Printing a PDF vs. Creating a PDF

There is no shortage of reasons to use PDF files as a way to share documents. Especially nowadays when you don’t even need enterprise level PDF software in order to turn a text document, spreadsheet or even web page into a shareable file that anyone can read regardless of their operating system or other software suite. People can create PDF files using any number of PDF printers that are available on the web, many for free.

While using a PDF printer serves as a good solution for cheap and easy PDF file creation, it lacks many of the features that a good pdf software solution has to offer.

The PDF Printer

The thought behind this solution is rather simple. If you want to create pdf files, you need only download the software application and install it onto your computer. When you want to turn a document into a PDF file, simply print the file as normal but select the PDF printer application from your list of installed printers. The document is then saved to a location on your computer. Where you save the document or what you name the file are based on the configuration settings and the features included in the software. Et voila! You have a freshly created PDF file.

When people are using different computing platforms or different office suite software, this solution makes it possible for them to share files with one another. In some instances, these types of “printed” PDF files can prevent others from editing or changing the content of the file making this an attractive option if you want some level of security.

Creating a PDF File

Another option is to use PDF software that allows you to access a full range of features not available when you’re using a printer to create PDF files. The process of creating documents using PDF software compares to that of any other type of word processing software such as Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Writer or Pages for Mac OS X.

Much like their counterparts, PDF software solutions such as Foxit PhantomPDF allow sharing and editing of documents, but you get a variety of other features, such as:

  • The ability to insert fillable forms
  • Integration with common collaboration solutions
  • Compliance with industry standards
  • The ability to search content
  • Document encryption for better security
  • Integration with digital signatures allowing users to sign/approve electronic documents without having to print them on paper

These features are generally not available using PDF printers.

Lack of adoption across the enterprise

Many decision makers may still be under the impression that today’s PDF software requires users to first create their documents in other software such as a word processor or spreadsheet application and then export their documents as PDF files as the final step. While this was once true, it’s no longer the case.

Solutions like Foxit PhantomPDF give organizations the ability to create a document, apply a layout and edit the document all from within the PDF software application. There’s no need to work between multiple programs to create a file that is going to end up as a PDF in the end. From start to finish, across any platform, when the benefits of PDF are your goal—universality, security, searchability and more—a PDF software solution can be your answer.


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