CUPS-PDF - A free virtual PDF printer

Aug 28, '07 12:23:00PM

Contributed by: robg

The macosxhints Rating:

[Score: 10 out of 10]

CUPS-PDF is a free little package that was mentioned back in March in this hint as part of a solution to batch converting Word documents to PDF. However, CUPS-PDF is actually an amazingly useful little add-on for nearly anyone who regularly prints to PDF. CUPS-PDF installs a "virtual" PDF printer, which you can then select and use just as you would a normal printer. When you print a job to the virtual PDF printer, the output shows up in a cups-pdf folder on your desktop.

Yes, you can do exactly the same thing by clicking the PDF button in the Print dialog, then selecting Save as PDF from the drop-down menu. But CUPS-PDF makes the process much faster and easier. With the built-in solution, you have to not only click a button and choose a menu item, you then have to pick a name and save location for the resulting file. CUPS-PDF print jobs are always named after the document that you printed (prefixed by a job number), and they're automatically saved to the cups-pdf folder on your desktop. So if you set the virtual PDF printer as your default, you can print to a PDF by just pressing Command-P then Return. This makes it a snap to convert a number of existing documents, or to easily save all your web receipts during an extensive online shopping trip.

Another way to use your virtual printer is to make a desktop printer out of it (in Printer Setup Utility). Store it in your dock for fast access, and then just drag and drop print jobs to it when you need something turned into a PDF. And yes, Adobe Acrobat Pro includes a virtual PDF writer ... but this solution is completely free, works very well, and integrates perfectly into the Print dialog. Well worth a look if you're a heavy user of PDF printing.

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