Make PDFs Free. Really?

Sometimes, I need to make PDFs. Vendors would like to use stuff I write, and I am happy to let them do so for nominal fees, but I don’t want the content changed. But I’m not really in the publishing business, and I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a tool for that purpose. So I was pleased when a friend told me about PDF995 and their suite of easy-to use tools.

A quick download of the PDF995 Printer Driver and a brief installation process was all I needed to get going. The application embeds itself into Microsoft Word (and other apps) as a printer. You don’t select “print to file” – just choose PDF995 from the printer list and it pops up a window for you to specify filename and location. It’s that simple.

Can you use it free? Yes – you will see a screen that reminds you who made it when you actually create the file. Not much hassle there.

Should you use it free? No. They want only – you guessed it – $9.95 for a supported version. Pay them, and sleep better at night. They deserve to get paid.

This is a short post. Why make it longer? Nothing more to say. It works. Try it.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

4 Responses to Make PDFs Free. Really?

  1. John says:

    Merv, your post caused me to look into what we use, which is PDF reDirect. It is also installed as a printer and seems to work from every app, not just Word or Office tools. They have a free version (not sure if the one we use is free or not) but there are no pop-ups in the free version, so you might take a look if that bugs you with PDF995. BTW I use a free Foxit reader for viewing PDFs – much more lightweight than the Acrobat reader.

  2. Merv Adrian says:

    Thanks for the additional pointer! I just picked the first one I was recommended, and it worked. But it’s always good to look around. Incidentally, for reading and annotating I use PDF X-Change, which I blogged about at

  3. Peter Thomas says:


    Have been pondering whether to shell out on the Adobe PDF distiller as the PDFs that Word 2007 (*crossed himself, adjusts garlic necklace*) includes creates the world’s largest files.

    Will check out your recommendation – and John’s. Acrobat Pro is £500+ here in the UK!


  4. Merv Adrian says:

    I just reflexively went looking and asked a few friends and this is what came up. I’m quite happy with it so far. Haven’t done any stress testing, but I don’t care. It works.

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