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Tricks & Tips

Posts Tagged ‘PDFs’


Contributed by Bo Layer


CustomGuide has a great resource for quick, easy to use reference sheets for popular programs such as MS Office,  Mac OS, Adobe products, and more.

Don’t miss out!  These are free PDFs you can download, save, and print. No signup required.

Download here: http://www.customguide.com/quick_references.htm



You may know Adobe Acrobat as the program that opens your PDF files.  Did you know it is bloated and far slower than other tools that do the same and more?  We haven’t used Adobe Acrobat in years (what is a PDF anyway?).

Better alternative: Use free app, PDF-XChange, to open your PDF files.  Not only view, but fill in forms, add comments, and save or print features are all included. Learn more…

We previously recommended FoxIt.  It’s a bit faster, but doesn’t have all the features of PDF-XChange.

Convert PDFs to Word documents
Need a PDF converted to a Word document so you can edit, or copy the text?  Use free online app, PDF to Word.

Why so much about PDFs?
PDFs replace paper.  We print most documents to PDF, instead of real paper.  Learn how in our Paperless Office series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

In the news…
Think you’re identity is safer because you don’t have accounts with FaceBook, Twitter, and other social networking sites?  Maybe not!  Continue reading…


Free Online Books

October 9th, 2008

www.pdfgeni.com is a really neat site I just found. The search box comes up on the first page. Type in your search and it returns tons of results for free ebooks, articles, reports, or just about anything in a PDF. No need to signup for anything.  Besides books, also try searching for a specific article, or subject.

Here are some examples:
My Favorite Book
Photography Tips
MS Office 2007
Business Plans

Other resources for books/articles online:
Amazon’s Book Preview


How to Password Protect Your Files

September 25th, 2008

One customer writes in to ask:
“How can I make attachments secure when sending emails?   Is there a way I can have them password protected for WORD docs or PDF’s?”

This is a good question!  Last time I wrote about www.transferbigfiles.com.  This would be the easiest way when sending by email.  When there, click Advanced Options to set a password on the file before you send it.

On the other hand, most applications allow you to set a password for the files they create.  For example, QuickBooks lets you password protect your company file.  MS Office allows you to password protect their files.

For Office 2007 instructions: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA101483331033.aspx
For Office 2003 instructions: http://www.microsoft.com/protect/products/yourself/office2003.mspx
(the above include options for MS Word, Excel, Power Point, etc)

To password protect a ZIP file, or Compressed Folder, in Windows XP: Open the zip file, choose the “File” menu, select “Add a Password.” Enter the password and confirm the password.

To password protect a PDF
you need a real PDF application, not just the free ones.  For example, Foxit, or Adobe Acrobat.  Foxit Pro allows you to password protect PDFs, as well as annotate, search, copy text, create forms, spell check, and tons more.  It’s well worth the $39.  Or, you can just send with a password using transferbigfiles.com.

For other applications, search for “password” in their help system and you should quickly get your answer.  Or just ask in the comments and I’ll look it up for you.


Fill Out PDFs (For Real)

September 10th, 2008

Use http://www.pdfescape.com to fill out PDFs online, fast and free.

I mentioned Foxit last week to fill out PDFs.  Sadly, I quickly learned that they’re newest release prevents using their typing tool and print functions in the free version.  I have an older version it works in for me. My apologies.

I found some better options for you this time!  Pdfescape.com is an online service that lets you upload your PDF, edit online, then save back to your computer.  It really is pretty simple and worth a try.

A few notes of use:  A couple of times they ask you to register for free.  This isn’t required.  To save your PDF once edited, use the File menu, and Save As.

I found another neat tool as well. http://www.pdfhammer.com lets you merge/combine PDF files together, rearrange, and delete pages.  Very helpful!  This part is free, although they have other fee based options.

Neither of the above services add any watermarking or branding of their services to your PDFs


Fill Out PDFs

September 2nd, 2008

Use Foxit to view AND fill out PDFs to get that clean, professional look:
(Before you start, you might ask, what is a PDF anyway? Click here)

I prefer Foxit over Adobe Reader because it is smaller and doesn’t slow down your computer as much.  Also with Foxit you can type anywhere on a PDF document.  Although the free version doesn’t let you save the file, you can print it or, print it back to a PDF.

Some PDFs already let you type in the assigned blanks.  This requires the author to set this up.  Foxit allows you to type on any PDF, anywhere.  Nice.

To get started using Foxit, this link will take you directly to the download:

  1. Don’t print in color. When printing, choose File -> Print.  Click Properties button beside your printer.  This page, or the Paper/Quality tab, will have an option to print in color or black & white.  (You can actually make this the DEFAULT method by going to Control Panel, Printers, right click your printer, and choose properties.  Set these the way you want it and each time it will print default that way.)
  2. Only print what you want. Why print the WHOLE page when you just want that text, for example, a recipe.  Highlight just the text you want with your mouse, then go to File -> Print.  In the Print range box choose Selection, and OK.  This will ONLY print what you have selected, instead of all those ink hungry images.
  3. Get a laser printer. Most of us use ink jet printers.  Why?  We bought them because they’re supposed to print great photos, AND print our documents.  However, you can get a basic laser printer for less than $100 (http://www.google.com/products?q=laser+printer&btnG=Search+Products&hl=en), replacement toner less than $50, and they yield a lot more pages (and faster too!).
  4. Use a professional printer. After buying a photo printer, ink, and photo paper, a 4×6 can cost around $.25 to print.  Snapfish, Shutterfly (online printing), or your local pharmacies make higher quality prints for far less! $.09 from Snapfish and mailed to you, or upload to Walgreens.com and pickup an hour later for $.19 a piece.
  5. Don’t print – simple as that. Just save it to PDF, or electronic format.  Install CutePDF to print directly to a PDF, just like a real printer. See more details here. I print to PDF 90% of the time.

Convert from one file type to another –
Have you ever had a .DOC file but didn’t have MS Word? Or a .TIFF file and not the right image program? Or a .WAV and need a .MP3? The list goes on. You Convert It  allows you to select  one file and it will convert to the type you need it in!

Send large files to someone –
Email is NOT the best way to send a large file (really, anything over 5-10MB). If you have a 100MB file and need to send it to someone, select the Send Files tab across the top of the site. Specify the email address to send to, and select your file. Send!

They have a few other neat features too, check it out … www.youconvertit.com


Electronic Faxes
There are alternative options to the traditional fax.  Myfax.com offers a service by which you receive your faxes via electronic documents.

When someone sends you a fax, it shows up in your email as a PDF.  Review faxes before printing (eg. spam) or archive.  Or, use their website to view your fax history (reprint, see fax numbers, etc).

You can also send faxes through your email.  Create an email, attach a document (PDF, Word, etc) and send to myfax.com! They will deliver the document to the specified fax telephone number.  You don’t even need a fax machine. Simple.

Their service does start at $10/mo, but well worth it! For example, we’ve call forwarded existing business fax lines to the new toll-free number for immediate transition to myfax.com. Permanent call forwarding of a line is much cheaper than paying for a dedicated fax line.  Ultimately, an overall savings, and a better product.
I’ve been using myfax.com for about a year now.  If you still have to fax, this service will increase efficiency and help keep the paper at bay. Learn more at www.myfax.com, reply to this email, or call us.


Paperless Office – Part II

March 18th, 2008

Not Printing (conventionally)
Another way to reduce paper is to stop printing.  Instead, print to PDFs. The free application below installs itself as a printer in your computer. Any page you could print can be saved as a PDF, or electronic document.

It’s cheaper (no ink/paper), faster, and most importantly, future reference is easy. I print to PDF any receipts of things I buy online. In a few seconds I can bring up any of them, even from years ago.

I store my PDFs in a receipts folder I created in My Documents. I sort them chronologically and of course, name them to include lots of key words so I can find them easily. (Eg. Bank of America Biz CC – 1.1.08.pdf)

Print office documents, email messages, images, web pages, etc. to a PDF file. This application is a must-have.

Install & Use – 
Download directly at: http://www.cutepdf.com/download/CuteWriter.exe (from www.cutepdf.com). The install should be a simple Next, Next, Next, Finish. Then just choose File and Print, as you normally would, and choose CutePDF as the printer. You should quickly get a Save As box. Move to your My Documents folder, name it, and save it!