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PaperLess Printer: Virtual Printer that Saves Print Jobs to Files

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Published on January 10th, 2006
Category: Utilities

I’m sort of an environmentalist. I find solar panels attractive, hybrid cars hot, and hydrogen-powered cars drop dead gorgeous. I feel guilty throwing away large amounts of paper or even a sheet of hardly-written paper.

That being said, I hate online receipts and confirmations. Ever experience the following scenario?


Receipts
You are buying something online with your credit card. After you press the “Place Order” button, the next page says something like “Thank you for you purchase! The following information is a receipt of this order. Please print it for your records.”

Confirmations
Or, how about this situation? You find this really great deal on a graphics card. The catch is that you need to fill out about 3 rebate forms and wait a billion years for three checks so that the card will actually cost the advertised price. But wait! All three rebates can be submitted online! This will make it faster for your rebate check to arrive in the mail. At the last page of the process, it asks you to print the page and send it to them with a copy of the receipt and the UPC bar code. Sounds reasonable … until it asks you to print a second copy for your personal records.

I don’t know about you but I don’t have the cabinet space to fit all of my printable confirmations and receipts. Besides, does anyone ever use those printed documents? Maybe some use the rebate confirmations, but I would guess that few even look the receipts later. It’s a waste of time, paper, and cabinet space. But, there are some people who would rather keep track of their receipts and documents just in case. I call these people “paper trailers.” You don’t need to print them and waste your precious ink and paper!

Alternatives
Computers manufactured after 2000 typically have at least 40GB of space. Most people do not even fill the 10GB mark. That leaves 30GB of unused space! Why not use this space to store these printable documents. There are three ways to do this.

  1. Save the Page - When you see the confirmation page, click File and Save (or just press Ctrl-S). This method is a little risky. Often, saving a page via browser will omit some necessary information.
  2. Print to (PostScript) File - In Microsoft Windows, there is an obscure function called “Print to File.” Generally, this option is found in any print dialog box. Basically, it takes the RAW data sent to the printer and turns it into a file. For technical people, this file is usually of PostScript format. I employed this method in the past. The only problem was that it is pretty impossible to view Windows-generated PostScript files. The only way to view them is to do a complicated, sometimes-buggy process to print. Another caveat, sometimes these Post Script files can only be printed correctly on a printer with the same make and model as the default printer used with originating computer. For all of you GNU fanatics reading this, I know about the GhostScript viewer. I’ve already tried it and it does not work.
  3. The last method is what I’ll be discussing today, Print to MultiMedia File Programs.

Print to Multimedia File Programs
Print to Multimedia File Programs are neat little programs. In setup, they create a virtual printer that acts just like a normal printer; it’s just another listing in the printer folder. Basically, the these programs take the raw data from the program that wants to print and, instead of turning that into more RAW data a printer can understand, it converts it into a universal readable multimedia format such as *.BMP, *.GIF, or *.JPEG. I tried many of these programs and found that most support only one format. Additionally, the majority of them are very buggy.

PaperlessPrinter is an exception to that trend. Unlike other programs in its class, PaperlessPrinter is stable and it utilizes the following formats: *.DOC, *.XLS, *.HTML, *.PDF, *.BMP, *.GIF, or *.JPEG. It’s a wonder that rarefind, the software maker, distributes this freely! Their only limitation, which is pretty much unenforced, is “This product is FREE for noncommercial use or benefit only.”

Paperless Printer is very easy to use. Just print normally. In the print dialog box, select Paperless Printer as the printer.

Select the desired format.

Input the path where you want Paperless Printer to save the files.

This is just a hint: If you think you will use these files later to actually print them on a real printer, change the scaling to 2 and 2.

Try Paperless Printer! You’ll save space, clutter, ink, paper, and headache!


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30 Responses to “PaperLess Printer: Virtual Printer that Saves Print Jobs to Files”

  1. BigBlue Says:

    Unfortunately it’s nagware for personal use and gives you the registration window after every document prints, not to mention that it has no memory of job settings, so if you want to print something to an image file quickly you’re out of luck. Would almost be quicker to print it and scan it.

  2. Chris Says:

    Paperless printer is a cool awesome virtual printer…
    Good to see that this single product supports DOC,XLS,HTML,PDF,BMP,JPEG…
    Also its free :-)

  3. M Says:

    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  4. Tom Says:

    and it does not work with Windows x64 :(

  5. AP Says:

    Works fine for me

  6. Thomas Says:

    The virtual printer, ActMask Document Converter Family supports all Windows editions (Win9X/2K/XP/2003/Vista 32 and 64 bit) and exports any document to PDF, TIFF, JPG, GIF, PNG, TGA, PCA, EMF and .SPL format (Print Spooling File). See http://www.all2pdf.com

  7. onetimeuser Says:

    this software definitely SUCKSSSSSSS!!! It is NOT FREEWARE. It is NAGWARE BUGWARE SHITWARE and puts a goddamn BIG banner on all output files!!! as long as there is a REALLY FREEWARE alternative called PDFCreator listed on Sourceforge.

  8. moonroy Says:

    this softwear is wonderful……….

  9. pinky Says:

    I agree, this program SUCKS! Get doPDF from doPDF.com!

  10. Raghu Says:

    The window select the desired format is not appearing, what is the problem

  11. ibrahim (malaysia) Says:

    very usefull for me… thanks a lot..

  12. bird Says:

    hello

  13. jake Says:

    this is just another example of worthless shareware false advertised as freeware. and its not even very good, don’t even waste your time downloading.

  14. WillemPenn Says:

    Barf. I was so excited when I first found this product online. But false advertising really gets me hot under the collar. “Nagware” is not “freeware” and as for “free to download” well don’t get me started …

    So, if I cannot trust a vendors advertising, what makes them think I am going to trust their product to do as it says? I’m not even going to bother downloading it.

    That said, I’d like to share a few things I have found that work (somewhat well) for me so far in going “paperless.”

    (1) doPDF, as mentioned above, is great freeware. And it is free. And it works on Windows 7-64. Nothing fancy, no bells and whistles, but it does what it says it does.

    (2) I moved to ScanSoft “PDF Create!” when I bought Nuance PaperPort. It comes with its own printe to PDF driver and a bunch of other functions. If you need more than simple PDF viewing but don’t want to shell out big bucks for the Adobe suite. I talked to the sales folks at Nuance and was able to get them to throw together a nice software bundle for 1/2 the price advertised. As for PaperPort, I like that I can easily access my PDFs, but (and it may be the lack of an intuitive interface - Think MS Office “Ribbons” but more confusing) it seems like little more than Windows Explorer in fancy packaging.

    (3) I also bought NeatDesk. Scanner is great. Worth the (outrageous) cost just for that, I think (comparable in price to a small office document scanner, but less bulky). Yes resolution is only 200 dpi, but scans color, duplex in one pass. The database software, again I have mixed feelings about. Pros: much more searchable/versatile than PaperPort - once you get the database set-up. Cons: There is a whole document import process, a lot of manual tagging to make the database worthwhile, proprietary database format, difficult to export PDFs once imported (keep a copy!), little customization, little documentation, etc., etc. (gosh, I’m not really selling it, am I? :-) But until something better comes along, I’m ok with it).

    (4) I have an iPhone and there are a lot of “scanner” apps out there. I’m using JotNot, which works ok for me. pros: free (for basic and that is all I need), good image manipulation. Cons: outputs to jpg

    (5) My spouse uses something else that works pretty well, but you have to have iOS4. It also cost about $5 and image manipulation is limited. However, it prints to PDF.

    (6) I’m still hungry for a good way to print to jpg, bmp, etc. (Often I have a PDF I want to post on-line, but many of the social networking sites do not support in-line PDFs). Till I find one, I’ve simply been copying entire PDF pages and pasting them into Paint and saving. Tedious: yes. Better option than anything out there: I’d love to hear what other folks suggest.

  15. nagware Says:

    negatives:
    - html and rtf: layout completely messed up (original deformed beyond recognition)
    - nagware: inserts shareware logo into created pdfs
    - nagware: opens registration window after every document print
    - nagware: does not remember application settings

    If someone knows another virtual printer capable of printing to html, rtf/doc, pdf and image files, then please post here. Thank you in advance!

  16. nagware Says:

    [subscribing to followup comments]

  17. Roger Says:

    It’s free for a crippled version that prints one page. I bought the full version for $30. It worked until we installed Mountain Lion on the iMac. They had a customer support email address. Despite writing about the problem several times, we got NO response, NO support. If the paid version, it’s a huge risk if you run into any problems.

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