Printing to non-native formats

All of the Office applications have a familiar and easy-to-use print feature. Still, many of us use Adobe's Acrobat Reader for its advanced features. None of the Office applications support Acrobat Reader's PDF format. If you need to share Office data in PDF format, one solution is Acro Software's CutePDF Writer.

CutePDF is useful for several reasons:

It's free.

It's easy to install, but be sure to use the Administrator account to do so.

It works with all Office applications (Windows 98 and later and 64-bit editions)

Once installed, CutePDF acts as a printer. There's no need to learn new tricks. Simply print the document as you normally would. Instead of choosing an actual printer, choose CutePDF Writer. The utility then exports and saves the data to a PDF file.

To download CutePDF Writer, visit and click the Free Download link. This 1.54 MB download took just a moment over DSL. If you're still on dial-up, you can expect the download to take about five minutes. The license is flexible, but be sure to review it, just in case.

Before installing CutePDF, turn off any virus protection software you're running in the background. Then, simply double-click the downloaded file (cuteprinter.exe). An installation wizard will walk you through the process. Don't forget to turn your virus protection back on once you've installed CutePDF. (You might need to download a conversion file, but the installation wizard will prompt you. This addition file took twelve minutes over dialup.)

Once you install CutePDF Writer, your work's done. CutePDF Writer is as easy to use as a built-in feature. Open any Office document, such as an Access report, an Excel worksheet, a Word document, a PowerPoint presentation, or even an Outlook e-mail message. Then, choose Print from the File menu, as you normally would to print. View the available printeres from the Name control's dropdown list, select CutePDF Writer from the list, and click OK. In the resulting Save As dialog box, give the file a name and click Save. That's all there is to it.

CutePDF Writer is available to most Windows-based applications. A quick test found it available in InfoPath, Publisher, and FrontPage.

I’ve found CutePDF Writer flawless. What’s everyone else using?


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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