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Aladdin Ghostscript

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1 Review

Free PDF writer software

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      30.05.2001 16:56
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      Acrobat PDF files are a great way of distributing documents but the full Adobe writer software costs around £200. If you just want to be able to create basic pdf files with graphics and so on, but aren't concerned about adding thumbnails or modifying the files after you've created them then there is a free alternative - Ghostscript. The idea is that you install a postscript printer driver on your computer with the output sent to a file (no need to actually have a real printer as Windows includes a number of suitable drivers - Try the HP Paintjet XL300 if you want colour pdfs of a standard Apple Laserwriter for monochrome pdfs.) You then use Ghostscript to convert the resulting postscript file to pdf format. Ghostscript itself is a bit unfriendly so you may want to get the GSView front end. This is a Windows programme which makes the whole thing very user friendly. Whilst Ghostscript is free, GSView is shareware, and costs 40 Australian Dollars to register (around £20). The software includes a number of other useful tricks such as the ability to extract bitmaps from pdf files at up to 600dpi. If you try to copy images from pdf files using the free Adobe Acrobat Viewer the resolution you get depends on the screen resolution and falls far short of 600dpi. In some ways the software isn't as powerful as the full Adobe product - It can't generate thumbnails and you can't print directly to a pdf file from other applications. However the majority of users probably don't need these features. As far as I can tell the pdf files it generates are completely compatible with the Adobe free reader. I even tried creating a document containing over a hundred pages including many large bitmaps and it took the whole thing in its stride. The software can be downloaded from http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/


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