PDF is one of the most popular formats for exchanging documents on the Internet. PDF (Portable Document Format) was once an Adobe exclusive format but was then liberalized so anyone can create PDF files without copyright restrictions. In the latest version of Microsoft Office you can save a document in PDF.
Le virtual printers they are gods programs that install a fake printer on the computer for the purpose of converting a document or web page into a PDF file. Fake in the sense that the printer does not really exist, it is only the Windows PC that believes it. These programs serve a save any type of document in PDF format taking advantage of the printing functionality that any program that opens text files on your computer has.
Then, to create a pdf from a word document, a web page, an Excel table or whatever you want, that's enough press the Print button and choose as printer, not the default and real one but the virtual PDF Printer which then starts the program to save a new file.
NOTE: On a Windows 10 PC you don't need to install a PDF printing program because you can save any document or image in PDF thanks to a feature already built into Windows 10.
Di free programs to create pdf there are many but only a few can be considered "best virtual printers".
Some of them are in fact limited versions of paid programs while others contain advertisements. Furthermore, between a virtual printer and another there are differences in options and the pdf file created can be more or less large or optimized, protected, etc. It is therefore necessary to exclude from the list some famous programs such as PrimoPDF and CutePDF that bring with them sponsor programs to the limit of spyware.
I also exclude the famous pdf995 because the free version is a bit limited.
I best free programs that install a virtual printer on Windows to create a pdf from a document or web page I'm:
1) PDFCreator is perhaps the mbetter than free virtual printers (open source), with a really simple interface and also lots of advanced options for experts. The great thing about PDFCreator is that it also has a server installer that can be configured on the print server and then used across an entire corporate or home network, without having to install it on every single computer. If you don't need all the features of BullZip, this might be the best option for a small business network.
Among the additional functions: you can protect the document with a password, you can merge multiple files together, you can set a different quality, you can put a digital signature and you can create a PDF file or even a PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS.
2) BullZip PDF Printer it is a very simple program but richer in features important for a pdf printer: ability to password protect PDF files, ability to encrypt PDF files, ability to add a waterwark (a recognition watermark), ability to merge multiple PDFs and merge them into one, ability to choose output quality (and therefore minimize the size) and the ability to edit metadata. BullZip PDF Printer and creates PDF, PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS files. Compared to the other programs, it is not free for everyone but only for personal or commercial use up to 10 users.
3) doPDF it was my favorite program a few years ago to convert Office files to PDF, today I could say that it gets better.
It is a fast tool that generates smaller, compressed PDF files with settings for choosing visual quality.
4) PDF Printer (PdfSvg) allows you to see a print preview and has no other additional options.
5) PDF reDirect is a more complex program for beginners but with many useful preferences to customize the creation of the file, encrypt it and merge multiple pdfs into one.
6) pdf24 Creator It allows create PDFs or print documents and web pages in PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS format.
It supports encryption and allows you to put a digital signature. You can print with 4 different qualities, which is very useful for choosing the file size and viewing the images. PDF24 Creator is one of the best for simplicity and functions.
7) qvPDF is a free, open source program that creates pdfs that are also password protected and encrypted.
You can also put a watermark or logo overlay and there are options to increase the quality or not.
8) ImagePrinter and PDFlite, lacking in options but simple programs to use.
The three best free pdf programs are PDF Creator, BullZip PDF Printer and PDF24 Creator.
If you have a different opinion, feel free to leave a comment!
In another article, the best programs to manage and work pdf and those to open pdf on the pc
Best virtual printers to create pdf from documents and web pages, free for Windows