Windows XP is Dead, Long Live Windows XP!

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.

So, XP lives on. And for organizations that continue to need PDF reports or output from these legacy programs, they might find themselves outpaced by their PDF solutions. Even customers wanting to purchase any of the current Adobe Acrobat products will find that it is no longer available for Windows XP.

Fortunately, Win2PDF still actively supports XP as a platform with all of our latest feature enhancements and bug fixes.

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.

To further blaspheme the wisdom of Mark Twain:

“Good friends, good PDFs, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

Mark Twain

Get Into Your PDF Flow using Microsoft’s Power Automate Desktop Software

Soooo many requests:

“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.

That’s one reason why we’ve been so focused on creating tools like Win2PDF Auto-name, Win2PDF command-line processing, Win2PDF Plug-ins, and Win2PDF mail integrations. All of these features give powerful automation control to the user to eliminate repetitive steps and reduce processing errors.

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.

Enhanced Mail Support in Latest Win2PDF 10 Update

Win2PDF has always had the capability to attach a new PDF file to a mail message, though the implementation was limited to the default MAPI mail client on the computer (typically Outlook).

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:

These mail programs can be set up using the new Configure Win2PDF Mail window, which can be accessed either from the Win2PDF Start menu program group (shown below):

[You can also use the Windows search box (the “magnifying glass” icon) and search for Configure Win2PDF Mail to open the configuration screen.]

Or, it can be accessed directly from the Win2PDF Desktop program, by going to File → Mail → Configure Mail (shown below):

Once the Configure Mail window is accessed you will have the following options to enter your mail settings:

To fill in the different mail settings, please see the individual support pages for Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo! Mail, or Custom SMTP Server.

After the mail program settings have been configured, you can send a PDF file using one of these two methods:

  1. Select the Send file… option on the Win2PDF file save window (if you are creating a new PDF file with Win2PDF), or
  1. Open a PDF file in the Win2PDF Desktop app and choose File → Mail → Send Mail (if you are just sending an existing PDF file)

And that’s it. You can download the latest 10.0.93 software (a free update for existing Win2PDF 10 users) from our Win2PDF 10 Update page.

As always, if you have any questions, just send a mail to [email protected].

NEW! Win2PDF “Send to Slack” Plug-In

One of the requests we get is how to take some action after a PDF file is created, and do it automatically. The most common example is to take the PDF file and attach it to a new email message. While Win2PDF has supported this feature since the beginning, many customers want to expand this capability to integrate the PDF files with other applications. And since these processes may be unique to each customer, we’ve expanded our support into a flexible new feature called Win2PDF Plug-Ins.

A Win2PDF Plug-In is simply a small customizable program that can be created, modified, or installed that will give the user an option to take some action with the PDF file after it has been created.

Here’s one example we’ve created for our own internal software development team using the Slack business communication platform. When we download and install the Win2PDF “Send to Slack” Plug-in, it allows our users to check a box on the Win2PDF file save window and automatically send the PDF file into a specific channel in Slack.

Slack allows teams of users to share comments, images, files, etc. in different channels. [A slack channel is simply a topic-based message board that allows any team members who are subscribed to that channel a way to share and exchange information related to that topic. Examples might be channels like #features or #support or #sales.]

With this Win2PDF “Send to Slack” Plug-In installed and configured, it gives our Win2PDF development team an easy way to share PDF files without using email, and they will all be archived in a common channel for all team members. There are a few one-time steps to configure this Win2PDF “Send to Slack” Plug-In to work with your specific Slack workspace and channel.

This is just the first of many Win2PDF Plug-Ins we have in development, and we’ll also be providing more details in future posts on how users can create their own Win2PDF Plug-Ins, or modify ones that we’ve created.

Create PDF Documents With Searchable Text from Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge

Win2PDF now has a feature that allows you to print documents that would normally contain non-searchable text to PDF files with searchable text.

Why this feature? When would you use it?  Well, there is one area in particular where this is useful, and that’s when it comes to printing PDF files from Google’s Chrome web browser, Microsoft’s newest Edge browser, or from other Google apps like Docs. Due to the way Google and Microsoft have developed their browsers and apps, printing from these programs creates PDF files that are image-based and not-searchable (or selectable) as actual text. When documents or web pages are printed to a paper printer, this isn’t noticeable or an issue. However it is a problem if you are using Win2PDF or another PDF printer since the files will be larger, non-searchable, and non-selectable.

We’ve solved this problem by adding a new save format called “Portable Document Format – Searchable (OCR PDF)”. When you use this save option when printing from Chrome, Edge, or Google Docs, the resulting PDF file will contain searchable text. It applies Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to the file and converts the image-based text into searchable text automatically.

This has been frequently reported to our Win2PDF help desk as a problem for users and prior to this feature we had to explain a multi-step process to get the desired results. Now, it’s just a single save like it would be from any other application.

This feature is still in our pre-release testing phase, but we want users to try this and give us some feedback. To try this feature, please do the following:

    1. Download and install Win2PDF 10.0.78 (or higher). This version can be downloaded from the Win2PDF 10 Update section of our knowledgebase.
    2. Download and install the Win2PDF Desktop with OCR Download.
    3. After you install the separate Win2PDF Desktop with OCR package, Win2PDF displays an extra save as type labeled “Portable Document Format – Searchable (OCR PDF)

While this is useful when you are creating new PDFs from Chrome or Edge, what about existing files that had previously been saved as image only, or that you received as email? Is there a way to “fix” those so that they are searchable?

Yes. Just open the original PDF in the Win2PDF Desktop App and Select Export  -> PDF – Searchable (OCR) from the File menu.

make-pdf-searchable-menu

The Searchable OCR PDF is only available in our pre-release software and we’re working on improvements, but give it a try and if you have any feedback or issues, let us know by sending an email to [email protected] or opening a ticket at our Helpdesk page.

Win2PDF Release 10.0.72 Now Available

A new version of Win2PDF (a free update to existing Win2PDF 7 or Win2PDF 10 users) is available now at the Win2PDF download page. In addition to bug fixes and stability improvements, it adds several new features to Auto-Naming PDF files, command-line options, and the Win2PDF Desktop App. Win2PDF 10.0.72 includes the following new features:

  • Adds a Configure Win2PDF Auto-Name shortcut to the start menu to make configuring the Auto-name features easier.

  • Adds Send File and Print File actions to the Configure Win2PDF Auto-Name menu to automatically email or print a PDF. See How to Automatically name and send PDF files by email for an example of automatically naming and sending invoices to email recipients based on the contents of the PDF.

  • Performance and stability improvements

Again, if you have a license for Win2PDF 7 or Win2PDF 10, you can download this new version at no charge.

New Watermark Enhancements in Win2PDF Pro

Our latest release of Win2PDF Pro (10.0.60) has a couple of new enhancements to the watermark/background feature.

The first enhancement is that you can now apply a PDF watermark or background that contains a clickable link to an external web page. When you select the watermark in the PDF Options… you can check “Allow Links in Watermark” as shown below.

This can be quite useful for things like company letterheads, where you may wish to have a clickable link to the company home page. Or, you may wish to have a direct link in a PDF invoice that takes the customer directly to a payment page on your web site. Here is an example of what a PDF invoice would look like after a payment watermark has been applied.

We’ve heard from several customers who have needed this feature to automate their payments and invoicing process with Win2PDF.

Additionally, there are two new options on the PDF Options… Watermark tab that allow you to apply a watermark to ONLY the first page, ONLY the last page, or to all pages. Previously it applied to all pages only. Here is a screen shot of the new options.

These new features are now available in the 10.0.60 release of Win2PDF Pro*. If you have a licensed version of Win2PDF Pro, you can download the latest Win2PDF Pro Service Pack at the Win2PDF download page.

* The standard edition of Win2PDF does not have the watermark feature enabled. This is only available in Win2PDF Pro. Standard Edition users can purchase a Win2PDF Pro Upgrade if this feature is needed.

Change the default file name when saving PDF files

The Win2PDF Auto-name feature makes it easy to customize the file name and automatically save a PDF without prompting, but what if you want the File Save window to appear so you can email, print, or manually change the file name?

We just released Win2PDF 10.0.56 (available as a free update to Win2PDF 10 users), and one of the new features is the ability to customize the default file name that is used to save PDF files in the Win2PDF File Save window. For example, in previous releases if you had a Word file named “Sales Report.docx” and you went to print it as a PDF file, the default name in the Win2PDF File Save window would be named “Sales Report.pdf”. You could always change this name, but there wasn’t a way to customize this name when you first entered the file save window.

This is now customizable. If go to the Document tab after clicking on the PDF Options… button, you see some new options.

NewSaveAsOptions

When the the Auto-name Files option is unchecked, the settings in this window apply to the name displayed in the Win2PDF File Save window. You can add a fixed file name start, a date stamp, or a timestamp. Advanced users can customize the order of these items using the user defined setting.

In the screen shot example listed above, the month-day-year was added to the default “Sales Report” file name. While this option is set, the date stamp will be applied to all file names when you print to Win2PDF. You can automate your PDF workflow by creating multiple Win2PDF printers, each with different customized default file names.

The customizable PDF file name feature can save time by eliminating the need to manually type date or time information to the file name.

Download the new Win2PDF 10.0.56 software at the download page of our web site.

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…

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.