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Top Free PDF Conversion Tools

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 2/15/2011

There's no need to spend money on expensive Adobe software when free PDF conversion tools can be downloaded in seconds!

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    Can I Create PDF Documents for Free?

    The Best Free Pdf Conversion Software Downloads PDF – the Portable Document Format pioneered by Adobe in the 1990s – was designated an open standard in 2008 following years of being the de facto choice filetype for readable, non-editable documents.

    As a result many free PDF conversion software utilities were released by various companies hoping to cash in on the need to create PDF files without breaking the bank; a copy of Adobe Standard will set you back over $100! While this price might be suitable for businesses it is less attractive for individuals and small businesses.

    The popularity of eBooks has seen the use in free PDF creation tools increase – but which of them can be considered the best?

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    Free PDF Conversion Software – A Key Element of Desktop Publishing

    While you might be happy to stick to creating documents in Word and distributing them to colleagues in a format that can easily be copied and edited, desktop publishing has moved on a lot over the years, with PDF creation being one of its key aspects.

    With the added security PDF brings to both the document itself and applying restrictions against unauthorised printing, it should come as no surprise that PDF's are used widely within corporate environments and other large organisations.

    So it makes sense that free PDF conversion software should be high on the list of the best free and open source DTP programs on offer, with PDFCreator being a particular favourite.

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    Free PDF Conversion Software for Microsoft Office

    While the latest releases of Microsoft Office features the ability to save your Word, Excel or PowerPoint document as a PDF, there are alternatives to this that are especially useful if you are dissatisfied with a loss of alignment that might occur.

    As explained in this guide about converting Publisher files to PDF, there are several top PDF encoders that can be used with Microsoft Office applications for creating professional quality, portable documents. CutePDF Writer and novaPDF are among the choices, both of which are installed as virtual printer drivers that allow you to output your document to a PDF file rather than a physical printer.

    Meanwhile PowerPoint files are converted particularly well using the RonyaSoft tool.

    If you have created a PDF from a Word document, discarded the original file and then realized you need to make a change, you would normally be restricted with the option to rewrite the document. However with the right tool – HelloPDF – you can convert from PDF back to Word, saving a lot of time!

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    Keep Your Free PDF's Secure

    You might be under the misapprehension that free PDF conversion software doesn’t include the advanced functionality of Adobe Standard or any of the other Adobe PDF creation tools – but you would be wrong. VeryPDF, PDF Encrypt Tool and A-PDF all provide at least 48-bit encryption as well as the ability to password-protect your PDF document file from unauthorized reading or printing.

    Finally, while free PDF conversion software is great, there are some that you should avoid; these applications are pretty much scams, claiming to be free when they actually apply watermarks to your PDF's that can only be removed by paying for the software.

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