[Windows] Best free PDF creator (printer or converter) — Bullzip vs PrimoPDF vs 7-PDF vs PDFill vs PDF24

PDF (Portable Document Format) is arguably one of the most widely used electronic document formats, especially when sharing files via the web or email. It is therefore only natural for persons to want to make their documents available in a format which is considered to be somewhat of a standard when it comes to electronic documents.

The beauty of PDFs lies in their portability. With other document types, formatting and compatibility depends on the software being used to view or create the document — documents may not be displayed correctly due to differences in version, author of the software, or even operating system. However with the PDF format, regardless of the software used to create or view the PDF, PDFs are displayed correctly on pretty much all computers and operating systems using any modern PDF reader. This clearly is why PDFs are a desirable electronic document format for sharing documents.

Whether it is a report you wish to put together a curriculum vitae you wish to submit, or a graphic which you need to submit to a commercial printer, you may find that you need to produce a body of text or an image as a PDF. That is why we have put together a review of the best free PDF printers/creators. Read on to learn more.


PDF creators come in two types.

The first is the PDF virtual printer, which allows the user to create a PDF from within any program that supports printing. By hitting print in a program — the program can be any type of program, such as a document viewer or an image viewer —  selecting the PDF virtual printer as the target printer, you are able to convert any website, document, file, image, etc. to PDF format. With PDF printers, anything you can print is able to be turned into PDF.

The second type is the PDF converter, which allows users to select documents for conversion to PDFs from within a standalone program. Unlike PDF printers that allow you to create PDFs by simply using the print function inside any program, PDF converters are not printers and only work with specific file formats that the developer of PDF converters set them to work with. The advantage of PDF converters, however, is that they do not rely on secondary components such as Ghostscript (which most PDF printers require). Also, with PDF printers you need to actually be able to open a file/document/etc. to print it into a PDF; with PDF converters, however, you do not need to open the original file/document/etc. — you can simply throw the file into a PDF converter and convert it to PDF. This is extremely useful if you are in a situation where you don’t have the program required to open the original file (e.g. you have a DOCX file you want to convert to PDF but don’t have a program that lets you view DOCX files and thus you can’t print them to PDF).

If you are looking for PDF creator software which meets this criteria then you are in the right place. Yes, here is dotTech’s take on the best free PDF creators available for Windows.

This review is part of our Best Free Windows Software section. Check out more articles on the best free Windows programs by clicking here.

Table of Contents [7-PDF Maker vs PDFill vs PDF24 Creator vs Bullzip vs PrimoPDF]

Best Free PDF Creator

7-pdf makerProgram Name: 7-PDF Maker

Note: 7-PDF Make comes bundled with bloatware/crapware during install. Be very careful while installing it, or grab the portable version.

Developer: 7-PDF Maker

Download Size: 53.06MB

Version Reviewed: 1.4.1

Supported OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP


  • Is a PDF converter, so you don’t need to have Ghostscript installed to use it and you don’t need to be able to open a file in order to convert it to PDF
  • Supports conversion of over 80 file and image formats to PDF
  • Capable of batch processing, of converting files to PDFs in batches
  • Has several security features, like encryption of output PDFs
  • When converting document files like Word files to PDF, 7-PDF Maker ensures that hyperlinked words remain hyperlinked in output PDFs
  • Has a portable version (but portable version is shareware, not freeware — installer version is freeware)


  • It would have been nice if 7-PDF Maker came with a virtual printer, too, thus combing the advantages of both a PDF printer and PDF converter
    • NOTE: If you really want a PDF virtual printer, you can download 7-PDF-Printer separately.
  • Download size is a bit high when compared to other PDF creators, namely PDF printers
  • 7-PDF Make comes bundled with bloatware/crapware during install. Be very careful while installing it, or grab the portable version.


Out of all of the programs reviewed here today, 7-PDF Maker is the only PDF converter.

Immediately, one of the features which sets 7-PDF maker apart from other PDF creators is its ability to convert over 80 file and image formats directly to PDF. Some of these formats include:

  • Microsoft Office 2007 Files(.docx, .xlsx, .pptx)
  • Microsoft Office Files(.doc, .xls, .ppt)
  • OpenOffice.org 1.0 Files(.sxw, .sxc, .swi)
  • OpenDocument Files(.odt, .ods, .odp, .odg, .odf)
  • StarOffice Files(.sdw, .sdc, .swi, .smf, .vor)
  • Text based files(.rtf, .txt, .csv)
  • Maths Files(.mml, .odf, .sxm, .smf)
  • Image Files(.eps, .tif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .bmp)
  • AutoCad/Data Interchange formats(.dxf, .dif)

You have the option of adjusting several parameters in order to produce the PDF which best satisfies your needs. First are the General PDF settings. You can decide whether you want to create a tagged PDF, export notes, export bookmarks or create a PDF using the PDF/A-1 standard. With image settings you can select whether you want to utilize lossless compression or you can select the level of compression you desire. You can also choose to reduce image resolution if you so desire.

In terms of security, You have the option of enabling encryption and password protecting your PDF files with a 128-bit password as well as limiting the permissions of a particular PDF. You have the option of enabling or disabling the following actions:

  • All changes
  • Inserting, deleting and rotating pages
  • Filling in form fields
  • Commenting, filling in form fields
  • All changes except the extraction of pages( under this option you can choose whether to enable copying of content or text-access for accessibility tools or not)

You can also limit the quality of the document printed.

7-PDF allows the user to specify where and how they want their resulting PDF files to be saved and users also have the option of opening the created PDF after conversion is complete with the PDF viewer of their choice.

Please not that in order to carry out a batch PDF conversion that you will have to make use of the command line interface. Additionally, 7-PDF does not allow users the facility of adding watermarks to their created PDFs. Also unlike some of the other programs reviewed, 7-PDF does not allow for the conversion of documents to other formats other than PDF.

7-PDF maker offers users a highly customizable PDF creation experience and is very easy to use. This should easily satisfy all of your PDF creation needs.

Runner Up

PDFill PDF and Image writerProgram Name: PDFill PDF and Image Writer

Developer: PlotSoft

Download Size: 7.46MB

Version Reviewed: 10.0

Supported OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP


PDFill PDF and Image writer is another powerful PDF creator which should meet the needs of most users. It also comes bundled with a PDF editor which I will not really touch on since we are focusing on PDF creation capabilities.

Unlike 7-PDF Maker, PDFill is a PDF printer which means that software capable of converting any file/page/document/etc. into PDF vis-a-vis the print function inside any program.

The PDF creator, or writer as it is referred to within the program, is laid out in tabs with each tab representing a different function.The tabs are as follows:

  • Output Options
  • Optimization
  • Description
  • Security
  • View Preference
  • Presentation
  • Rotate & Crop

Output options allows the user to define a default folder for the saving of created PDF files among other options. You can choose to use and define a default folder or have PDFill prompt you to select a save location every time you are creating a PDF. You can also specify how you want your files named and how to handle the possibilities of any files being overwritten. Under output options there are several self explanatory post processing options you can choose from. These are:

  • Email PDF
  • Merge PDF
  • Split or Reorder PDF
  • Reformat PDF
  • Header or Footer PDF
  • Watermark PDF by Text
  • Watermark PDF by Image
  • Watermark PDF by Image

The Optimization tab displays features related to the output quality of the PDF. The following Optimization options are available:

  • Screen: smallest PDF for onscreen viewing with only 72 dpi images
  • Ebook: smaller PDF for online download with image compressed
  • Printer: Larger PDF for home and office printers with high-resolution images
  • Prepress: Larger PDF for commercial quality printers with high-resolution images and embedded fonts

You can also manually select your desired PDF resolution(dpi). The Max Inline Image size can also be specified(bytes). Pages can also be autorotated and the process color model can be specified( Grayscale, RGB, CMYK ). You can also choose to compress embedded fonts.

Options under the Description tab allow for the title, author, subject, keywords, created date, creator, producer and PDF standard/version of the impending PDF to be specified.

Encryption allows for a a password and encryption standards to be specified. You have a choice between40 bit RC4 or 128-bit RC4. The following features can also be opted into or out of:

  • Allow printing
  • Allow Modifying contents
  • Allow copying
  • Allow modifying annotations
  • Allow filling in
  • Allow screen readers
  • Allow assembly
  • Allow degraded printing

Viewing preferences can also be specified.You can choose how you want the PDF to be displayed when first opening it with these options

Presentation features can also be selected. Each page’s display duration can be set, transition effects can be set as well as the duration of any such effects.

PDF files created can also be rotated and cropped according to the user’s preferences under the Rotate & Crop tab.

With the image printer, the output folder can be selected, you can choose to view the file after saving and you can also add a time stamp to the file name. The following file types can be chosen for output:

  • PNG
  • JPG
  • BMP
  • TIF
  • GIF

Other customization options are available to be adjusted such as the image resolution, rotation and flip options.

A button which allows access to the program’s features can be added to Microsoft, Word, Excel and Powerpoint if so desired.

PDFill is honestly a great program you should give PDFill a try and I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

Honorable Mention 1

PDF24Program Name: PDF24 Creator

Developer: Geek Software

Download Size: 15.17MB

Version Reviewed: 5.7

Supported OS: Windows 7, Vista, Windows XP


In addition to getting a great PDF printer by installing PDF24, you will also have access to a PDF editor as well as a virtual fax printer.

PDF24 Creator offers users a high level of customizability in order to specifically tailor the PDFs they wish to create to their needs.

For example, the quality of output document can be selected. The options provided for adjusting the quality are low, medium, good and best. You also have the option of choosing which PDF standard you wish to use. You can choose either PDF 1.2, PDF 1.3, PDF 1.4, PDF 1.5, PDF/X-3, PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2. You can also choose which color model you wish to use. The options are as follows: RGB, CMYK and Gray.

In terms of Security you have the option of either using or not using the various security settings. You can set a password for encryption. You can also select the permissions allowed for each PDF such as: Print, edit, restructure, copy text and images, fill fomrs, add and change comments. You can also specify if a password will be required to open the resulting PDF.

Additionally, PDF24 allows for the signing of PDFs with a digital signature certificate of your choice.

Text watermarks can also be set. PDF24 also supports digital paper. Image resolution can be specified and the level of image compression can also be specified.

In addition to converting to PDFs, PDF24 can convert files to the following formats:

  • PostScript(.ps)
  • Encapsulated PostScript(.eps)
  • Printer Command Language(.psl)
  • Portable Network Graphics(.png)
  • JPEG
  • Bitmap(.bmp)
  • Picture Exchange(.pcx)
  • Tagged Image File Format(.tiff)
  • Photoshop Format(.psd)

My biggest gripe with PDF24 is that it requires the pdf24.exe process to be constantly running in order for the program to function as desired. Otherwise it is another great PDF creator.

Honorable Mention 2bullzip pdf

Program Name: Bullzip

Developer: Bullzip

Download Size: 10.11MB

Version Reviewed:

Supported OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP


Bullzip is a well laid out PDF printer with several features for creating top notch PDF files.

Like PDFill, Bullzip’s options are laid out in tabs. The Document tab allows for the author, title, subject and keywords to be specified. Pdf quality can also be set(default, screen, ebook, printer, prepress). In addition, The initial zoom level can be set and the desired PDF standard can be specified(PDF 1.1-1.7).

The Image tab allows the user to control the creation of an image file and offers control over settings such as horizontal and vertical resolution, text alpha bits and graphics alpha bits.

The Watermark tab is pretty much self-explanatory and allows for the creation of a watermark within a created PDF. Users can adjust the appearance of the text under this tab.

The Merge tab as you would have guessed allows for the merging of documents. It also allows users to superimpose documents. Simply select a desired previous PDF as the background and continue on with the creation of your PDF. This comes in handy if you have a PDF file which contains a letter head.

Security allows the user to set either 40 or 128 bit encryption for their created PDF.

Users also have the option of either opening the destination folder after creation or the document itself. This function can be enabled or disabled under the Actions tab.

Bullzip allows for the creation of the following file formats in addition to PDFs:

  • Bitmap(.bmp)
  • Encapsulated PostScript(.eps)
  • JPEG
  • Picture Exchange(.pcx)
  • Portable Network Grahics(.png)
  • PostScript(.ps)
  • Tagged Image File Format(.tiff)

Bullzip and PDF24 Creator are both excellent options and offer users a wide range of functionality.

Honorable Mention 3PrimoPDF

Program Name: PrimoPDF

Developer: Nitro PDF Software

Download Size: 7.2MB

Version Reviewed:

Supported OS: Windows 7, Vista, Windows XP


PrimoPDF is very straightforward to use. A few clicks and you will be on your way to creating a high quality, highly portable document.

Primo PDF is organized according to quality settings which are as follows:

  • Screen: Smallest files, images suitable for onscreen viewing only
  • Ebook: Medium files for web and office. Images are compressed
  • Print: Large files, photos retain high quality for printing
  • Prepress: Argest files, preserves source image quality if possible
  • Custom: Allows users to manually adjust image colors in order to achieve desired quality

Each setting allows for the setting of title, author, subject, keywords. Also, users have the option to add PDF security if desired. You can choose for the created PDF to require a password to open the document and/or for the PDF to require a password in order to change security settings and access specific functions.

Simply select the configuration you desire and that’s it. PrimoPDF quite possibly allows for the quickest PDF creation out of all the other programs reviewed here in this article.

Other Alternatives

Related Posts