Hack 37 Convert Documents from Tools You Don't Own to PDF

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Even if you don't have the document's authoring tool, you can often convert it to a PDF file.

With the wide variety of authoring tools people use, it is easy to find yourself with a document you can't open and read. Here are some freely available document viewers. Open your trouble document and then print it to PDF.

4.7.1 Microsoft Office Viewers

Microsoft provides freely distributable, Windows-based document viewers for its Office suite. Download the viewer you need from:


Install the viewer, open your document, and then print to Acrobat Distiller. If you don't have Acrobat, use our GS Pdf Printer [Hack #39], instead.

OpenOffice (http://www.openoffice.org) is a free authoring suite that can open a variety of file formats, including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It also includes a built-in Export as PDF feature. Use it to convert your Microsoft Office files to PDF.

4.7.2 Corel WordPerfect Viewer

The Microsoft Word Viewer, referenced earlier, can also open WordPerfect files. You must first install the Microsoft Office Converter Pack.

Download the Office 2003 Resource Kit (ork.exe) from http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2003/tools/BoxA07.htm. Install ork.exe, and it will unpack the Microsoft Office Converter Pack installer (oconvpck.exe). While ork.exe does not run on Windows 98, oconvpck.exe (which is really all we want) does. Search your disk for oconvpck.exe and install it.

After installing the Office Converter Pack, the Word Viewer Open dialog still won't see WordPerfect WPD files. You'll need to drag-and-drop, type the full name, or change WPD file extensions to DOC. This last choice could end up confusing people down the road.

Once it's open, print the document to Acrobat Distiller or the GS PDF Printer [Hack #39] .

4.7.3 Online Conversion

Adobe offers an online service for creating PDFs from your source documents. It accepts Microsoft Office and Corel WordPerfect documents. It also accepts Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, FrameMaker, PageMaker, and Photoshop files. Visit https://createpdf.adobe.com to learn more.