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Converting Files with Primo PDF

You may have noticed that there is a tendency for the members of Team ProfHacker to prefer the Apple platform.  I share this preference, but for reasons beyond my control, my office computer is a PC.  Most of the time, switching back and forth between Windows and Snow Leopard isn’t a problem, though I should confess that my version of Windows is rather dated.  This switch might be significantly different on Vista or Windows 7, for better or for worse.  In any event, earlier this week I ran into complications.  I needed to send my CV out as part of a conference submission, and some years ago, I got into the habit of sending my CV as a PDF file in order to prevent formatting snafus.  Converting a .DOC file to a PDF is very easy on my home computer.  Current versions of Microsoft Word now offer users the option to save as PDF in the dropdown menu.  On my office computer, however, that’s not an option.

Rather than wait until I made it home that night, I turned to the Twitterverse to see if anyone might have a solution to my problem.  Within minutes, if not seconds, I had several options at my fingertips: @jasonrhody sent me an NEH link with several different conversion programs, some free and some not, some instant and some that required a user to email the document to a service that would convert it and then send it back as a PDF. Primo PDF was another suggestion, this one provided by @literarychica and @marigolds.  Ultimately, I went with Primo because it was both fast and free.

Primo PDF is a program that PC users (Windows XP, Vista or 7) can download; it will convert various different kinds of documents to PDF: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and several others.  Once it is installed, users can access it through the printer interface of whatever program they happen to be using.  Select “Print…” from the pull-down menu, select Primo instead of your usual printer, and then click on “Print.”  Rather than going to the printer, the document is saved as a PDF.  It’s that easy.

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user rillian].

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