Or, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “the reports of Windows XP’s death have been greatly exaggerated!”
While Microsoft officially stopped development of its Windows XP operating system in 2014, it’s still used on about 25 million computers. The reason is typically due to the fact that companies still run older (legacy) software programs that were discontinued, or no longer work in newer operating systems and can’t be updated.
If you find yourself with such a need, download the free Win2PDF for XP trial version from our web site (make sure to use the Win2PDF for Windows XP download button). Also, while many Windows XP computers are offline for security, the Win2PDF for Windows XP setup program does not require an internet connection.
We recently stumbled across this article outlining a problem with 2020 tax returns saved as a PDF file.
Q: I’ve been using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to fill-in and save PDF tax forms on my PC. But when I recently called up a stored tax form, the data I’d filled-in appeared for a moment, then disappeared, leaving just a blank tax form. I then called up other tax forms that I’d saved earlier, and found that they still had their data. I then tried using another PC, and found that some stored tax forms contained the data I’d entered, while others had gone blank. Adobe won’t help me with this problem because I’m using a free app. What’s wrong and what can I do?
In this case, there was a glitch in the PDF viewer where the filled-in data appeared to “go missing”, even though the information was saved in the file. This type of problem is caused by PDF layers, and it can be easily fixed by flattening the PDF file.
Basically, flattening the PDF means compressing all of the data onto a single layer. No data or information will appear to be missing — all of it will be visible at all times — so the problem experienced with the “missing data” in the tax forms will be eliminated.
While there are several ways to flatten a PDF file, one of the easiest is to just print the document from Adobe Reader (or any PDF viewer) to the Win2PDF printer using the PDF Image Only option. That will flatten it automatically.
Over the next series of posts we’ll show some examples of how this can be done in a real-world context using Win2PDF.
First, let’s start off by using an example where we want to automatically rename a bunch of PDF invoices that are stored in a folder. And then suppose we not only want to rename the PDF files, but we want the new file names to be based on some content within the original files, such as the number following the word “INVOICE”.
Notice how the Win2PDF command line getcontentsearch feature is used. It allows us to search for the word “INVOICE” in the PDF file, and then return the following content (in this case, the INVOICE number) to the standard output. After trimming any extraneous spaces from this invoice number, the PDF file is renamed to be that invoice number.
You can use the graphical user interface to make your own flow, or you can copy the following into a new Power Automate Desktop flow if you want to use this as a starting point for your project:
# This flow searches the contents of PDF files in the selected folder for SearchText, and renames the PDF files based on the text immediately following SearchText. Change the SearchText variable to the desired search field. Note : the SearchText field is case sensitive.
SET SearchText TO $'''INVOICE :'''
Display.SelectFolder Description: $'''Select Folder to Rename''' IsTopMost: False SelectedFolder=> SelectedFolder ButtonPressed=> ButtonPressed3
Folder.GetFiles Folder: SelectedFolder FileFilter: $'''*.pdf''' IncludeSubfolders: False FailOnAccessDenied: True SortBy1: Folder.SortBy.NoSort SortDescending1: False SortBy2: Folder.SortBy.NoSort SortDescending2: False SortBy3: Folder.SortBy.NoSort SortDescending3: False Files=> Files
LOOP FOREACH CurrentItem IN Files
# Search for %SearchText% field and return following text in CommandOutput using the following Win2PDF command line:
# C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64\3\win2pdfd.exe getcontentsearch "%CurrentItem%" "" "%SearchText%"
System.RunDOSCommand DOSCommandOrApplication: $'''C:\\Windows\\System32\\spool\\drivers\\x64\\3\\win2pdfd.exe getcontentsearch \"%CurrentItem%\" \"\" \"%SearchText%\"''' StandardOutput=> CommandOutput StandardError=> CommandErrorOutput ExitCode=> CommandExitCode
IF CommandExitCode = 0 THEN
Text.Trim Text: CommandOutput TrimOption: Text.TrimOption.Both TrimmedText=> TrimmedText
File.Rename Files: CurrentItem NewName: $'''%SelectedFolder%\\%TrimmedText%''' KeepExtension: True IfFileExists: File.IfExists.Overwrite RenamedFiles=> RenamedFiles
Display.ShowMessageWithTimeout Title: $'''Win2PDF Renamer''' Message: $'''Could not find \"INVOICE :\" field for file %CurrentItem%''' Icon: Display.Icon.None Buttons: Display.Buttons.OK DefaultButton: Display.DefaultButton.Button1 IsTopMost: False Timeout: 10 ButtonPressed=> ButtonPressed4
This example shows one way to use Win2PDF’s automation features to create a solution unique to your workflow. It also uses features that were added in the latest Win2PDF 10.0.100 update, so make sure you are using the latest Win2PDF 10 Update when trying any of the Power Automate Desktop features.
Can you think of any similar cases that you might use? If so, drop us a line. We’ll have more examples coming soon.
“I wish there was an easy way to convert all of these text files to PDF automatically.”
“Why can’t I just save an entire series of web pages as searchable PDF files?”
“How can I consolidate weekly reports from different applications and formats to a single PDF file without spending my whole afternoon doing so?”
These and other questions arrive in our email inbox daily. It seems everybody has some level of repetitive PDF processing that they do and are looking for an easier way to get it done. And since many of these issues are specific to a particular application or to your own business process, it’s not easy to find a one-size-fits-all solution that gives you the type of “push button” solution you really want.
Now, there’s something that combines all of these Win2PDF “tools” into a single problem-solving toolkit that works with all of your files and other applications. And best yet, it won’t cost you a penny!
Microsoft’s new Power Automate Desktop software is a free download for Windows 10 users that allows you to easily automate any repetitive tasks from your desktop, including the creation or manipulation of PDF files using Win2PDF. Once installed, you just need to create a desktop flow (the series of steps that automate a specific action or task). And no, you don’t need to be a coder to use it. Microsoft has a simple interface that most anyone can use.
It’s quite easy to build your first desktop flow using either pre-built drag-and-drop actions or by recording your own desktop flows to run later. For this latter method, it works similar to macros in Microsoft Office, by recording repetitive actions from your desktop across multiple applications—like your web browser, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Win2PDF, etc.—and then lets you replay the automation whenever needed.
For example, a quick desktop flow to convert all TXT files in a folder to PDF using Win2PDF (using the Win2PDF Auto-name feature) might look something like this:
A very simple recipe like this could save you a lot of time if you are currently working with PDF files regularly and in the same manner.
We’ll be diving into this topic in a bit more detail in future posts, including some more detailed examples where this might be useful. In the meantime, get into the flow and download the Power Automate Desktop software today and look at the Win2PDF Power Automate documentation to see what it can do for you.
Some of the new features have been documented in previous blog posts, but now those features (and some others) have all been collected into a single update. This Win2PDF 10 (build 98) software is a free update to licensed Win2PDF 10 users.
The biggest changes are related to enhanced mail support for sending PDF documents, new command line options for converting and manipulating image and PDF files, and general bug fixes and stability improvements. Here’s a summary of the changes.
Here’s an interesting article on why PDF has been the de facto digital document format for almost 30 years (with Win2PDF being available for more than 20 years of that time). One secret to the format’s success: “You only think about it when it doesn’t work. And happily, for PDFs, that’s quite rare.”
As the article notes, “the real key to the dominance of the PDF has less to do with its future than with its roots. From the start, it was meant to be lightweight and forward compatible, meaning the format would continue to be readable well into the future.” Even documents created with PDF version 1.0 continue to be readable today with the existing PDF readers.
So, hats off to the lowly PDF. It rarely garners the respect it should.
Many users have asked us to support other mail programs and services, like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, to send files. Our latest 10.0.93 version of Win2PDF dramatically improves mail client support and allows for direct mail integrations with:
TIFF to PDF — This option converts TIFF graphic images into PDF files.
PDF Image Only — This option converts PDF files to an Image Only format. Image Only PDF files can be used to make the PDF unsearchable, “flatten” text fields for security, speed up loading time for complex PDFs, and reduce the PDF file size.
As an example, consider this example we recently solved for a customer. They wanted to merge a scanned TIFF image to an existing text-based PDF file.
In terms of formatting for the batch file, full path names were used so that it looked like this when the batch file is run from the Windows command prompt:
They had been struggling to find a solution to do this one particular document conversion, and the batch file solution not only provided the final document with the formatting they needed, but also provided the flexibility to integrate this into their existing document management process.