Thursday, December 29, 2005

Creating PDF files for free

I have a problem. My company's HR system is going to be migrated to a new platform and the announcement from corporate office saying that everything will be fine. My problem is that I have had so much experience in Murphy's Law. Things will fall apart at the worst time... And my experience with data migration just scream that shit will happen and my HR data will be lost.

Now I don't mean to say that they are not going to pull it off, heck I can only imagine the kind of preparation they are doing to move such important data across platforms. But I would prefer it if I have hard evidence of my own Human Resource record backed up somewhere. I wouldn't want my salary suddenly shrunk and I got no proof to show for it.

Lucky for me that my HR records are available via web right now. It is an employee HR portal that you can login into and check those records. Past performance measurement, salary and upgrade records, yada yada yada.. hmm how do I back it up? Screen capture? Print them out? What I need is a good way to save the document and at the same time protect it from alterations. PDF document is definately the answer!

OK but I don't have Adobe PDF writer.. It costs a bomb and it is not part of the standard software for corporate use. Quick search on google and I landed on cutePDF website. SWEEEEETTTTT!!!!

CutePDF allows very easy PDF convertion of your documents. It works with the latest free ghostscript converter (important component) but cutePDF makes the job easier. You can download cutePDF from the website or here and the free ghostscript converter here .

It was so easy.. I just installed the ghostscript converter first and next comes cutePDF installation. The installation will create a new printer called CutePDF on your system and this is how you create PDF documents. You open up your documents in their native applications (eg. Html file in Internet Explorer or Firefox, word document in MS Word or even jpg images in photoshop) and select print... Now select the printer cutePDF and click print.. Printing on cutePDF printer will pop up a save dialog box. Enter a filename and voila! you file will be converted to PDF format.

So my problem solved. I converted those web pages of my HR records to PDF format and store them for save keeping. Since it is a PDF format, I can be sure that it will be viewable in PDF readers (eg Adobe PDF reader) and it is also protected against any modification. I can take this document to court if I have to :P.

Best thing is cutePDF is annoyance free.. No banner, no watermarks often associated with free converters. Those guys at cutePDF deserves a good pat on the back for this.

So folk, download cutePDF and start converting important documents for free.

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