InfoWorld's Test Center picks the best open source productivity software and mobile tools of 2011
Adobe's PDF creation tools may be powerful, but they're also expensive -- and in many cases, they might not always be required. PDFCreator lets you create PDFs from any program that can print. It covers the vast majority of common options needed for PDFs, and it doesn't cost a cent.
PDFCreator normally works as a conventional printer driver. You simply use it as the printing target for an application, then make any job-specific changes needed (passwords, overprint options, and so on) in a separate dialog that appears. The end result is saved wherever you like.
The program can also be installed as a network printer to receive jobs from across a LAN, and different rendering settings can be saved into profiles and reused at any time. Images can also be processed with differing varieties of embedding or compression depending on your needs, and you can even "stamp" pages with text (for example, "Draft") if needed. PDFs can be password-locked, protected with varying levels of encryption, and signed with certificates if you have them.
The only major PDF feature this program doesn't support is forms creation, which requires either an editor interface (which PDFCreator doesn't have) or close integration with the source program. Also, be wary of the completely unnecessary Yahoo toolbar offered during installation.
The Bossies 2011 index:
This slideshow, "Bossie Awards 2011: The best open source desktop and mobile software," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in applications, mobile technology, and open source at InfoWorld.com.