Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thing 63: PDF Form-Filler Freeware

This discovery exercise has us looking at the Foxit Reader, a freeware alternative to the Adobe Reader. Why would you consider Foxit over Adobe? Because it allows you to fill out non-editable PDF files. Now you can have a professional looking application in no time. It's small enough to fit on a flash drive, Version 3.0's Installer: .exe, 3.69 MB, so you can take it with you anywhere. One negative, it will require you to install a toolbar on your web browser to download it. But you can hide it if you aren't going to use it. Also it likes Internet Explorer over Firefox.

But what caught my eye while I was using it is that it has a "Convert to PDF" option. I have Powerpoint presentations that I would like to convert to .pdf because .pdf makes the images more clear. You will need to install the PDF Creator portion of the Foxit Reader in order to use it. I wanted to see if my Powerpoint presentations would save horizontally instead of vertically like they did when I attempted to convert them using Zamzar. When I upload a .pdf file to Slideshare I can't rotate the layout to be landscape so all the slides looked like they were on their side. The Foxit Creator will add a red notice saying "Generated by Foxit PDF Creator. For evaluation only." mark at the top of each slide when you convert. When I uploaded it to Slideshare it did load horizontally but it changed my bullets to the letter "n" and my emotes to the letter "J". Also the hyperlinks associated with the presentation were lost. So after all of that I can't use Foxit Reader to convert my Powerpoint presentations to .pdf either.

If I know that a library patron has a flash drive or comes in with a laptop and needs to fill out a non-editable PDF file I will certainly recommend the Foxit Reader. Otherwise I'll recommend PDFescape if they do not. I will still recommend Zamzar for conversions to .pdf, just as long as you like the way it turns out! Thanks Foxit--this will be a lifesaver to many people at our branch!



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