Survive This Tax Season? Start Organizing Next Year’s Tax Documents Now!

If you’re like most of us, there’s nothing like the looming deadline of April 15th to rouse you into organizing your tax documents.  Every year, I think I should have a better system of organizing my files to make it easier for the following year.  While not perfect, I have made some progress through the use of a couple free Adobe apps, combined with the use of Win2PDF.  Here’s one system I use:

Adobe Reader DC

First off, I rely on the free Adobe Reader DC software for my desktop PC, laptop, and even my Apple computer.  The “DC” designation in this software stands for Document Cloud.  It requires you to sign up for a free Adobe login to access the Adobe Document Cloud, but once you do, you’ll be able to access your saved PDF files from any device.

Adobe Scan (for iOS or Android)

adc-adobe-scan-app-enhance-feature-450x500-en.jpeg.imgSecond, I’ve really come to rely on the very handy Adobe Scan app on my phone (it’s available both through the Apple App Store or from the Google Play Store).

As the Adobe introduction page points out, “Adobe Scan automatically captures and cleans picture-perfect images of anything — receipts, forms, pictures, business cards, notes. Then, using built-in optical character recognition (OCR), it transforms them into smart PDFs, available in Adobe Document Cloud. Now, they’re easy to search and share from anywhere.

With those 2 applications (plus Win2PDF) I can do a bunch of things to organize my tax documents (or any other documents).  Here’s one suggestion for storing charitable donation receipts:

  1. Scan paper receipts for charitable contributions (donation receipts, mailed letters, etc.) using Adobe Scan with your phone and save the files to the cloud.
  2. On the desktop PC, access these files using the Adobe Document Cloud (via Adobe Reader DC).
  3. Use Win2PDF to append any additional electronic documents (email receipts, other PDF files, etc.) and combine all of the charitable contribution receipts for the year in a single PDF file (e.g., to a file called “Charitable Tax Receipts 2019.pdf”).
  4. Keep this document stored in the Adobe Document Cloud (or any other cloud service like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) and keep adding to it throughout the year as you make contributions and collect receipts.
  5. When April 15, 2020 rolls around you’ll have a complete electronic file of your receipts.  Voilà!
  6. And, as a bonus, you can use the new Win2PDF command line features to extract specific pages or print specific pages if you need to in the future.

This works well for charitable contributions, but I also have been using it for non-tax purposes as well, such as:

  • Medical expenses and prescriptions
  • Home improvement expenses
  • My dog’s veterinary bills (and medical history)
  • Keeping a copy of Christmas cards we receive each year (while recycling all of the paper)
  • Recipes
  • Concert ticket stubs

You get the idea.  Just scan and save from your phone, organize everything from your desktop, and store you collection of PDF files in the cloud.  And best of all this is all FREE!  Which is a very nice thing to consider, especially after tax season…

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At Your Command — New Win2PDF Command Line Options

One of the most frequently requested features we’ve had over the years has been for a command line option to Win2PDF that allows existing PDF files to manipulated in a variety of ways. Well, the wait is over. Our most recent 10.0.48 release (a free upgrade to registered Win2PDF 7 or later customers) now has this PDF Command Line capability via our Win2PDF Desktop app.

win2pdf command lineWhat can you do with PDF command line options? Lots of things, including:

Download the latest version and try these new features today. As always, if you have any questions or issues using these new features, let us know at our support site.

Posted in Downloads, Win2PDF 10, Win2PDF Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The PDF Pro Tip That Could Have Saved Paul Manafort’s Lawyers From Regret

We just released a free update to Win2PDF (version 10.0.40) that has a new feature that could have been useful for Paul Manafort’s lawyers, as this Wired article explains.

“The latest reminder came this week, when [Paul Manafort’s] defense lawyers failed to sufficiently redact portions of a court filing submitted on Tuesday, responding to Robert Mueller’s claims that Manafort violated his plea agreement with the special counsel by lying to prosecutors.”

What is the new feature?  Well, it’s a enhancement to our Win2PDF Desktop app that allows you to extract all of the text from a PDF file and then save the results to a simple TEXT file.  All you need to do is drop the PDF file on the Win2PDF Desktop icon and then select ‘Extract Text‘ from the pop-up menu shown below.

extract_text

This would have turned the following redacted Manafort court document (shown as a PDF file):

manafort1

into this TEXT file:

manafort2

You can see that the redacted text in the PDF file converted completely to readable text in the text file.

This feature, obviously, wasn’t created for the purpose of exposing redacted text, but it does exemplify a case where it would have been useful.  We’ve had many other customers who were looking for an easy way to convert PDF documents into TEXT files for other business purposes.

You can download the latest update (free for licensed Win2PDF 7 or Win2PDF 10 users) from our support download page.

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New Win2PDF 10.0.39 Update – available now!

We just release a new updated version of Win2PDF and Win2PDF Pro (version 10.0.39) that includes bug fixes and stability improvements as well as a couple of new features.

jpg2000

Screenshot of Win2PDF’s new compression option

First, for both Win2PDF and Win2PDF Pro, the new version will support JPG2000 compression. When the “Optimize Image File Size using JPEG2000” option is enabled, color images in the PDF are compressed using the JPEG 2000 format. This can result in significant reductions in file size, but it can also reduce the quality of some types of color images and can slow the conversion process. The option is disabled by default.

JPG2000 file sizes

PDF files created with Win2PDF’s JPG2000 compression can be significantly smaller than the default file size.

Win2PDF 10.0.39 also improves text quality for the “PDF Image Only – monochrome” format.

Second, for Win2PDF Pro, the new version supports the strongest level of 256-bit AES encryption available for PDF encryption.  Previously, Win2PDF only supported 128-bit AES encryption.  [Note:  The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a specification for the encryption of electronic data established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001, and has been adopted by the U.S. government and is used worldwide.]

The 256 bit AES encryption is compatible with Adobe Reader 9.0 and above. For best security, the 256 bit encryption option is recommended.

The Win2PDF 10.0.39 release is a free update to registered Win2PDF users (versions 7 and higher). You can download this free update from our web pages here:

https://www.win2pdf.com/download/download.htm

Standard Win2PDF users should only download and install using the “Download Win2PDF” button.  Win2PDF Pro users should only download and install using the “Download Win2PDF Pro Service Pack” button. 

If you have any questions or encounter any issues with this new version, please contact us through our support page.

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Is your PDF Reader up-to-date?

Just a reminder to anyone receiving or opening PDF files: keep your PDF Readers up-to-date with new patches.  Adobe Reader announced an update to address 86 security vulnerabilities.  Similarly, Foxit Reader announced an update to address 118 vulnerabilities.

adobepdficon

As this article from ZDNet explains,

“Adobe’s scheduled October update for its Acrobat and Reader PDF software addresses 85 vulnerabilities, including dozens of critical flaws that allow arbitrary code execution … Users and admins nonetheless should install fixed versions, according to Adobe…”

Halloween is still almost a month away, so make sure you keep the scary stuff away from your computer until then.

Adobe’s security bulletin (with link to update).

Foxit Reader security bulletin (with link to update).

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What’s up with all of the revised privacy policies I’m getting these days?

Have you been getting a lot of email notices for updated privacy policies? Well, it’s not a coincidence. Many companies are updating or clarifying their online privacy policies to be compliant with the new European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will technically take effect on May 25, 2018.

What is the GDPR?

GDPR was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, protect EU citizens’ data privacy, and to regulate the way organizations approach data privacy. There are a total of 99 articles that the regulation covers and you can read more about the details of this regulation through the EU GDPR Portal.

In essence, these are a series of regulations that control what information a company can collect about an individual (who reside in the EU), what they can do and how they store that information, and penalties for those companies if they violate the regulations.

Who is affected by GDPR?

From a user perspective, the protections cover any resident of the EU. Although, many companies are voluntarily extending their changes and privacy policies to include all users for simplicity.

From a company perspective, it applies to any organization who collects data on EU residents.

What should you know about GDPR, encryption, and your PDF files?

There are many more thorough sources of information on this topic (just Google ‘GDPR’), but one thing that may concern our Win2PDF customers is that the regulation restricts sending personal information unsecured. Encryption isn’t explicitly mandated by the regulations, but it is suggested several times as being part of the the compliance solution. For example, as this article points out:

…of the 261 pages of GDPR, the word ‘Encryption‘ appears just 4 times;

“…implement measures to mitigate those risks, such as encryption.” (P51. (83))
“…appropriate safeguards, which may include encryption” (P121 (4.e))
“…including inter alias as appropriate: (a) the pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data.” (P160 (1a))
“…unintelligible to any person who is not authorised to access it, such as encryption” (P163 (3a))

Does the term ‘may’, ‘such as’ and ‘as appropriate’ indicate that Encryption is mandated by GDRP, as some are suggesting? I don’t believe it does.

Do these terms suggest that Encryption is an OPTION and a good idea? Then yes, it does.

If you are sending a customer’s personal information in a PDF file, you should seriously consider encrypting the PDF.

What can you do to being compliant with GDPR?

First, here is a 12-point PDF available that gives a broad 12-step overview to achieving compliance with the GDPR.

Second, you may wish to review your current processes involving customer data that may be included in PDF files that you generate.  How are they disseminated?  Is the data secured?  If you do not currently encrypt PDF files, now may be a good time to do so.

Our Win2PDF Pro software has strong encryption included, and it is available as an upgrade if you currently have standard edition licenses.

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Celebrating 10 years as a BBB accredited business

Hooray!  Even though we’ve been in business over 18 years, we just received our official 10-year certification as an accredited business from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  Our company — Dane Prairie Systems (the creator of the Win2PDF software) — has an A+ rating.  To be an accredited BBB business we have to abide by this code of business practices.

IMG_6610_2

There’s a lot of concern these days about who you are doing business with online, if they are trustworthy, and how they are treating you as a customer (with good reason).  One thing that contributes to our A+ rating is the fact that we do not bundle adware, spyware, or malware — you just get our Win2PDF software when you purchase from us.  Nor do we share or sell your email address or customer information with any other companies (unless you explictly opt-in, of course, for things like online reviews).  You can review our policy policy or view our rating with the Better Business Bureau.  And if you have any questions about how we do business, please let us know.

Thanks to our customers, we’ll continue to be your trusted software source for the next decade.

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