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.

[Case Study] Converting TIFF to PDF Using New Command Line Tools

Win2PDF has expanded its Command Line Interface to support two new conversion features.

  1. TIFF to PDF — This option converts TIFF graphic images into PDF files.
  1. 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.

To accomplish this, they created a small batch file. The first line of the batch file converted the TIFF file to a PDF.

Win2Pdfd.exe tiff2pdf "1.tif" "1.pdf"

The 2nd line merged the PDF into the existing text PDF. (where “2.pdf” was an existing searchable text-based PDF).

Win2Pdfd.exe append "1.pdf" "2.pdf" "New.pdf"

The 3rd line flattened the file to an Image Only PDF. This made the combined PDF file unsearchable.

Win2Pdfd.exe imagepdf "New.pdf" "NewImageOnly.pdf" mono

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.

As we expand the options available in the Win2PDF Command Line Interface, the ability to do these types of highly customized and automated solutions is becoming easier, especially when coupled with Win2PDF Plug-Ins.

As always, if you have a particular conversion or process need for your PDF files, let us know if we can help.

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.