PDF remains one of the most helpful file formats in the office environment but finding a free PDF converter that fits your needs perfectly can be tricky. Unfortunately, a PDF viewer does not provide the capabilities to edit and personalize PDF files when required.
This obstacle often leads people to purchase additional software so they can maximize all PDF features.
However, these types of software may cost a business more. Users might need to pay for it before installation or signing up for a membership that bills monthly, making PDF a less popular choice for some.
The good news is that there’s another option. You can easily use the PDF file format and edit the documents without paying additional fees – while still saving time – with the help of a free PDF converter.
Read on to find out more about PDFs, converters, and how to choose the right tools.
What Is a PDF Document? And Why Use It Anyway?
PDF is the acronym for “Portable Document Format.” The .pdf file extension on these documents makes them read-only for easy distribution. PDFs are commonly used for documents that do not require edits, such as application forms, scanned documents, and business proposals.
Adobe created the file format in the 1990s to achieve two things:
- Opening important documents on any operating system or hardware using a PDF reader, including most web browsers
- Maintaining the layout of the document wherever the receiver opens the PDF file
In 2008, Adobe relinquished control of PDF development to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Since then, PDF has become an open standard.
Benefits of PDFs
PDF is an excellent file format for most business documents. It offers users several distinct benefits, including:
- Maintaining graphic integrity – PDF files show the exact content and layout no matter the software app, device, or operating system someone is using to view it.
- Multi-dimensionality – PDF allows the integration of various content in a document. These include images, text, videos, audio files, hyperlinks, vector graphics, buttons, and more.
- Convenience – PDFs are easy to create, read, and use.
- Security – The file format offers options for setting up different access levels to protect document content, such as digital signatures, passwords, and watermarks.
- Compactness – PDF can theoretically hold an unlimited amount of information and be compressed into file sizes that are easy to exchange with retaining control over the image quality.
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Types of PDFs
PDFs are categorized into three basic types depending on their origination. The file’s origin also defines if the content is accessible or “locked” into an image.
Digitally Created or “True” PDFs
These are PDFs created using software, such as the Microsoft Office Suite, Google Docs, or through the print function of a virtual printer. Digitally created PDFs can comprise images and text.
Characters in the text and file meta-information contain electronic character designation. This makes it easy to use software to search, select, edit, or delete text in the document. You can also move, resize, or delete the images.
Scanned or “Image-Only” PDFs
Scanning hard copy documents on office scanners and multi-functional printers (MFPs) or converting images into a PDF “locks” the content in a snapshot-like picture. These files contain the photographed images of pages without the underlying text layer.
Scanned PDFs are not searchable, and you can’t modify the text. Image-only PDFs can be made searchable by applying optical character recognition (OCR), adding a text layer under the page image.
Searchable PDFs result from applying OCR to scanned PDFs or any other image-based documents. A text recognition process involves analyzing and “reading” characters and the structure of the document.
A text layer is usually added under the image layer. Searchable PDFs are almost indistinguishable from their source documents but are fully searchable. The text can also be selected, copied, and marked.
Text recognition technology is applied in various ways during the document conversion process. These include:
- Through a desktop OCR software, web-based service, or mobile app
- Using a server-based OCR solution
- Integrating into the scanning device
- Using a PDF tool, scanning, or opening the document
- What Is a PDF Converter and What Does It Do?
- The market has many PDF readers and apps that let users open and view PDF files. But making changes to the PDF files requires something more advanced. PDF editors allow adding electronic signatures, watermarks, text modification, and several other changes.
Benefits of a Free PDF Converter
A PDF converter is a critical tool for any business going digital. It is important business users get a document conversion tool that offers many features to get the job done and save time. Here are a few benefits of high-quality PDF converters.
Secure Business Data Storage
A PDF converter quickly transforms documents to PDF and vice versa. The security options built into PDFs make them an excellent choice for long-term file storage.
Businesses can keep their financial records safe and secure in password-protected PDFs with advanced encryption. Plus, administrators can choose who they share the information with and can access the records.
Easy Paper-to-Digital Conversion
A PDF converter can make adding paper documents into digital storage faster. Instead of typing things by hand, scanning the documents is more convenient. Plus, OCR adds the capability to recognize text in seconds and allows businesses to enter the digital age quickly.
PDF files are compatible universally. So, keeping documents usually required in PDF format enables quick sending and sharing through email.
However, PDF readers usually cannot support rich text. A PDF converter allows fast editing of a document in Word or Excel formats.
Improved Electronic Signature Technology
A PDF converter will allow sending files directly to a customer’s inbox for signing. Converters also allow e-signing bills from suppliers.
All that is required is opening the PDF file in an editor and clicking the “E-Sign” option. Users can append their stored signatures or use their fingers to sign the document.
Efficient Document Editing
Conversion of JPEG, PNG, XLSX, DOCX, and other file formats can save plenty of time for annual document updates. For example, PDF to XLSX allows using Microsoft Excel tools to calculate data and change figures automatically. Once done, the converter turns the document back into a PDF for long-term storage.
These benefits are a major boon for coordinating different departments in the office. When employees share information seamlessly, they get more done faster and without mistakes. An ideal PDF converter allows the storage and retrieval of data to and from PDFs in seconds.
What Can You Do With a Free PDF Converter
A free PDF converter offers access to various functions, including document conversions, delivery tracking, Google Drive/Dropbox integration, and basic document analytics.
What can you get in an all-in-one document toolkit for business?
Word to PDF Converter
MS Word is one of the most popular word processors. However, even loyal users can use a free Word to PDF converter when sending sensitive documents because Word docs are easily altered, whereas PDFs are not.
Here are more reasons for converting Word documents to PDF:
- MS Word reformats documents opened on a different computer;
- The references can be mismatched, which can be a problem for a report or eBook writer;
- Multiple MS Word versions make opening files in older versions difficult;
- Different word processors handle documents differently, while PDF is a universal file extension;
- And PDF documents are mobile device friendly.
Image to PDF Converter
A JPG to PDF converter makes it easy to share many images online. Image to PDF is the norm for individuals and organizations that handle large amounts of multimedia each day.
Sharing the document created by a free JPG to PDF converter also ensures that the recipient does not have to sift through the JPEG files.
Services such as PowerPoint allow users to embellish their documents with photos for sharing with others on the web. However, the user can also convert PPT to PDF online and create a professional-looking photo album.
A free JPG or PNG to PDF converter allows you to store images in a better resolution without compromising the image quality. The converter compresses the actual image size and ensures the pixels are not disturbed.
How to Choose the Right Free PDF Converter Tool for Your Needs
A reliable PDF converter is a handy tool. Unfortunately, there are tons of online tools all over the internet, each offering a different conversion and service quality.
Here is a roundup of things to consider before choosing a free converter tool and get closer to the right one.
The User Requirements
The first step involves re-evaluating whether a workspace needs PDF software to fill the gaps. An excellent way to evaluate requirements involves:
- Finding out if the business or individual is in an industry that relies heavily on PDF documents
- Assessing the frequency of the individual or business sends out sensitive information to clients or work colleagues
- Discovering whether colleagues expect more out of PDF files than mere viewing
- Establishing whether you need to frequently convert your data from PDF to MS Excel or Word
The PDF format is the de facto standard for sharing and storing critical business information, meaning the number of people depending on the format is growing each day.
Such an audience requires some help from a PDF software solution capable of performing many tasks. After all, not having the proper tool for the job when it is needed can throw a wrench into the works.
The conversion quality of a file is a critical consideration for any user. A good document or image converter will keep all the qualities and characteristics of the original, including font effects, page layout, and image quality.
The last thing a busy user needs is a PDF converter that takes ages to process documents. Relatively slow online and offline converters can cause some inconvenience.
The speed of an offline converter depends on the computer’s configurations and software performance. Thus, it may be slower than a free online PDF converter.
You can convert PNG to PDF online, depending on the server’s performance, internet speed, and file size. Compressing extensive files before uploading them to an online PDF converter can help improve processing speeds.
Businesses occasionally need to convert their files in a batch. That is why batch conversion is critical. A user should not waste time waiting for the first file to finish before transforming other files.
Some online PDF converters allow you to convert multiple files in a batch, saving you even more time.
Easy Steps to Follow
The best providers of online PDF converter free services understand the urgency of each task. They make sure that their services are convenient for all types of users. It should take a few simple steps to convert, edit, protect, and recover a PDF online.
General steps include:
- Uploading the file on the online platform and automatically reads the file.
- Making the necessary personalization.
- Clicking on a button to proceed with tasks such as splitting, merging, or converting files.
- A brief wait for the process to finish and download the file on a computer.
A stable internet connection and a functional device are all you need to convert Word to PDF online, convert JPG to PDF online, and other conversions to PDF.
Various Features and Tools
Aside from converting Microsoft Office documents and image files to PDF, a good free PDF converter also provides access to various features and tools:
- Editing contents of a PDF file
- Protecting the PDF file with a password
- Combining or merging multiple PDF documents
- Seamless integration with Dropbox or Google Drive
- Conversion of hundreds of pages to PDF using a free converter
- Sharing the file with a team
- Inviting a team to access the converted files
- Deleting unnecessary pages in a PDF file
- Adding personalization features such as a watermark or page number
Such a platform provides an all-in-one tool for all business or individual PDF needs.
Type of Software
Most online PDF software may seem to offer the same functionalities, but this is not true. There is much more to consider.
You need to analyze your PDF workflow and get a better understanding of it. Some questions to help determine the type of software required include:
- Do daily tasks require adding functionalities or information to PDF files?
- How often does the team share PDF documents?
- Is the business working with PDF documents that contain confidential information?
The answers will give an excellent idea of the PDF converter an individual or business needs. However, this will also depend on your industry or field.
If you often transfer data from PDF to other file formats, you might look for PDF converter solutions. Likewise, consider a PDF editor if you handle PDFs that require modifications, such as adding a signature or creating and filling interactive forms.
A varied PDF workflow that does not focus on a single PDF functionality may require an umbrella solution providing a complete set of features.
No Installing or Downloading Software
Running all the processes online means users do not need to install or download anything on their computers, saving some space on work devices.
Accessible Anywhere, Anytime
The best tool means users can convert PPT to PDF online, for example, at any time and anywhere. An online PDF converter is accessible regardless of whether the user is on a computer or mobile device.
Free PDF Converter Security
The operating process of an online PDF converter depends on internet servers. It is important to ensure that the platform has an auto-deletion feature for uploads you no longer require to not accidentally upload files to the internet.
Providers such as Sizle use 256-bit SSL encryption to protect documents shared across teams. This security means no shared personal information, and no one can access loaded files apart from those designated by the administrator.
Customer Support Service
A good and genuine free PDF converter online provider offers all-around customer support service through various means like emails, forms, and social media. Go for developers that provide the best-in-class service after delivery of the tool.
Look at Customer Reviews
Potential users should spare some time to read customer reviews and feedback regarding the tool. The information is usually available on the provider’s platform. Reviews and feedback help users are at peace with the fact that they have made the right decision. View Sizle reviews on Capterra, GetApp and SoftwareAdvice.
Some PDF converters are free, but others may require payment for advanced services and unlimited usage. Always try out the free version first and carefully evaluate the advanced functions premium users get. Premium plans include unlimited conversions, advanced document analytics, and even bulk conversions.
Paid options do not always outshine free PDF converters. It is up to you to decide whether the product matches its requirements and price.
Wrap Up and Choosing A Free PDF Converter
Using a free PDF converter is a smart business move because of the time and money saved. Solutions like Sizle offer a simplified ability to convert documents and images to PDFs. It can also help add security abilities to PDFs and ease sharing with a team, so users spend more time delivering excellent customer service.