Working today without PDF is unimaginable. This is why there is a plethora of software for this format.

Personally I have been working for several years with the following 3 software: PDF Creator, Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF-Exchange Viewer.

While browsing the web, I spotted other promising free software. I listed them but without having tested them beforehand. It’s up to you…

What is the meaning of PDF and what is it used for?

The PDF extension (. pdf) is an acronym for Portable Document Format. It was created by Adobe System in 1993.

It has a dual purpose:

  1. Preserve the layout chosen by its creator, like a print would do, while remaining an electronic format.
  2. Be compatible with the majority of computers, in order to promote the exchange of information.

There are two categories of PDF software, those to generate PDFs and those to read them.

Software to GENERATE a PDF

In general, to create a PDF you use a virtual printer that converts any file (Word, Excel, Web page, drawing, photo, etc.) into a PDF. In this category I use:

PDF Creator
  • Easy to use and fast
  • Allows merging multiple files in one PDF
  • Convenient for web page printing
  • Also useful for printing in. jpg format (image)

Other software (non tested) :

  • BullZip PDF Printer
  • 7-PDF  Printer
  • doPDF
  • Doro
  • Pdf24 Creator
  • Cute PDF Writer
  • … and many more

Software to READ or VIEW a PDF

More and more “reading” software also allows you to make changes such as annotate, underline, add comments, etc. In this category I use:

Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • View and print PDFs
  • Copy text excerpts (only possible if it is a PDF document and not the result of a scan).
  • Draw on any page of your document and send it to anyone.
  • OCR text recognition in French and English (very useful, even if not perfect).

Other software (non tested):

  • Foxit Reader
  • Cool PDF Reader

This article was first published on 15 October 2014 (Photo : EsaRiutta /