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Guide: Best Apps To Convert, Compress and Merge PDF Files
Adobe PDF was developed in the early nineties and if you ask me, that’s it. Unlike other file and text sharing formats such as HTML, ePub, and Markdown, it’s heavy, rigid, and most importantly, not open-source.
As much as I’d love to see the death of PDF, it’s still useful (and sensible) to a lot of people, especially Office users. If you occasionally deal with PDFs but don’t want to download a dedicated Windows app, you’re in luck. You can convert, compress and merge files to and from PDF for free using these two online tools.
Cool Tip: If you deal with a lot of PDFs at work, check out our guide to improve your PDF workflow.back to menu ↑
Convert online with PDF
Some testimonials and Facebook comments on the PDF Online site call the service “a life saver.” If you are ten minutes away from a deadline and you just have to send a document in pdf, this website could very well be your savior.
It’s a simple site with two sections: Word to PDF and PDF to Word.
It says “Word,” but that’s just a suggestion. Open one of the tabs and you will see that the website plays well with many more file types. The website converts formats such as Word, Excel, PPT, TXT, images (JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, GIF) to PDF. You can also enter a PDF and have it output in any of the above formats.
It’s an easy process. Use the upload a file to convert … button to choose the file from your storage and wait for the servers to do their thing.
I entered a Word document generated from a Markdown file complete with formatting and links. The PDF transferred the same formatting without any problems, but the links didn’t work for some reason.back to menu ↑
Compress and merge with smallpdf
smallpdf has a good looking website with clearly marked features to begin with. There is a feature and a description for each task and nothing more. Click on a task you want to perform and you will be taken to a new page where you can upload that file.
The website plays a nice animation while the servers are busy uploading and converting the file. The website knows how to keep your attention for those few seconds.
smallpdf converts Word, Excel and PowerPoint files to PDF for you. It also allows you to convert JPG images to PDF and PDFs to JPG images.
But these functionalities are not unique to smallpdf. You can find them in countless other online PDF conversion tools. What this website does a great job is compression and merging.
I threw in a 6MB PDF generated from InDesign (at 96 PPI it was already low resolution) and the results surprised me. smallpdf reduced the pdf to just 1MB without losing much of the visual quality. The text was just as sharp and some of the images looked a bit low, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.
The service also allows you to merge two PDFs into one if needed. This works fine too.
Remember that Word document I uploaded to PDF Online where the links weren’t hyperlinks? I did the same with smallpdf and guess what, it worked. I got a great looking PDF file, complete with links and formatting, in seconds.back to menu ↑
PDF Online has been on the Internet for years. I’ve used it in the past and many users swear by it. But there is a new sheriff in town and his name is smallpdf. Next time I have PDF issue I’ll go there.
Top image via André Gustavo Stumpf.back to menu ↑
Best Apps To Convert, Compress and Merge PDF Files: benefits
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