image;
  • Rotate the output image;
  • Digitally sign PDFs;
  • E-mail: send the created PDF by opening an e-mail program or even use a built-in SMTP client to send the file.

Of course, different people need different functionality so the division between ‘essential’ and ‘optional’ can be argued about.

The comparison: introduction and user interface

In this section we introduce the various PDF printers and address the user interface.

#1: Bullzip PDF Printer

Bullzip PDF Printer

  • The interface: Easy interface. Configuration sets can be saved.
  • Score for interface: 5/5

#2: doPDF

doPDF doPDF-Printing Preferences

  • The interface: Simple interface with novaPDF ads and minimal settings. Printer Preferences (right) let to change DPI settings.
  • Score for interface: 3/5

#3: Doro PDF Writer

DoroDoro-page2

  • The interface: Very simple and intuitive interface.
  • Score for interface: 5/5

#4: PDF Printer (PdfSvg)

PDFSVG

  • The interface: Simplistic interface with preview.
  • Score for interface: 5/5

#5: PDF reDirect

PDF reDirect PDF reDirect-pref-general

  • The interface: Main page too complex (cluttered) for beginners. Preferences (right) have sufficient number of configuration options.
  • Score for interface: 4/5

#6: PDF24 Creator

PDF24 PDF24-save-as

  • The interface: Balanced interface with enough basic options. ‘Save as’ selection (right) includes huge possibilities to configure.
  • Score for interface: 5/5

#7: PDFCreator

PDFCreator PDFCreator-options

  • The interface: Simple interface, with complex configuration hidden under Options button, a bit dull :). Configurable Options are a bit cluttered.
  • Score for interface: 5/5

#8: Perfect PDF 7 Master

Perfect PDF 7 Master Perfect PDF 7 Master-PDF settings

  • The interface: Simple and essential main interface. Settings are available under ‘PDF settings’ button.
  • Score for interface: 4.5/5

#9: Print2PDF Free

Print2PDF Free Print2PDF Free-more options

  • The interface: Simple for beginners, can be expanded several times for advanced configuration (‘More >>>’). On the right screenshot the fully expanded interface with quality options is shown.
  • Score for interface: 5/5 *** Editor’s favorite interface ***

#10: qvPDF

qvPDF qvPDF-configuration

  • The interface: Simple interface. The configuration module (right) is accessible through Start Menu. Additional configuration is available through Printer preferences/Advanced (some in German).
  • Score for interface: 3/5

Essential functions and settings

Here is evaluated the list of functions and settings that are mostly common to virtual PDF printers:

Name Quality settings configurable Print aggregations (append to existing file) Watermarking; stamping Encryption; password protection
Bullzip PDF Printer Yes: screen; printer; ebook; prepress Yes Watermarking Yes
doPDF Yes: Small size; High Quality Images. DPI settings can be set manually via Printer Properties - - -
Doro PDF Writer - - - Yes; master/limited access
PDF Printer (PDFSVG) - - Watermarking: No -
PDF reDirect Yes: High; very good; good; low Yes Watermarking: No Yes
PDF24 Creator Yes: low/medium/good/best No (Editor included allows to merge existing PDF-s) Watermarking: No Yes
PDFCreator Yes: screen; printer; ebook; pre-press; custom Yes Watermarking (needs corresponding script) Yes
Perfect PDF 7 Master - - - Yes
Print2PDF Free Yes: High quality print; Smallest file size; manual settings Yes Watermarking and stamping Yes
qvPDF Yes. From printer preferences/Advanced. Yes; append; prepend Watermarking and stamping; from PDF file Yes


Other interesting functions

Here is evaluated the list of functions that are a bit less common to virtual PDF printers:

Name Output file formats Digital signature Other features
Bullzip PDF Printer PDF (PDF/A); PS; EPS; BMP; JPEG; PCX; PNG; TIFF No Append background or foreground layer to the printout

Append if output file exist

Open destination folder after completion
doPDF PDF only No
Doro PDF Writer PDF only No
PDF Printer (PDFSVG) PDF only No Preview of output
PDF reDirect PDF only No Output preview. Options to change viewer's behavior: Windowed/Fullscreen; Hide toolbars etc

Rotate Output
PDF24 Creator PDF (PDF/A; PDF/X); PS/EPS; PCL; PNG; JPEG; BMP; PCX; TIFF; PSD Yes Email PDF. Merge and split; extract pages in PDF24 Editor. Support for PDF/A; PDF/X.
PDFCreator PDF; PNG; JPG; TIFF; BMP; PCX; PS; EPS Yes Autosave – save all PDFs to a certain folder with increasing file name

Send e-mail
Perfect PDF 7 Master PDF only No Options to determine viewer's behavior: Windowed/Fullscreen; Hide toolbars etc
Print2PDF Free PDF (PDF/A; PDF/X) Yes Presets: Confidential/High quality print/Smallest file size/Standard

Add timestamp to PDF. Add file attachment to PDF. Merge PDF-s. Send e-mail by integrated SMTP client.

Rotate; web view etc.
qvPDF PDF only


Licencing and technical details

At last here is the information about licencing and some technical details like 64-bit Windows support and GhostScript requirements. (Note: GhostScript (GS) is a common development tool that is used as a part of PDF conversion process, some virtual PDF printers contain this software or need it to be downloaded and installed separately.)

Name License Free of ads; popups; sponsor software 64-bit support GhostScript needed
Bullzip PDF Printer Free for personal or commercial up to 10 users Yes Yes Yes; GS Lite is included in the installer
doPDF Free for personal and commercial use No. Almost half of the main interface is under NovaPDF ad. Yes No
Doro PDF Writer Free for personal and commercial use Yes Yes? Insufficient information Yes; installs its own GS
PDF Printer (PDFSVG) Free for personal and commercial use Yes Not sure; insufficient documentation Yes; included in the installer
PDF reDirect Free for personal and commercial use Yes Yes Yes; included in the installer
PDF24 Creator Free for personal and commercial use Yes Yes Yes; included in the installer
PDFCreator Free for personal and commercial use Yes. The installer includes Pdfforge Toolbar; but this is optional. Yes Yes; included in the installer
Perfect PDF 7 Master Free for personal use. Contact the authors for commercial use. Yes Yes No
Print2PDF Free Free for personal and commercial use Yes Yes No
qvPDF Free for personal and commercial use Yes Yes Yes; included in the installer


Conclusion

Putting it all together – here are the overall scores for the evaluated virtual PDF printers:

Name Strengths Weaknesses Rating
Bullzip PDF Printer Excellent functionality Interface a bit dull :) 41399
doPDF Small installer size; no need of GhostScript or .NET Only very basic functionality. Interface contains ads. 3.5/5
Doro PDF Writer Simple and intuitive interface Mediocre functionality 3.5/5
PDF Printer (PDFSVG) Simple interface with preview No configurable options at all. Help is not working; no FAQ; forum or additional info. 41338
PDF reDirect Good functionality The main interface is a bit cluttered; some options could be hidden. 41369
PDF24 Creator Powerful functions; easy interface - 5/5 *** Editor's choice! ***
PDFCreator Rich functionality A bit dull interface :) 41399
Perfect PDF 7 Master Simple and fast Mediocre functionality. Needs registration. Needs to unpack several files to a folder before setup. Needs restart after installation. 41369
Print2PDF Free Excellent interface and functionality. Excellent help and support Maybe missing JPEG/TIFF image file output? 41399
qvPDF Good functionality. Development is shutting down. Configuration is cluttered. 3.5/5

There are several excellent virtual PDF printers that offer good functionality and have a balanced interface – simple intuitive basic interface and complex settings hidden from beginner or casual computer user. Four PDF printers got 5/5 and choosing between them was a bit difficult.

  • The editors choice is PDF24 Creator.
  • Almost equal candidates are PDFCreator and Bullzip PDF Printer (although the latter is only free for commercial use for up to 10 users).
  • Print2PDF Free had what we thought was the best interface, although it did not offer output to image formats (download link above).

 
 
 
Priit

Priit

Estonia's 2nd most famous export after Skype. Writes for Freewaregenius when he's not trekking the world and visiting exotic locations such as Nepal, Sinai, and Jordan.
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  • Argo229

    FYI: PrimoPDF ships with an spy/adware component called OpenCandy.

    The creators of OpenCandy insist that it’s not spyware or adware. And they say this despite the fact it scans your hard drive to see what software you already have installed. And then bases its choice of ads (OpenCandy insists theyre only “recommendations” and not ads) on what it finds. It does all this without giving you the option to opt out of it installing itself, scanning your machine – and sending its findings back to OpenCandy’s servers.

    Gizmo Richards over at techsupportalert.com wrote a highly critical article about OpenCandy and how it works.

  • stevieg21

    Very thorough and helpful review. Thanks. ;-)

  • CptSplint

    Thank you for the test but I was wondering why DoPDF is not listed here. I use this program since years and it’s small, fast and reliably.

    If you want to take a look: http://www.dopdf.com/

    The Program also works perfect with Windows 7 x64.

    Regards,
    CptSplint

  • Suman

    Cute PDFWriter is also a good one with simple interface.

  • Sparky

    For me, the requirement to use and support Ghostscript by 8 of the 10 packages listed is a non-starter and should have eliminated most of the entries in this ‘review’. Their dependence on Ghostscript tells me that the 8 packages in question aren’t much more than GUI/script/wrappers around the standard Ghostscript package and therefore wholly dependent on the GS organization for maintenance and feature adds.

    The exclusion of doPDF and one or two others from this review is another sign that the review wasn’t researched or executed very well.

    Nice effort, needs revision.

  • Bob

    PDFCreator is GNU license, therefore is complete free for personal and business use. See the License section of http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

  • http://dan.hersam.com/ dan

    +1 for http://www.dopdf.com/

    After doing my own comparison several years ago, I found doPDF to be the best option. I’ve been using it ever since on all of my machines and it still works great.

  • Samer

    NOTE: we updated the post on 6/21/2011 to reflect some of the feedback.

    @ Argo229: We took PrimoPDF out of the list because of adware/Opencandy as mentioned. Thanks for letting us know.

    @ Dan, CptSplint: we added doPDF to the list, in lieu of Primo. Lots of people, apparently, like doPDF, but we weren’t at all impressed with the free version of doPDF. Our verdict / top4 remains unchanged.

    @ Suman: CutePDF didn’t impress us and didn’t even make the list that we wanted to compare, but we also learned that it too features OpenCandy, according to Wikipedia.

    @ Bob: we list PDFCreator as free for personal and business use. There was never an issue about that.

  • stephen

    Just looked at the licence of PDF24 and though it is free for business the license does say that it is only valid for 6 months from the date of the installation unless no new updates have been released in that time.

    this could be a headache to companies if they had to update all instances every 6 months on 1000+ machines.

  • Larry

    One feature that none of the tools reviewed seem to have is the ability to convert a Word document to a PDF and keep the bookmarks/hyperlinks working in the PDF.
    I have found that Microsoft’s free Save as PDF plug-in (used with Office 2007) does have this feature. It’s a nice complement to the generic PDF converters.

    Also, I’ve used CutePDF for years and like it. But, I have never chosen to install the optional toolbar and other add-ons that are components that contain Opencandy.

  • jimmy

    I didn’t see anything about size and speed

    I use PDF printers mostly to store articles and receipts off the ‘net. I don’t expect that much can be done with graphics, but text-oriented documents shouldn’t take up a whole lot of space, especially compared to their HTML versions.

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  • Tamy

    What do you think about PDF-XChange Lite (from http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-lite). It can conveniently create Adobe compatible PDF files from any Windows application software. I often use this printer and it’s works very good. It must be too in you list.))

  • Tamy

    What do you think about PDF-XChange Lite? It can conveniently create Adobe compatible PDF files from any Windows application software. It does all that others do. I often use this printer and it’s works very good. It must be too in you list.))

  • Paul

    I am missing FreePDF which I install on all my computers. It’s very simple with very small memory consumption and does just what it says very dummy friendly.
    http://freepdfxp.de/

  • Stephen

    Check out PDFill. In addition to printing to PDF it will print to image, JPG, TIF, etc.

  • http://www.tohodo.com/ Tom

    I don’t understand how PDF24 scores higher than Bullzip when it’s missing two features in the “Essential functions and settings” table that Bullzip has.

  • Mac

    Took some work to find Print2PDF free. It’s 30d trial and then 300 bucks off Cnet. Softpedia has a free (forever) version. I’ll give it a go. Only need it today and then for future ref. Man what a chore finding appls. Thank you guys for this good site and comparison! Saved me.

  • george

    tried to print a 85-pages .doc with Editor’s choice PDF24 Creator and gives error.
    Printing easy same document with primoPDF

  • Yankie

    We vote for Print2PDF Free, actually best features in 100% free PDF printer. You can use commercial edition on the server and distribute free version to users not connected to your network but using SecuStamp TSA service – so everyone can create credible digital documents.

  • http://www.binarynow.co,m Pete C

    We use commercial version of Print2PDF 9.1 (not FREE one) in our company. We started with free version but later we moved to paid one since we needed PDF/A support, We never had any serious trouble with it so I would highy recommend it for any commercial use. We got it from:
    http://www.binarynow.com/products/print2pdf/

  • zkam

    Thought I’d try the “Editor’s Choice” PDF24 Creator. Like stephen mentioned above, I also thought the 6 month term (unless there are no updates) to be a bit strange. but more importantly, I noticed the following line, which rules out using this product for me (and probably you, assuming you care and adhere to the license terms):

    1.5 The pdf24 is provided only for the use and distribution in the area of the European Union.

  • zkam

    Got an error when trying to post a comment, so my apologies if this is repeated…

    I thought I’d try the “Editor’s Choice” PDF24 Creator, but noticed this in the EULA:

    1.5 The pdf24 is provided only for the use and distribution in the area of the European Union.

  • Charlie

    doPDF can’t be used via Remote Desktop. I haven’t tried the others yet.

  • http://kingsoft.com Kingstone

    Software602 Print2PDF Free is really the best – many features for free and company provides technical support on their website, with the Secustamp.com portal you get really easy and quick solution for credible PDF documents creation – for free ;)

  • John

    Interesting overview, thx! I just tried Perfect PDF 7 Master and would like to add that it doesn’t remember the directory you last saved to. It always reverts back to ‘My documents’.

  • Karin

    A useful summary, but do all these products produce searchable pdfs?

    • Priit

      @Karin: Yes, as far as I remember all they produced searchable PDFs.

  • Steven Avery

    The PDFCreator toolbar method was unannounced, aggressive, sometimes silent on updates, and caused difficulties. This is covered by many on the Sourceforge site and elsewhere. Once a program goes that route, the trust is hard to regain, and I do not think PDFCreator ever played fair after that.

    Caveat emptor.

    Steven

  • Steven Avery

    Hi,

    Fine review. I plan to try PDF24 or Bullzip to replace my nagware style PDFFactory that is from the FinePrint comparny.

    The PDFCreator toolbar (started in 2006 I think) method was unannounced, aggressive, sometimes silent on updates, and caused difficulties. This is covered by many on the Sourceforge site and elsewhere. Once a program goes that route, the trust is hard to regain, and I do not think PDFCreator ever played fair after that.

    I would like especially to see if a program would combine well the Fineprint type of combining pages with the normal PDF-or-print function.

    Caveat emptor.

    Steven

  • Acarolinensis

    “… CutePDF) were removed from the list for privacy considerations as they contain adware/spyware components.”
    Are we talking about the same program? I downloaded CutePDF Writer 2.8 directly from their site on 4/15/2011 and have used it happily since then. I run Avast!, SuperAntispyware, and Comodo with backup scans by Malwarebytes. Not even a hint of trouble or popup ads. And it’s “printed” everything I’ve asked of it with zero problems.

  • Priit

    @Acarolinensis: There is some information about CutePDF and OpenCandy in the former comments. However, it is possible that OpenCandy is removed from the later releases.

  • http://atef atef

    many thnxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • atef

    its a great prog

  • Echidna

    Do any of these products produce tagged PDFs to meet accessibility requirements?

    • Priit

      @Echidna: Sorry, tagged PDF is not a familiar subject for me. I hope You find some information from the websites of particular PDF creation software.

  • Shawn

    Most of them are NOT free.. Just Trialwares..

    • Samer

      @ Shawn: that is absolutely not the case. They are ALL free.

  • pedja

    I would divide with you my experience. Very often I work in with Oracle Developer 6.0 report buider aplications that generates reports from the 20,000 pages that I need to backup in pdf format. I tried
    BullZip PDF Printer
    PDF24
    NitroPDF Printer
    PDF Creator
    PrimoPDF
    PDFill Printer

    and ONLY and again ONLY CUTE PDF WRITER can do the job.

    all others are maybe good for word and some fansy staff, but industry strength and stability is only cute pdf writer.

  • Sivaswami

    how about pdffill

  • senthil

    Excellent review.and Excellent comments honoring for all your R&D.But most of the people’s voice Cutepdf which i noticed.i will give my opinion later. thanks to all and the author.

  • Static

    Hi – there are some tables in this post comparing options on the various programs. Now none of my browsers (firefox, ie, opera) show the tables – all I see is “[table id=31 /]”.

    If this is a site problem can it be fixed? Or is it just me (and my ‘puter)?

    Thanks for your efforts.

    • Samer

      @ Static: they should be fixed now. Thanks for reporting.

  • http://www.pdf-converter-macosx.com/ MAC

    PDFcreator was used to be my first choice for building PDFs from various sources. But it installed ad-ware in recent version and it is very annoying. So i switch to the PrimoPDF and it works nice with a great user inteface. I guess it should be in your list.

    BTW, You have done a great work!!!

  • Quaro

    I came across this article over a year ago and I downloaded and tried ALL of the PDR printers listed: Bullzip PDF Printer, doPDF, Doro PDF Writer, PDF Printer, PDF reDirect, PDF24 Creator, PDFCreator, Perfect PDF 7 Master, Print2PDF Free, qvPDF, Bolt PDF Printer, CutePDF Writer, ImagePrinter, pdf995 and PDFlite. I was shocked and amazed by the bias and false claims Priit L wrote. After converting only a few of my completed novel manuscripts written with MS Word 2003 into PDF e-books, ABSOLUTELY NONE of the aforementioned PDF printers formatted my manuscript correctly. So I used Revo Uninstaller to eradicate all of these nuisance PDF printers and went back to my old standard, Primo PDF. IT WORKS PERFECTLY FOR ME!! I don’t know where you found Primo PDF with OpenCandy, but I never have had any problem with Primo PDF.

  • AreUSerious?

    @Quaro: I can’t believe you can say you “don’t know where you found Primo PDF with OpenCandy”. I found a “We use OpenCandy” link as soon as I went to http://www.primopdf.com which clearly explains that they have partnered with OpenCandy software bundling. Really?

  • http://pdfcoffee.com mike

    thank you
    It is useful.and I translate into chinese t on my website

    pdfcoffee.com

    by the way, I like use pdf factory .

  • iva

    there is another free pdf creator. one can download it from

    http://www.girdac.com/Products/PDF-Converters/Free-PDF-Creator/Download/Download.aspx

    it has no ads and popups; and absolutely free

  • http://www.henkosuru.com henkosuru

    iam usualy using doPDF and Bullzip PDF Printer for my work. . .
    nice Rating for that aplication.

  • Beaufitz

    Installation of PDF Creator offers optional installation of the notoriously invasive and very hard to uninstall Babylon Toolbar. Google for information about that. May not be as optional as you think. Had that experience before – once bitten, now won’t touch any installer that mentions Babylon.

  • Bast

    I would have liked information on how they embed fonts. I use CutePDF, and most of the time it embeds various fonts okay but not always. Which, of course, is a problem when sending files to my print shop.

    Enjoyed reading the reviews and everyones comments.

  • pedram

    hi
    im trying to save some books from my university digital library.
    the library have restricted printing books to just real printers. i have tried xps writer and priprinter .
    in both of these programs the library warns me not to use a virtual printer and to use a real printer.
    is there any virtual printer program that windows cant recognize any difference between it and a real printer?
    im not looking for just free programs!

  • Jeff

    I can’t believe PrimoPDF was excluded for containing adware/spyware and PDFCreator was included! I told the installer I didn’t want to install “Linkury Smartbar”, and so it goes and installs “Foxit Toolbar” and “Foxit Reader” behind my back!

  • raj

    Hi Priit Lilleleht

    Can I install more than one virtual printer on windows xp sp3. I would like to install pdf redirect and also the PDF24 Creator.Will there be any conflicts between the files and would I get BSOD after I install 2 virtual printers on
    windows xp sp3

    awaiting to hear from you

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.white.106 Andy White

    When bullzip converts to pdf it saves the document at 43% size so how can you set it for say 100%-125%

  • Fayazdo

    @raj:
    Yes, you can install multiple virtual PDF writers on one PC and simply select the desired one for the specific job from the print menu. But do remember that drivers tend to like to start up with your PC startup process and therefor add to the time your PC boot takes.

    @Freeware Genius editor: PDF Creator stated they no longer include any kind of toolbar in their software due to end-user criticism. To verify this I extracted up their installer (using Universal Extractor – freeware btw) and indeed, there was no element inside that I could link to any toolbar.

    Myself, I tried most of the tested software and found only Bullzip PDF and PDF Creator to sufficiently fulfill my personal needs, without also providing me with elements that either frustrated me or wouldn’t work on my PC.

    Two printer drivers wouldn’t print PDF’s at all on my PC. They are PDF-24 and Print2PDF Free.

    I will continue using both PDF CREATOR and Bullzip PDF side by side, since each has something that works better then the other.

    Again: this is my experience on my PC and this may be different for others.

  • Mike

    Hello. I tried installing Print2PDF Free 9 on a computer running Win XP SP3, all the latest updates.

    It seemed to install fine, and if I clicked the link in the start menu after installation, I come to a configuration page.

    However, no printer was installed, so I cannot Print 2 PDF with it!

    Anyone know what the problem is?

  • Mike

    Follow-up from previous post:

    I decided to try again. I uninstalled PDF2Print 9 Free, then re-installed it. After that, I re-booted the computer.

    I looked once more under “Printers and Faxes”, and there was no PDF printer there. I opened a document, chose the Print command, looked at the selection of printers, to choose from, and saw no PDF Printer there.

    So on my setup, with Win XP, this program did not set up a PDF printer driver. Has anyone been able to get it to work with XP?

    Something else I noticed about the app, despite the fact that it did not work. Anyone here who installed Print2PDF, open up Task Manager. (Ctrl-Alt-Del in XP, Ctrl-Shift-Esc in Vista and 7). You will see that the print2pdf installation added extra automatic startup programs (like Print2PDF Print Monitor), and services (such as 602 updater), wiithout asking the user. At one time I saw four extra programs running that all clearly came from that installation, but only see those two now.

    Even so, no PDF printer has been installed, and I cannot print to PDF after having installed the app.

    So if someone is going to print out a document from PDF a couple times a year, they have to have all those extra background apps and services eating up CPU and memory all the time?

    What brought me to try that app, is on the web site of their distributor (binarynow.com), it says that this printer can print out a document that has a clickable table of contents, and that will be duplicated correclty in the resulting PDF. Is that true? Is it also true with the other PDF printers?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Matthias

    I installed and used BullZip some months ago. All as described, but the default output file names always contain the application name, e.g. MS Word – Document1.pdf You can edit this but you have to do this for each file, which I found a nuisance

  • Tara

    Matthias, the default output file name can be easily changed in the options. On the first (General) tab.

  • vartaxe

    hi,

    mike i have the same problem but i’m using win7 x64 so it must be a bug or so…

    http://www.software602.com/node/282

  • Noel

    The more important point is which one creates the best size/quality ratio.

  • Jem

    The point to me is if the program allows embedded links.
    None of them do !!! as far as I know.
    That’s the real added value to me. PDF priter are dozens..
    cheers

  • vartaxe
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  • jafpcu

    WARNING: PDFCreator now includes OpenCandy, which I consider spyware. It searches your currently installed software and transmits the data to OpenCandy BEFORE installing any software! (It’s hard to find objective info about OpenCandy, as they aggressively monitor for negative commentary. I would not be at all surprised to see a positive comment about them here soon.)

  • REllis

    While the virtual printers are many for the Windows/Apple world, we are sorely in need of one for the android based tablet units. While there is the option of cloud printing (often times not connected to the WEB), myself I rarely print anything to paper any more and prefer to save to a PDF format. Are there that anyone is aware of that works like the above mentioned SW for android. If not WHY as I find in my business that customers are fast moving to the Android based tablets in droves.

  • Fayazdo

    PDF Creator no longer includes Open Candy in their installer.
    Public criticism led them to drop the intrusion of privacy.
    They now offer several other options like Toolbars, but if you opt out they luckily won’t install. The way it should be.

    • Samer Kurdi

      Thanks for letting us know Fayazdo.

  • hendhi

    great…. thanks a lot…

  • tplarkin7

    I’m looking for an image-based PDF virtual printer, such as Zan Image Printer. I can’t tell if any of the programs listed in your review can print image-PDFs. (As opposed to vector-based.) Great review, though!

    • SamerKurdi

      If you want to print to image formats, it seems (from the ‘other interesting functions’ table) that Bullzip, PDF24, and PDF Creator do that. I personally use PDF24 and often use the functionality.

      • tplarkin7

        I don’t want to print image formats, but I want to print PDFs that have images as pages, instead of vectors. Vectors can be converted to CAD which is the reason I want image-PDFs. Is that what you meant?

        • SamerKurdi

          I see. PDF Xchange viewer has the option to export the pages from a PDF document to image formats http://www.freewaregenius.com/pdf-xchange-viewer/

          You can then convert them back to a PDF using something like JPG to PDF http://www.freewaregenius.com/jpeg-to-pdf-convert-jpgs-to-pdfs-quickly-and-easily/

          There may be a more elegant solution though.

          • tplarkin7

            Thanks SamerKurdi! I currently use Zan Image Printer which does a great job of making image-based PDFs. I’m just scouring the net for one that has even deeper compression options.

            • SamerKurdi

              This printer you mention is paid software, and this website deals with free software only. If you find a free option, please let us know.

            • tplarkin7

              Thanks for all your help, Samer! If I find a free one, I’ll be back!

            • SamerKurdi

              I wonder if this might be useful to you (free DWG to PDF)
              http://www.getfilez.com/dwgtopdf.pdf