“ Free online file conversion. „
Awful site. Riddled with pop-ups. Supposed to convert a document, sends you back a link to another pop up which starts scanning your Hard Drive and installing god knows what malicious spyware. Avoid like the plague. No star.
With the popularity of digital cameras & the ability to take good quality digital images from a mobile phone, it's never been easier to send instant pictures to friends & relations all over the world.
We are all like 'Japanese tourists' clicking away at the slightest thing & sending on our images via email or websites.
But what if you want to digitise an old photo from the pre digital age? You can easily scan an old picture but when it comes to sending it via email the recipient may not be able to see it as it's not visible until converted.
The same applies to certain documents that get sent to me from time to time, I can't see the attachments because they haven't been converted. In the past I would ask the sender to resend them but the problem remained as the sender was unsure of the problem in the first place.
However, all is not lost, there are many ways to get images & documents converted buy if you are like me & not that technically skilled with computers it may look like a daunting task.
Not so, thanks to a clever website you can now quite easily convert old files into a format most people will be able to see & best of all its generally free of charge.
Zamzar is a free conversion site that allows users to convert old photos or old documents so that they can viewed on most computers. You don't need software & you don't even need to register unless you intend to pay for their enhanced services.
It works like this: go to www.zamzar.com & have a look around their website, if you intend to convert numerous files then you would be best advised to register & pay for a fast download facility. However if you are like me & only need to convert a handful of files/photos you only need to give them your email address as they will send your conversion(s) to you via email.
I recently scanned some good quality old photos but they were too big & couldn't be viewed by my friends when I sent them via email.
I went onto Zamzar's website & clicked on convert files.
The next part is in four stages, stage one is to browse through your files on your computer to find the photo or document you want converted.
Once you click on it the name of the file should be transferred into the little box on the screen, however I did notice that sometimes this doesn't happen but it doesn't prevent you from going on to stage two.
Stage two asks you to choose the image or document file you want converted to, there are quite a lot to choose from but I clicked on jpeg for my photo.
Stage three asks for your email address & stage four is their terms & conditions plus the icon for downloading the converted file.
At this stage one converted file may take the good part of a couple of minutes to convert even with broadband but when its complete a message pops up to let you know they have emailed your converted file or photo.
You simply go to your mail box collect your email form Zamzar which can take up to five minutes to arrive & download your converted file from the link on the message they create.
You can choose to 'run it' or 'save it'; I chose 'save it' & filed it into my documents folder to use at a later date.
The conversion is spot on with no reduction in quality; it can be emailed & viewed at the other end without any problems, job done.
There are some issues though; it can be a slow process if you have a lot of documents or files you want converted. In this case you would be better off paying for the enhanced speedier service which can cope with bigger amounts of files to convert & store them on line if required.
For free you get 100mb file size, 5 concurrent conversions, no online storage, very basic priority conversions, minimum email response times & nothing else.
For $7 a month the storage is doubled, you get 7 concurrent conversions & a low priority (better than basic priority!) file conversion with a one week email support response time.
For $16 a month, storage is now 400mb, with 10 concurrent conversions, medium priority file conversions, a personal file inbox, a few other benefits plus a 4 day email response time.
The top of the range $49 a month package gives you 1gb storage, 15 concurrent conversions, high priority file conversions, personal inbox which you can manage, a few other benefits & a 2 day response time of email support
Other gripes? Well when they send your converted file via email you have to open it or save it within one day or its deleted & you need to start all over again.
Scanned images that are converted sometimes are left with a grainy look but that could be down to the quality of the original photos or damages caused by scanning & not the conversion.
Zamzar will also convert video files as well as photos & normal files.
Overall I would recommend Zamzar file conversions if you just want the odd photos or file converted & best of all its free without registering.
Developed by: The Zamzar Team
Type of site: Online Converting Tools
~ Overview ~
This website is state of the art technology and is a wonderful tool for converting all types of your documents. I tend to use this for converting Office 2007 documents which I cannot open as we only have Office 2003 at work which means we cannot open new 2007 Office files.
In a nutshell you upload your document you wish to convert, then choose the conversion type e.g. DOC from DOCX (Office 2007 file extension) and click the convert button. You can also download videos too as long as you have the URL of the video and the last option you can manage your files online (100 GB (Gigabytes) of space allocated to each user)).
~ Ease of use ~
The website is very user friendly and I found it very easy to navigate around the site without any problems occurring. Users can sign up for a quicker service which has a small premium attached but having tried the free version it is already super quick.
~ Graphics ~
The graphics are very basic and only has a picture of a chameleon which can easily change it colours which relates to the fact that you can convert your documents in a similar way. Each page has very little graphics and just does the job you require from the service. There are a few adverts but that's how they can continue to provide an excellent free service.
~ Hyperlinks ~
I tried clicking through all sections of the site and having done this on many occasions have not stumbled across and hyperlink errors (web links).
~ Page Loading Speeds ~
The home page is very quick to load up and so are the other webpage's on the site. The slowest page I found when clicking was the Blog page but maybe this is down to the extra graphical content on the page.
~ Sections of the site ~
Home page: The home page is just what you would expect, straight to the point with the conversion tool the main aspect of this page. You can click browse, find your document, then choose the conversion type, enter your email address and click convert - it's that quick!
Manage Files page: Here you will have to signup to use this service but here you will be able to manage your converted document/files. An excellent use I got out of this was saving and converting my YouTube videos.
Conversion Types page: I found this an excellent section of the site which enabled me to find what files/document types I could convert and found practically every file I could thing of could be converted.
Tools page: This part of the site just informs you of how to use the tool to convert the documents or files that need converting e.g. What is the tool, How do I get your newly converted file and how to use the tool.
Blog page: This page allows users to write about the tool and also to discuss new updates and new file which can be converted and tends to have more graphics here than the rest of the site.
FAQ (frequently Asked Questions) page: Like any other well designed website they all have frequently asked questions which speeds the process up to getting the answer to your questions about the tool or any concerns you have about uploading a confidential document.
Pricing & signup page: I found this very helpful when deciding what package to go for and is presented as a matrix table showing you the cost and what services are provided for your type of service. The more you pay the better the Zamzar service you get for your management of files and storage allocation.
~ Compatibility ~
Having tested this on several browsers I found no incompatibilities with the website. I used Firefox, Netscape and Internet Explorer and all performed well during my testing.
~ My Opinion ~
Overall without this I would have been stranded a couple of times with new office files which I cannot open in old Microsoft applications. Yes you can ask the person who sent the file from Office 2007 to go back and resave the document as a 2003 office file but that takes a lot longer sometimes trying to explain to someone how to do that. With this tool it takes a few minutes, and produces a good quality conversion of your file.
I don't just use the site for converting; I also use it to store lots of my files online and saves me time searching through my hard disk.
~ Conclusion ~
If you want to convert Microsoft Word documents or PDF document then this is the tool for you. Ever wanted to unlock your PDF and convert it to PDF so you can edit it, then this is the answer to your problems without the need for downloading updates for adobe acrobat software.
~ My Rating ~
So, a friend sends you a file which is important but it's in a format not supported by any software you own. You don't have time to ask for it in another format. What do you do? Convert it!
For me personally it was converting a PDF into an image file because Adobe Reader decided that it didn't want to print anything. I tried my favourite media-convert.com but it was unavailable.
I used zamzar.com (which a friend liked using) and uploaded the pdf. The amount of formats Zamzar supports are decent enough with quite a few popular document, image, video, audio and compressed archive formats. An annoying thing I noticed was their insistance to subscribe and pay them.The layout was simple enough and self explanatory, so I was able to do that easily. I waited for a processing information bar or a wait for conversion, then I remembered they send you a message by email when it's done.
Ok, so 5 minutes later, nothing there. 10 minutes later, nothing there...30 minutes later, nothing there... After an hour had passed I decided to say screw this and I downloaded a trial software which converted my file for me off-line. Since it was only about 200KB, it took only a matter of seconds, which was very useful, especially compared to the experience I was going to have with regards to time with Zamzar. I did manage to get satisfactory results from the software.
The next day, I received an email from Zamzar, telling me my upload was done. Great, I didn't even need it any more. The next day, out of curiosity, I went to see the quality of the conversion, but it says that they only keep converted files for a day, so that wasn't useful forever. Also, apparently subscribing members who pay quite a large fee get priority, this annoyed me as I thought it would be a good little free service. This goes $7 per month, $16 per month and $49 per month and the improvements with payments weren't that great to be honest, for example the $49 per month plan gives 1GB max filesize, 15 concurrent conversions, 100GB storage with file management, priority conversion, and SSL. All of these I didn't really need.
My friend who recommended it to me said that he had received good quality conversions although those were on videos.
It has always been a mystery to me why Microsoft created two suites of applications that do essentially the same thing. I'm talking about Office and Works. OK, Works is clearly the cheapo "productivity" suite and as such doesn't have as much under it's belt as the vastly more expensive Office but even so, I can't see why anyone would bother with Works when you have something like OpenOffice available or, the more recent Google Online Application - Docs - to create documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
I suppose most users start making use of Works simply because it often comes ready installed on new PCs. Certainly, on my wife's it did. It had a full copy of Works, without any time restrictions plus a copy of Office on a 90 day trial. Certainly we never bothered obtaining a licence for Office when the 90 days were up. We have better things to do with our money. I even tried de-installing it but, in usual MS fashion they make that almost impossible. It seems to infiltrate the computer's systems like a virus.
So, naturally, my wife started migrating to using Works; it seemed to her to have everything she needed, which really wasn't much. Not only that but for those relatively inexperienced computer users, it provides a seemingly convenient front-end to all the things you might want to use. This includes such as Outlook Express, for your email. Just fire up the Works Control Panel and everything is just a click away.
Wife's job entails her needing to write lots of documents so the Works equivalent of Word started getting a lot of use. Mostly my wife worked, at that time, from home so compatibility wasn't really an issue. So long as she could create the document she wanted and print it off on the home printer, that was all she needed. It was printed documents that she sent to anyone who wanted them, not the actual files.
Then her job changed a bit and instead of just working from home she also had an office base that she needed to visit from time to time. That meant that she needed to have access to the files that she had created at home but on a computer provided there for shared use.
One day I'm at home doing the vacuuming (I'm retired, my wife isn't) and I get an anguished call from my beloved. She's emailed to herself at the office a file she created at home and she can't open it; can I please send her another copy. I open up her laptop and ask which file she wants. I find it and email it to her (I really should have asked questions first). A quarter of an hour later I get another call; that one doesn't work either.
Now I start asking questions. I ask her what she's trying to use to open the file on the office machine. She doesn't know; it's the one on the machine for writing documents. My wife isn't the most computer literate person in the World! Eventually, after a lot of "look in here" and "tell me what it says there" type questions we confirm that the office machine has MS Office but not Works. The file she has emailed herself is in Works format.
So, now we have a problem. How do we get the document into a format that Office (Word) can understand. Now, of course, the correct question we should be asking is, why is it that MS has made it so that a document created with one of their products simply cannot be understood by another MS product which does pretty much the same thing. In fact, could it only ever be MS who does things like this? I know of no other.
Now, we tried lots of things. Firstly we tried saving the Works document in Word format. Works claims that it can do this. The only problem is, it doesn't actually work. The document I tried to save was 24Kbs in Works format. When Works had saved it in Word format it took up a simply unbelievable 75Mbs!!!!! I emailed it to my wife and that alone took an eternity. When she tried opening it in Word she told me that she went away to make a cup of coffee and when she got back Word was still trying to digest it! Clearly it was suffering from a bad case of indigestion and after half an hour she cancelled it.
We tried other formats such as Rich Text Format (RTF) but none of our attempts came out with any better results. Finally I installed PrimoPDF and "printed" the document in PDF format. At least she would be able to print it locally, even if she couldn't change it (without full Adobe Acrobat that is, although even the standard version costs over £300). Sorting out getting it into Word compatible format would have to wait.
We never did really solve that problem. In many cases it was a case of having to recreate the document using OpenOffice (which I had installed on her home laptop). OpenOffice can import a whole raft of different file formats but Works isn't one of them, even though they've been promising it. I understand that Sun's Star Office version of OpenOffice has the capability but that's chargeable whereas OpenOffice is free. Even Google Docs can't import Works files although it does understand Word.
That was, until the other day when I read a review here by alphason about a website called Zamzar. I read his very good review in high hopes but was disappointed to read that conversion from Works format seemed not to be included (and I commented as much).
Still, my interest was piqued and so I went there to take a look. When I did, much to my surprise I discovered that there, hidden amongst the page upon page of document, image, audio (Zamzar calls it music!), video and compressed file formats, there indeed was ".wps", MS Works format, and Zamzar would convert it into, amongst others, MS Word document format! Just exactly what I needed, but what sort of a job would it make of it? The only way was to give it a try.
I chose the very file that had given us such problems. Zamzar offers a free conversion service for files under 100Mbs in size and this wasn't even a fraction of that. For this free service you don't even have to register with Zamzar. On the home page, in the middle of the screen is a row of boxes that you fill in with the information Zamzar needs in order to do the conversion. There are three tabs, Convert Files, Download Videos and Manage Files. In my case I was going to Convert Files.
The first box (Step 1) asks you to identify the file to be converted. You can type the name in the box itself but you are more likely to use the "Browse..." button alongside it to find the file. Having selected your file from the normal Windows pop-up panel, the file chosen is then listed below the boxes. There is a "Remove" button alongside the file name so that you can change your mind. You can select more files to convert but the free service limits you to a maximum of 5 at a time.
Step 2 is to choose the format into which you want to convert the file. I selected "doc". Then in Step 3 you enter your email address so that you can be notified when the conversion is complete. Finally, Step 4 is the Convert button, above which is a link to Zamzar's Terms and Conditions for using their service. The page then changes to show a blue bar that indicates the progress of the upload of the file to be converted to Zamzar. That's followed by a "File Uploaded" webpage. Now all you have to do is wait.
Well, we waited... and waited... and waited...
Zamzar seems to take an interminable length of time to complete the conversion. I appreciate that this is a free service and that the website clearly states that this is a Beta implementation but, come on!!!! It was several hours later that the email announcing success arrived. As a service if you were desperately waiting for the converted file in order to get on with some work, it would have been a dismal failure. I'm guessing that whilst this is still a service in development they haven't dedicated a whole load of resource to carrying out the conversions. Whether or not this will change in time remains to be seen.
Zamzar has four classes of service from Free to Business at a monthly fee of $49. The free service offers no priority guarantee for conversion whilst Business offers "High" but doesn't state what High actually means. The two service in between (Basic and Pro), cost $7 and $16 respectively. It's not just the conversion priority that varies with cost. Maximum file size, number of concurrent conversions increase as well and with the paid versions you get to store your files on-line at Zamzar. For the free conversion they only offer to keep the converted files for 24 hours.
Well, the email finally arrived. The link it provided to the converted file enabled it to be downloaded to the local computer. The job it had made of the conversion was reasonable but lacking in several respects. For instance, although all the text was there and in pretty much the right places, some graphics were missing and most of all, the background pattern was entirely missing. Still it gave something to work on that didn't require us to start again from scratch. Some way to go before it's a perfect conversion though.
Most of all the resultant file hadn't ended up the simply stupid size that Works had created when it had tried to do the job. So, for the requirement at hand, Zamzar generally must be awarded a qualified success. In so far as it is the only means of which I know that converts Works files to other formats in any way shape or form, that makes it the only game in town!
Zamzar does seem to have a few unique features, such as the ability to do a conversion from a URL link to a website. One specific use for this is to convert videos directly from the YouTube website and other similar websites.
I have to confess that I cannot foresee any circumstances under which I would be likely to want to pay for one of Zamzar's upgraded services. The frequency with which we would need to convert a file format, this likely only ever to be Works, is limited and so we can live with the current slow turnaround and incomplete conversion. Anyway, my wife is now finally using OpenOffice at home and with that you can save the files it creates in any number of formats, including MS Word.
As it is, I am pleased to have found Zamzar. It's partially cured a nasty headache. Thanks, Dr alphason.
Zamzar is a really handy online utility that allows you to convert various types of files into other types. For example you may have an Adobe pdf document that you wish to convert into Microsoft word format, well this is what you do..
Navigate your browser to www.zamzar.com, fill in each of the 3 boxes
Step 1: Browse PC for file to convert or input url of website;
Step 2: Select the type of file you wish it to be converted to;
Step 3: Enter an email address.
Now with this free account you will receive an email anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours later with a link to download your newly converted document. Easy hey?
Zamzar supports many file types and you can convert between most of them. Here is a list for each different type of file - you can get full details about the meanings of the file extensions from the site.
csv, doc, docx, odp, ods, odt, pdf, ppt, pptx, ps, pub, rtf, wpd, wps, xlx, xlsx.
bmp, gif, jpg, pcx, png, tga, tiff, wbmp.
aac, ac3, flac, m4a, mp3, ra, ram, wav, wma.
3g2, 3gp, avi, flv, gvi, m4v, mp4, mov, mpg, rm, rmvb, vob, wmv.
7z, tar.bz2, cab, lzh, rar, tar, tar.gzh, yz1, zip.
A basic file conversion is free, but heavy users may wish to subscribe in order to get faster and larger conversions:
Maximum 100 MB file size, 5 concurrent conversions.
$7-$49 per month, 200- 1 GB file sizes, 7-15 concurrent conversions, priority to convert of free accounts, faster e-mail support, ability to rename files.
I have used this service many times and have always had pretty good results, delivery to my email is usually fairly quick even just using the free accounts. The only problem I have sometimes had is when converting documents with images, sometimes the text is fine but the images are formatted wrongly.
For a free solution this is great - you don't even have to register. I know there are other programmes available for conversions but this is just so easy for the occasional user who does not want the hassle of finding and downloading other applications. If you were to be a heavy user though maybe other solutions would suit you better.