Installing a PDF Printer Driver

Bridget, up in Ottawa, asked how she could save her songs as Acrobat PDF files so she could easily share them with her ukulele groups. Well, this isn’t built into UkeGeeks, however, it’s a fairly easy task to install a “printer driver” that’ll work with any program, including your web browsers (we’re talking Windows here, I believe that it’s built into Apple’s OSx)

(Aside: when you print the “printer driver” is that piece of software running in the background that translates what’s on the screen to a language your printer can understand. So an Acrobat/PDF driver just diverts that translated page to a new PDF file instead of out to your printer. Thus it appears as one of your printer choices — super convenient.)

So I’ll admit it at the outset: I didn’t search around much, but “PDF Creator” got OK reviews on CNnet and I tried it on my office machine (no way I’d risk this poor home machine) and it seemed fine for our needs. Most importantly — the uninstaller worked! For the record, Ludlow uses CutePDF and is quite happy with that.

Go to PDF Forge and download PDF Creator (see warning!)

While I love that advertising makes much of the online world free, I nonetheless don’t trust installers that directly or through stealth install extra “partner” software — so we’re going to do an “advanced” install and disable a few options.

Update: Warning!The latest version of PDF Creator really stretches my tolerance for deceptive installers, so if you’re going to install it please, read the buttons carefully and don’t allow them to trick you into installing waste-ware: crappy, barely legal, and wholly unethical software.  (January 2013)

Here’s the steps I followed for my installation (why so many? it’s free 😀)

  1. Once you’ve chosen “English” as your language (assuming here) you’ll see the “Welcome Screen” — we’re choosing Expert Settings, so check that box and continue (Next). (see Welcome Screen above)
  2. Of course we accept the TOS (“Terms of Service”, that scary license agreement no one reads). Next…
  3. Make sure you have Standard Installation (not server) selected.
  4. Name of printer — fine, accept the default
  5. Location (probably “C:\Program Files (x86)\PDFCreator”) so who cares, cool.
  6. Ahhhhhhhh! The screen we’ve been waiting for! (see Select Components screenshot above). Uncheck “PDF Architect” and “COM Samples”. Everything else should be OK
  7. Shortcuts are fine…
  8. Desktop icon sounds nifty… sure!
  9. NO AVG Security Toolbar!!!! We hate toolbars. They slow stuff down browsers, take up lots of real estate  and… well, they suck. So choose Custom Installation and do not check any of the options (as shown)
  10. That’s it (finally)… just click install

Now open a web page or any document on your computer and try printing. Choose “PDFCreater” from your printer list. A dialog box will open that allows you to add extra meta-info to your file and choose where to save it.

Hope that helps.

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