11 Best Free PDF Creators

Make PDFs easily

These free PDF creators will easily allow you to turn almost any file or document into a PDF. These can be a lifesaver when you're trying to make a document less likely to be edited, and easier to distribute.

These programs work in different ways. Some are free PDF printers, so when you want to turn a file into a PDF, you'll just "print" like normal, but choose the software printer that you installed. This will work with any printable file.

Another method these tool use is via drag-and-drop. Simply drop a file to a set location, and it turns that file into a PDF.

There are also online creators where you upload the file to a website, and then you'll get a PDF returned to you. Online converters are best suited for smaller documents or situations where you don't want to download and install a full program to get the job done.

Most of these PDF creators are incredibly easy to use, and you'll need just a few seconds to convert your files to PDF. Others take a few minutes, but you'll get lots of advanced options such as creating multiple page docs, setting the quality of the PDF, and even inserting watermarks and signatures to the finished file. Be sure to read the descriptions to see which free PDF creator is best for you.

doPDF

doPDF getting started screen
What We Like
  • Can specify the dimensions of a document.

  • Easy to choose a target folder for PDFs.

What We Don't Like
  • No encryption options.

  • Annoying intrusive ads.

doPDF installs itself in two ways to offer two different methods of creating a PDF file.

The first is as a printer, which means you can convert any printable document to a PDF. The other is a regular program that lets you browse for a file and then convert it to a PDF.

Say, for example, you're working in a web browser, word processor, image viewer, or something similar. Instead of printing the information out to a piece of paper, just choose this printer from your list of printers to save it as a PDF.

During setup, you can optionally install a Microsoft Office add-in for converting files in Word, Excel, etc. to a PDF.

doPDF can be used at no cost for both personal and commercial use. It runs on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Vista, as well as Server 2019, 2016, 2012, and 2008 R2.

PDFCreator

PDFCreator prompt after printing from a file
What We Like
  • Easy to create PDFs from documents and web pages.

  • Combine multiple files to create a PDF.

  • No-prompt, auto-save option.

What We Don't Like
  • Included PDF reader isn't very user-friendly.

  • Tries to install other programs during setup.

PDFCreator is a software bundle that includes not only a PDF creator, but also a reader, called PDF Architect. The easiest way to use PDFCreator is to simply install the program and then print to the included printer. Once you've done so, you can save the file to a custom location or email it to someone.

The auto-save option can be enabled so that when you make the PDF, it will save to a predefined location with a specified file name, all without prompting you to confirm anything.

Like most PDF creators, you can change the compression and security settings before saving. There's also a way to sign your documents.

It runs on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

7-PDF Maker

7-PDF Maker general settings
What We Like
  • PDFs preserve hyperlinks.

  • Converts more than 80 file formats.

  • Private and commercial use.

What We Don't Like
  • No editing options.

Most of the programs that make PDFs from this list do so through the print function, and while 7-PDF Printer is built for that specific purpose, 7-PDF Maker uses a regular conversion program instead.

Our favorite feature is that you can just right-click any compatible file (they're listed here) to instantly start converting it. It'll save it in the same place as the original.

However, if you want to customize the settings for conversion, just open the program first. You can change the image compression settings, deny permissions and encrypt the document with a password, and pick a place to save the PDF once the file finishes converting.

7-PDF Maker is free for both private and commercial use, and you can either install it like a regular program or download it in a portable form for use on flash drives and other removable devices. 

The program can be used on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7, as well as Server 2022 through 2012 R2.

PrimoPDF

Screenshot of PrimoPDF in Windows 7
PrimoPDF.
What We Like
  • Extensive encryption features keep files secure.

  • Lightweight and fast performing.

What We Don't Like
  • The interface is covered in ads.

  • Support links in the user guide are broken.

Similar to some of the above tools, PrimoPDF offers two ways to create PDFs: drag and drop a file into the program's desktop shortcut and the file will convert automatically and save itself back to the same location as the original file, or print to the printer that gets installed along with the regular program to see a prompt asking where to save the PDF.

In either method, you can also specify advanced settings. For example, choose document properties like the name, author, and subject of the file, as well as security settings like password protection and enabling/disabling printing, editing, and/or copying.

PDF24 Creator

PDF24 Creator
What We Like
  • Choice of multiple quality settings.

  • Supports digital signing.

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of additional tools in the way if you just need a PDF maker.

  • Interface could be more intuitive.

PDF24 Creator also lets you print any file to PDF using any application that supports printing. You can also add files to the program manually to save them to the format.

One thing that separates this tool from the others is that if more than one file is open in the program at once, you can easily drag and drop them in a custom arrangement to produce a PDF with multiple pages, each page being a different file—very useful.

Some of the included features let you extract pages from the file, preview the doc before creating it, change the quality of the PDF, choose a custom PDF standard, rotate pages, add document properties, password protect it, deny permissions like print and edit (and fill forms, copy/images, add/change comments), as well as use a text watermark, insert a signature, and choose the JPEG compression quality amount.

PDF24 Creator is free for business use and private use, so there are two separate (still completely free) downloads depending on how you need to use the program.

The most recent version is for Windows 11 and Windows 10, but there are links on the download page that work for Windows 8, 7, etc.

A fax service, called PDF24 Fax, is also included with this installation but it's not free to use.

CutePDF Writer

CutePDF Writer save as prompt in Windows 11
What We Like
  • Easy to use.

  • Has a free, cloud-based PDF editor that doesn't require installation.

  • Quick download and install.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited features compared to other apps.

  • Tries to install other software during setup.

CutePDF Writer can be used for personal or commercial use at absolutely no cost, and it's extremely easy to use: install the program and print to the printer called CutePDF Writer. Just a few moments later, you'll be asked where you want to save the PDF. It's that easy!

However, because of the simplicity, it also means there aren't any custom settings or advanced options you can change. But if all you want is a simple PDF creator, this program works great.

CutePDF Writer will, unfortunately, change some of your browser settings and install an additional program unless you explicitly say not to during setup.

PDF4Free

PDF4Free PDF creator printing preferences
What We Like
  • Very lightweight.

  • Set a default target destination for files.

What We Don't Like
  • Time consuming installation process.

  • Free version is only for non-commercial use.

PDF4Free is another PDF creator that works by installing a printer. Just print to the PDF4U printer to create a PDF file from any application.

To customize the settings, open the properties of the printer it installs. You can embed fonts in the PDF, change the PDF version, and enter summary information like a title and author.

You must restart your computer to complete the install of PDF4Free.

FreeFileConvert

FreeFileConvert
What We Like
  • Doesn't take up hard drive space.

  • Creates and converts many types of files.

  • Supports files as large as 300 MB.

What We Don't Like
  • No editing or encryption options.

  • Not ideal for documents containing sensitive data.

FreeFileConvert is another PDF creator but it works differently than the programs from above. For starters, you don't have to download anything because it runs solely online. Because of this, you don't "print" to a PDF, but instead just upload the file you want to convert and choose pdf as the output format.

You can upload a file as large as 300 MB, but only certain file types are acceptable. The download link to the PDF will be valid for 24 hours before expiring. It can also only be downloaded five times, max, before the link is automatically deleted.

One obvious downfall is that uploading and downloading files can take a long time if you have a slow internet connection or the file is large.

This website can also reverse its functions and, instead of creating a PDF, convert one to a different format like HTML, DOC, or MOBI.

FileZigZag

FileZigZag
What We Like
  • Convenient; nothing to install.

  • Easy to understand.

What We Don't Like
  • Not very helpful if you need to make a lot of large PDFs.

  • Conversion can take a while over a slow connection.

  • Limited to 10 conversions per day.

FileZigZag is another way to create a PDF online for free. It works by having you upload a file to the website and then choosing PDF as the output format.

Several document file formats can be saved to PDF on this site (all listed here), but you can only convert 10 files per day. Another limitation is that files can only be as large as 50 MB (150 MB if you make a free account).

You can wait for FileZigZag to build the PDF or you can enter your email address to get a link to the converted files when it's finished.

Zamzar

Zamzar making a PDF from a file
What We Like
  • No need to install.

  • Works with files as large as 50 MB.

  • Also works with loads of other file formats.

  • Also works over email.

What We Don't Like
  • Conversion is slow when the website is experiencing high traffic.

  • Free accounts are limited to two conversions per 24-hour period.

Zamzar works a lot like FileZigZag. Use it to make a PDF from a web page, or to convert any supported file to PDF.

One unique feature is that you can make PDFs over email! Just send the file to this special email address.

Files you upload to this site can be as large as 50 MB, which should be fine for most PDFs. If you pay for an account, the limit is 2 GB.

FreePDFConvert.com

FreePDFConvert.com
What We Like
  • Clean interface with multilingual support.

  • Extremely easy to grasp.

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced features require a monthly membership.

  • Limited number of formats supported.

  • Must wait a full hour between conversions.

FreePDFConvert.com is another online PDF maker where you upload a file to convert it to a PDF file. The file can exist on your computer, the web somewhere, or in your Dropbox or Google Drive account.

This website can also do the inverse: convert a PDF file to a different format like one compatible with MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, or to a JPG/PNG/TIFF image file.

A major disadvantage to using FreePDFConvert.com versus any of the above programs or services is that there's a 60-minute waiting period between conversions.

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