A while back, when applying online for a job. I had to submit digitized career documentation.  It was all online, No paper anything.  Not only did they want the documents in digital format, they wanted them in pdf format.  At the time, I didn’t know of any solutions to create the files in pdf format.  I needed something quick and easy, so I ended up purchasing a pdf printer driver called Win2PDF.  Since then, I have discovered two free options for converting your digitized documents to pdf.

Scanning the documents were not a problem.  In yesterday’s post, “How to: Get your digitized image on Google Docs” I talked about scanning a paper document, then uploading it to Google Docs.

Option 1 (Google Docs):

If you can upload the file to Google Docs, you’ve got it made.  But as you read yesterday, we had some file size challenges.  I ended up reducing the image resolution from 300dpi to 150dpi.  After reducing the image resolution, I was able to upload the image file to Google Docs.

Once a file is in Google Docs, you can convert by selecting the file and choosing the export feature.  When you export a file, you can choose the output format.  In this case pdf is the main output format we’re interested in.

Google Doc exports to PDF from these formats:

  • PNG, JPG
  • PPT


  • Downside is the image file size limitation.
  • Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can be exported to PDF file format.

Option 2 (Open Office):

OpenOffice.org  provides a suite of tools that are free.  These tools allow you to open documents like image files, spreadsheets, presentations, and word processing documents.  Each OpenOffice application has an export to PDF function.  This is great news because there’s nothing special for the user to do.  Just open the file, click to export as pdf and you’re done.


  • Image file size is not a limitation.
  • Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can be exported to PDF file format.

Final Thoughts:

  • OpenOffice is less of a hassle
    • Open document (no file size limitation)
    • export to pdf
  • Google docs is a little more of a hassle to use
    • upload file  (file size limitation may apply)
    • export to pdf

These are just two free PDF creation solutions.  Which ones do you use?