How to automatically attach a PDF to Gmail (or any web-based email)

Here’s another question we see quite frequently.  Win2PDF has a feature to “Send file” that can be enabled on the file save window (see below).

Send PDF option in Win2PDF
Send PDF from Win2PDF file save window

When this option is checked, Win2PDF will create the PDF file and automatically attach it to a new email message using the computer’s default MAPI email client (which is typically Microsoft Outlook or Windows Live Mail).

But what do you do if you want to attach the PDF to a web-based e-mail client like Gmail or Outlook Web Access?  Since these programs don’t install as a full-fledged email client, how can you use these programs with Win2PDF?

There may be other ways to do this, but we found a software program called Affixa that has a handy way of solving this issue.  Many applications have the built-in capability to send emails, including Win2PDF, but most rely on an external email client.  Affixa  effectively resides in the background and acts as a connector to these web-based email services.  When you use the “Send file” feature in Win2PDF, for example, it will automatically create a draft web email message with the PDF attached.  Voilà!

Affixa Software

Affixa is free for personal use and only about $3 per license for business use.  And it works for any application that has a similar ‘Send to email’ capability, like Microsoft Word.  And it can be configured to work with multiple accounts (like Gmail, Outlook Web Access, Yahoo mail, etc.)

[Note:  we have no affiliation with Affixa – we just found their solution to be quite useful when used with our Win2PDF software].

For more information, please refer to this and other how to articles at our Win2PDF online user guide.

PDF/A – the PDF file for Archiving

Since we added PDF/A support in our most recent Win2PDF 7 release, we’ve had some questions about this new type of PDF file.  First, the basics.

What is PDF/A?

It’s basically a subset of the PDF file format used to archive data for long-term storage (the A stands for PDF/Archive).  It is an ISO standard (ISO 19005-1:2005) that does not need to depend on external programs or information to be displayed, all information is entirely self contained.  It does not permit the inclusion of any executable scripts, audio, video and/or encryption.  In contrast, a regular PDF file may substitute fonts (because not all fonts are saved in the original file), and may have these other types of data “linked” within the PDF file, but not “contained” within the PDF file.

For a longer description, please check out the Wikipedia entry on PDF/A.

Why is it increasingly being used in government (and courts in particular)?

  1. It’s an ISO standard file format.  Regardless of what application creates the PDF/A file, all PDF/A files will conform to the same rules.  Which is good for…
  2. Archiving.  Since these files are self contained buckets of information, the file will be able to be viewed in the future and look exactly as it did when it was created. If the PDF file linked to external information, there is no guarantee that information would be accessible in the future.
  3. It’s more secure and readily accessible.  Again, since it doesn’t allow encryption  it keeps the document accessible, and since it doesn’t allow external links to data sources, it prevents security exploits.  And finally…
  4. It’s mandated in many situations.  The Administrative Office of the US Courts identified the potential risk of not being able to reliably access archived digital files in the future in 2010.  Since then, many district Courts  now mandate the PDF/A standard for court documents.  It is also mandated by law in several European countries.

There’s other interesting information on the Legal Case for PDF/A from the PDF Association’s web site (

How do I make a PDF/A file?

With Win2PDF 7,  just select “PDF for Archiving (PDF/A)” as the Win2PDF file save type.  [Update:  Win2PDF will create a file that complies with the PDF/A-1b standard)].  It will still have a .pdf file extension, and it is just as easy to create a PDF/A file as it is to create a normal PDF file.

Win2PDF Save As PDF/A
Win2PDF file save window - Save as PDF/A

How do I know Win2PDF has created a PDF/A file?

First, make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader installed.  Then, open the PDF file and you’ll see a notice in Adobe Reader that states:  “The file you have opened complies with the PDF/A standard and has been opened read-only to prevent modification.”

PDF/A file in Adobe Reader
PDF/A file in Adobe Reader