Monday, May 4, 2009

PDF Files

Been playing around with PDF files this week. Mainly because I have this internet fax service that will fax out only files that are in PDF format. I have no problems with creating text documents and then saving them as PDF files because OpenOffice, that wonderful free software that emulates Microsoft Office, can convert or export text files to PDF with one click. The problem I had was with graphics. When I scanned a page as PDF to retain all the layout and positioning of the orginal graphics the resultant file was enormous... as big as 4 meg. Now, my Internet fax service will not allow me to fax out PDF documents that large, so I had a problem.

The software I used to scan and save graphics as a PDF file was software that came with my Epson which I bought several years ago. Rather than search for newer or updated versions of the software, what I did was to save the graphics as a JPG and then import into a OpenOffice document and save it as a PDF file which was very much smaller than the one created directly from the scanner. This I could fax out.

While researching on the Internet some solutions that other users employed, I chanced upon several interesting free online services that others were using to convert to PDF or from PDF to editable text. Many users were doing the latter because unlike DOC files or TXT files PDF files cannot be edited nor can one incorporate portions of it into text files.

If you are converting text files to PDF files or vice versa there is a free online service at which I tried with success. When converting text files to PDF the online software converts and emails you the link to your converted file. Fast and reliable. When converting PDF files to text (RTF) files the conversion is done online and there is no email for you to open. Why the procedures differ I cannot tell.

Another useful site is This has an online service to convert PDF files to editable text files as well as a download for converting text to PDF files. I tried this and found it easy to use, reliable and fast.

The third service I tried was ( Which claims to be able to do a variety of conversions -- from one format to another but I seem to have very little success with this one. For some reason or other it was fraught with error messages. Perhaps it is the configuration of my browsers or my computer that is the problem because there seem to be many testimonials extolling its virtues.

The last service I tried the one provided by This seemed to be a very popular site judging from the many mentions of it on forums. It worked OK for me but it sure took a long time for the files to be converted. Perhaps because it is popular, demand for its services is high and thus the delay.

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