FreePDF Printer Driver

Microsoft Windows versions prior to version 10 don't come with a built-in printer driver to create Portable Document Format (PDF) files from any application. You can find many free PDF printer driver programs on the Internet for Microsoft Windows systems, but you need to be very careful when installing many of them, since they come bundled with adware, though, if you choose a custom installion when installing the software, you may be able to avoid the adware being installed along with the software you want. E.g., the February 8, 2014 article Controversial Advertising Program Now Being Embedded in More Software mentions that PrimoPDF, which I've used in the past, is bundled with OpenCandy, adware software that many antivirus programs will flag. If you are careful during the installation, you should be able to avoid having any OpenCandy software installed as well as the PDF printer driver, though. PrimoPDF is not the only printer driver utility for Microsoft Windows systems that comes bundled with adware, though. The August 20, 2014 article by Justin Pot titled 7 Best Tools To Print To PDF lists other tools that will allow you to print to PDF from any application on a Microsoft Windows system that also come with adware, aka "crapware", e.g. CutePDF, which I've also used previously. Again, if you are careful during installation, you should be able to avoid installing the other sofware, though.

If you would like to avoid having to worry about inadvertently installing adware with such a tool, though, Stefan Heinz offers a free program, FreePDF, which I've used on a Microsoft Windows 8 system, that provides a printer driver that will allow you to print from any application run under Microsoft Windows to a PDF file. Unlike much of the other free PDF printer driver software, you don't need to worry about adware being installed with the software. The developer states at What is FreePDF:

Freepdf.exe really is free - no hidden costs and no advertising. No spyware, no automatic updates. Simply because I also do not like this in other "freeware".

The developer also notes "Freepdf.exe is , strictly speaking, a graphical user interface for Ghostscript." Ghostscript is a suite of software based on an interpreter for Adobe Systems' PostScript and Portable Document Format (PDF) page description languages. So you will need to install Ghostscript before installing FreePDF.

To use FreePDF, take the following steps:

  1. Download and install Ghostscript, which can be downloaded from Ghostscript Downloads. Select the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Ghostscript depending on whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows - see Determining if your version of Windows is a 32-bit or 64-bit version.

    For the 64-bit of Ghostscript 9.19 for Windows, the default installation directory is C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.19\, but you can select a different directory during installation.

    GPL Ghostscript - Choose
Install Location

  2. Download and start the installation of FreePDF by clicking on the exe file you downloaded. The English language version of the developer's website is at FreePDF.
  3. Click on the Setup button in the window that opens when you start the installation.

    FreePDF 4.14 Setup

  4. Click on the End button when the installation process reaches the 100% point.
    Wondershare PDF Editor

    FreePDF 4.14 Installed

That's all there is to installing the software. The software installs files in C:\Program Files (x86)\FreePDF_XP, including its manual, which is available as a PDF file in German and English.

I had a lot of applications open when I installed Ghostscript and FreePDF and needed to reboot the system after installing them. I didn't see a notification indicating the system needed to be rebooted, but nothing printed to a PDF file until after I did so. When I rebooted and logged in again, I then saw the FreePDF print options window.

To create a PDF file using the software, print from an application, but instead of printing to the printer you might normally print to, select "FreePDF" as the printer.

Aiseesoft PDF Converter Ultimate

FreePDF Printer

You will then see an options window where you can choose the "PDF Profile", which can be set to "eBook", "High Quality", or "Medium Quality". You can select a file name for the output PDF file and the location of where you wish to save it with "Save As".

FreePDF print options

If you wish to check the VirusTotal scan of the file used to install the software, the current report for a recent antivirus scan of the software is available at the VirusTotal site or as a 1.5 MB PDF file here. Of course, you can always upload a file you've downloaded to the site to get a more current scan. Information for the 4.14 version of the installation program is shown below:

SHA256: 1baab40705fd5ed3b01341fd1effac02803859431d50bd5e8026daedd8825dd6
File name: FreePDF4.14.EXE
Detection ratio: 0 / 55
Analysis date: 2016-06-05 14:14:35 UTC


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