Free Tools to Manage PDF Files
Adobe has taken a lot of flack for its eminently hackable Flash/Shockwave animation file format. But Adobe also gave us the PDF - Portable Document Format. This handy file format was developed in the early 1990s to enable team members to share documents, including inline formatting and images, even though the members did not have the same file-handling software. Read today's issue to find some free tools for creating, editing, managing, redacting, and otherwise slicing and dicing your PDF files...
What Can You Do With PDF Files?
Most people just print or view a PDF file, but they are more versatile than you think. Today, PDF files can have “fillable forms,” allowing you to complete a neatly typeset tax return, insurance claim form, voter’s registration, or other form with boxes for names, addresses, amounts, etc., even when you don’t have a typewriter or word processor. PDFs have a number of other tricks, such as the ability to sum a column of numbers in a form. They can even contain animated or audio content.
Acrobat, the professional software for PDF management and editing is sold by Adobe for a pretty penny. But the PDF format is open-source, so a host of third-party utilities have sprung up. Here are some of the best PDF tools, most of them free.
Not Another PDF Scanner 2 (NAPS2) is designed to replace the typically so-so scanning software that comes bundled with multifunction printers and other scanner devices. Once installed, NAPS2 is free and easy to use. Click Profiles and then New to add your scanner, then edit the settings like Page size and Resolution. Click Scan when you’re ready, and an image of your document will slowly unfurl on the screen until the scan is complete. Now you can Save it in PDF format, print it, or both. An optional OCR (Optical Character Recognition) module converts images of alphanumeric characters into ASCII text.
PDF Multi-Tool extracts images, video, and audio content from PDF files, and saves each bundle of extracted content to an appropriate file (e. G., .jpg, .mp4, etc.) You can export tables of data from a PDF to CSV files, or import table data directly into an Excel spreadsheet. Split a PDF file into multiple parts, or merge multiple files into one PDF. There are many other handy functions in PDF Multi-Tool and its add-ons.
PDFill Free PDF Tools is a similar utility that I like. You can use it to merge, split, reorder, delete, encrypt, decrypt, rotate, crop and reformat PDF pages; add information, header, footer and watermark, to convert images to PDF, PDF to images or PostScript to PDF; delete, flatten and list form fields, and more. PDFill does not add watermarks and is free for personal or commercial use.
More PDF Tools
Foxit Reader is a long-time favorite for simply reading PDFs. It can also save your PDF collection to the cloud - Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive integration is built in - and find the right PDF again when you need it. Like NAPS2, Foxit Reader can scan documents from your scanner to PDF files. You can annotate PDFs with Foxit Reader. It even reads PDF text aloud, a boon to the visually impaired.
Instead of manually printing and redacting documents to remove content, Free PDF Redactor is a free online solution that works right in your browser. Once your PDF document is uploaded, you can draw over the sections of text you want to remove. When finished, save and download the modified PDF document with text and hidden metadata removed. Once downloaded, the temporary file will be removed from their servers leaving no trace behind.
Libre Office Writer does a great job of opening PDF files so they can be edited in a word processor. It can also export any document to PDF format. It's part of the free Libre Office suite that does pretty much everything Microsoft Office does, but for free.
Did you know that Google Drive can convert PDFs to editable text? Yep, that OCR capability is built into Drive. From your Drive, just right-click on the desired file (it can be a PDF or a JPG), then click "Open with > Google Docs." The file will be converted to a Google Doc that can be edited. There are some limitations, though. Bold, italics, font size, font type, and line breaks are usually retained, but lists, tables, columns, footnotes, and endnotes will probably not survive the journey. Also, files larger than 2 MB cannot be converted.
Doro PDF Writer installs as a virtual printer, so you can print or save data to PDF files from any application that you use to print a file. Windows 10 has this feature built into it, but users of older Windows versions have had to struggle with multiple PDF savers/printers. Install Doro and creating PDF files becomes a no-brainer.
Do you have a favorite PDF utility I have not covered? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Jun 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Tools to Manage PDF Files (Posted: 13 Jun 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved