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7 Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat for Creating PDF

© 2011 Ugur Akinci

Adobe Acrobat is an excellent software for generating PDF copies of technical documents. Once something is converted to PDF, you can view it on any OS platform in the same format.

However, Acrobat is not a cheap software. That’s why you might want to have a look at these more affordable and/or open-source alternatives that also generate PDF even though they of course differ in PDF-editing functionalities.

(Click to enlarge images)

(1) CutePDF


For Windows. You can not only generate PDF copies but also add comments, security, stamps, headers and footers, create interactive form fields, create booklets or n-Up pages,  combine files, rearrange pages, etc. Price at this writing: $49.95.

(2) Primo PDF

Free. Converts 300 file types to PDF. Add security and password. Generate PDF from three major MS Office applications with the click of one button: Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Generate a single PDF file from multiple files that can have different formats. Comes with a related PDF-editing application (Nitro) that’s available for purchase.

(3) Free PDF Converter

This is a web site for converting your files into PDF.

Free PDF Converter

Browse and find the Microsoft Office or OpenOffice file you like to convert. ENter your email address. Then click Convert Your File button to have your PDF file LINK sent to your mail box. Considered the more reliable alternative among free converters.

(4) PDF Online

PDF Online

This free web site works the same way as Free PDF Converter: you upload your file through the browser and receive the PDF copy though email. Unique features of this alternative include Word-to-PDf and PDF-to-Word conversion tools.

(5) OpenOffice Writer

The free OpenOffice writer text-editor comes with a built-in PDF conversion button on its toolbar. One click, and it’s done!

OpenOffice Writer

Reliable. Well-tested. I use it occasionally with excellent results. I even converted a 130-page OpenOffice document (an ebook)  into PDF by using this built-in feature.

(6) PDF Redirect

Free but, like most of applications of this kind, it also comes with a for-fee version which offers more features. You can merge and encrypt your files even with its free version. If you’d like to extract individual pages from a PDF document or include attachments, then you need to buy the for-fee version.

(7) Scribus

This is the free open source version of print- and page-layout design applications like PageMaker or Adobe InDesign but it also generates PDF copies.


Scribus does have a learning curve but can you beat “free”?

3 comments to 7 Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat for Creating PDF

  • Good list! I would add doPDF as well. It is very simple as it creates a PDF printer. If you want to convert something you print it and choose it as the printer. It is not an editor, but for conversion it works wonderful Especially since all you need to convert something is have the ability to print it.

  • Good article but I feel a little cheated as I the google results suggested this was 10 alternatives not just 7.

    • Thanks for your kind remark about the article. But unfortunately it’s not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all the PDF-generation resources on the Internet since they change from week to week, month to month.

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