The Best PDF Converter I’ve Been Able to Find

Posted on Nov 22 2005 by in Reviews Software 

When I created my Podsnapper Beginner’s Guide to Podcasting, I looked high and low for the perfect PDF Converter. Much to my surprise, I discovered and tried a bunch of ‘em; like maybe 20. Ultimately, I settled on a program called deskPDF Professional (link below).

A little background on PDF converters for the uninitiated …

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It’s pretty much become a standard in the micro-publishing world. Most ebooks are in PDF format, as well as many other documents. The reason it’s so popular is because the only thing you need to read PDF documents is Adobe’s Acrobat Reader, and most computer systems have it pre-installed when you buy the system.

So, if you’re a solopreneur who’s publishing any kind of documents (and I hope you are), you need to have a good PDF converter. You could buy the latest version of Adobe Acrobat, but it sells for about $270.00 on amazon. You could also go with one of the many free converters available (search Google). The problem with every one I tried, however, is they don’t convert embedded hyperlinks. In other words if you want to link some text, for example “this is my website,” the free converters I tried don’t carry the link over into the PDF documents. No big deal if you don’t have any links in your document, but that’s rare nowadays. In my Podcasting manual, I probably have a few dozen links, and I want my readers to be able to click on those links.

You could also use the free open source office suite called Open Office. This is a collection of programs almost identical to the Microsoft Office Suite. The word processor program in Open Office has a built-in PDF converter that does convert all hyperlinks. The drawback to this program is it’s a huge program that eats up quite a bit of disk space and memory. Again, no big deal if you don’t mind that, but there’s a more efficient solution, although not free.

As I said above, my final choice for a PDF converter is deskPDF Professional (aff link). Here’s how it works. I create my document in Microsoft Word and include any links I want to include. Then I select the print command in Word. When the print screen pops up I simply choose deskPDF as my printer (click image to right), because it’s known as a printer driver. It doesn’t actually print the page. It simply converts it to a PDF file while maintaining any and all embedded hyperlinks. Nice and easy.

The only flaw I was able to find with the program is this. If you create your original document in landscape format (11″ wide x 8.5″ tall), it doesn’t convert the links properly. It converts perfectly for the standard portrait format (8.5″wide x 11″ tall) though. The company’s representative, Brent Gaynor, informed me they’d correct the landscape problem in the next release of the program. In the meantime, it’s still the best little PDF converter I’ve been able to find, and at $29.95, it’s a bargain compared to Adobe Acrobat.