PDF documents have become the de facto standard for sharing printable electronic documents across most computer platforms.
While Adobe is the copyright owner of the PDF document definition, they have published the PDF document specifications and permit anyone to create their own PDF readers and writers.
Adobe has also released a free and widely used PDF reader - Acrobat® Reader.
However, Adobe's PDF writers are not free. There are three PDF writers in Adobe's Acrobat® family - Elements, Standard & Professional.
Highly recommended alternative PDF freeware
There are a number of excellent freeware alternatives to Adobe's relatively expensive writers and also an excellent alternative to the arguably bloated Adobe Reader. These freeware utilities together can do just about everything Adobe's Elements & Standard writers can do.
PDF-XChange Viewer from Tracker Software is a smaller and much better alternative to Adobe's Reader and has many extra features including Annotations, Comments and "Typewriter" tools. Best of all, their development team is busy updating these features. While the 12MB download may seem quite large, it's still less than half the size of Adobe Reader, and the extra features fully justifies its size when compared to other freeware PDF alternatives.
doPDF - a free PDF creator:
doPDF installs itself as a virtual PDF printer driver. So, once installed, you can create PDF files simply by selecting the doPDF printer via the 'Print' command in virtually any application. With a click or two you can convert to PDF files your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and your emails and favorite web sites.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the only 'cost' of this freeware PDF creation utility is tolerating a reasonably discrete invitation to upgrade to a more fully featured utility whenever you're creating a PDF file. However, for the vast majority of users, these extra features will rarely if ever be needed.
Last Updated 26 April 2015
Author: Angus Johnson
Copyright © 2005-15
License: GNU General Public License.
PDFTK Builder is a free graphical interface to the Windows version of PDFTK making it much easier to use.
Join - ‘Join’ allows you to combine pages from multiple PDF documents and/or rearrange pages in a single document (reorder, delete, & duplicate). Multiple documents will be joined in the order they are listed in the 'Source Documents' window. If you wished to insert pages from one document into the middle of another, the main document would have to be listed twice, once before (listing pages to appear before) and once after (listing pages to appear after) the document containing the pages to be inserted. If page ranges are not specified, PDFTK Builder will assume all pages for that document are to be included. Page ranges for each document in the list can be indicated by using a single page number, or a hyphen between start and end pages (reversed page orders are allowed). Multiple ranges are indicated by using commas or semi-colons between ranges.
Split - separates each page of a PDF file into separate (numbered) PDF documents.
Background, Stamp & Page Numbering - ‘Background’ allows you to add a background to each page in a document or just the first page. The 'background' (eg a company logo, or a 'draft' watermark) must be another PDF document (the first page of that document if it has more than one page). ‘Stamp’ is very similar to ‘background’ except that the ‘stamp’ is placed on top of the source document. Page numbering initially defaults to stamping numbers in the bottom right corner of an A4 document in portrait orientation. These default values can be changed in PdftkBuilder.ini. (Layout dimensions are defined in 1/72 inches.)
Rotate - 'Rotate' enables you to rotate a range of pages in a document.
Password Protection: The new document can be password protected (encrypted) by providing 'owner' and 'user' passwords. The 'owner' password does not stop users from reading the document, but it does restrict the actions that users can perform on that document - printing, copying, decrypting etc. Specifying a 'user' password will stop anyone without either 'user' or 'owner' passwords from opening and reading the document.
Full installation (includes PDFTK ver 1.41):
Source code (requires Borland Delphi Ver 7 compiler):
PDFTK Builder History:
||26 April 2015
||Added: support for Unicode filenames.
Update: Further cosmetic improvements.
||21 April 2015
||Update: Added page numbering option.
Cosmetic improvements to accommodate large fonts etc.
||9 July 09
||Update: PDF page count algorithm updated to read later versions of the PDF file format.
||7 June 08
||Bugfix: Layout problems when Large Fonts were selected in Windows OS settings.
||3 May 08
||Bugfix: rotating pages didn't behave as expected.
||3 May 08
||Added ability to drag-and-drop pdf files into the collate list.
||1 May 08
||Bugfix: sort order was ignored when more that 26 files were being collated into one file.
||29 Apr 08
||Minor layout improvements.
||27 Apr 07
||Bugfix: "Stamp" and "Background" was broken when applied to the whole document.
Removed "Decrypt" option.
||14 Apr 07
||Collate no longer limited to 26 files.
Added 'Rotate' option.
Added 'Stamp' option.
Added an option to 'Background' or 'Stamp' just first page of a document.
||20 Mar 06
||Added 'Split' option and minor bug fixes.
||17 Apr 05
||Fixed broken link to help file.
||4 Feb 05
||Bug in owner's permission options fixed.
||2 Jan 05