Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
PDF files are a convenient and easy way to save documents for viewing almost anywhere. If you can print a document, you can create a PDF of it.
Some time ago, I decided to go as paperless as I could. My recommendation of the ScanSnap document scanner was a big part of that and it allowed me to completely empty three drawers of my four-drawer file cabinet, saving documents digitally instead.
Once you're in the habit of creating PDFs from paper documents, the ease with which PDFs can be used, saved, searched, and, perhaps most importantly, backed up becomes readily apparent.
As a result, I've also cut down on the amount of actual printing that I do by changing my default printer to the free Cute PDF Writer virtual printer.
It's not at all uncommon to want to save something, say a sales receipt from an on-line purchase, by printing it. But it's rare that you actually need to save it on paper. Instead, I print to the Cute PDF Writer printer which creates a PDF of the printed output that I save on my computer. If I need to actually print it to paper, either now or sometime in the future, I can simply load up that PDF in a viewer, such as Acrobat or Foxit, and print to my real printer from there.
Here, you can see the printers that I have installed on my desktop computer:
While you can see that there is a "real" printer installed for when I need it, the default printer is CutePDF Writer.
Now, when I print something, say a web page that I'm viewing in Firefox, the Print dialog first shows me that Cute PDF Writer is the printer:
Once I actually press OK to print, Cute PDF Writer displays the Save dialog so that I can specify the location and file name of the final PDF:
You can then open your newly created PDF document in your PDF reader:
It's as simple as that. And the beauty is that any document that you can print can also be printed to PDF. Save receipts, archive email, collect web pages for research, share whatever you find ... whatever you can think of, Cute PDF Writer might well be a useful and tree-saving tool.
I recommend it.
(This replaces my original recommendation PDF Creator published May 5th 2009. Due to "foistware", I can no longer recommend PDF Creator.)
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