I’ve long been a paid, registered Adobe Acrobat user — the PDF file format is the only way to do “universal” ebooks as far as I’m concerned — but unless it’s an illegal copy, “cheap software” is never used to describe it. Last I checked, for example, the Adobe Acrobat 8.0 Standard (the least expensive current version) full product is around $290 at bargain sources like TigerDirect!
Whoa! That’s more than a just a bit overboard if all you want to pump out is the occasional PDF report or even small ebook. If that’s you, maybe FreePDF is all you really need!
FreePDF is a free (surprise!) online service that lets you “create” PDFs — not “convert” an existing document to PDF, which is the way many software utilities do it. With FreePDF, creating a PDF is much like writing a blog post online; its on-screen editor, in fact, is quite similar, if not identical, to the one used with WordPress.
Like WordPress, it lets you “import” (copy-and-paste, really) plain text and Microsoft Word content which you can then format the way you want it. Somewhat. No way no how does this even come close to Adobe Acrobat’s little finger, but for what it is and especially what it costs, it does the job.
You can even do your document in HTML, if you are so inclined. Take a look at this test PDF I put together, as an example… done completely with simple HTML code. And it demonstrates a very powerful feature that FreePDF provides: You can embed clickable hyperlinks (Web, email, FTP, etc.) into your document. Nothing special for long-time Acrobat users, but through the years I’ve looked at a number of “free” PDF converters and generators, and this clickable hyperlinks capability is actually fairly uncommon.
Quick-and-dirty, no-frills output, sure. But seriously, do you need more? If your needs parallel mine, save up for the $290 needed for Acrobat. But if FreePDF gives you acceptable results, it’s really impossible to beat its price!