Fly to SANFACE to get PDFs made on the fly.

SANFACE Software offer visitors the first free Internet service that lets you create your PDFs on the fly, with the online version of their txt2pdf software. It's an interesting demonstration on two levels: how PDFs can be created without Acrobat Distiller, and how they can be created on the fly (and on the web). Best of all txt2pdf.cgi sells for a whopping $30:-) Note: not all of txt2pdf's features are included in the demonstration.

The converted documents instantly become easier to navigate through and look far nicer than the original text file format when printed. One interesting thing you'll notice is the speed with which txt2pdf can convert your input to PDF.

If you don't have Acrobat Exchange, or you don't have the several hundred dollars to buy the full version of Acrobat, then this is a great, cheap way of producing PDFs. Get your text files together and head to SANFACE to convert them all to PDF. And of course, remember to bookmark the page so you can get back there whenever you want to make more PDFs.

Another example of txt2pdf.cgi in action

Alex Catalog of Electronic Texts also has a working version. At this site you can choose from a large list of books which can be converted straight into PDF. You can then read them online or save them for offline viewing.

So what exactly is txt2pdf.cgi?

Txt2pdf.cgi is a flexible cgi-bin application based on the powerful txt2pdf script (perl 5). It permits you to place your text document inside a form and immediately transform it in a PDF document.

Any text based files like html, PERL, txt and C++ can be converted. In SANFACE's demonstration you simply put your text into the form, give the file a title, choose from the layout options and the PDF is created with no fuss. The beauty of it is that txt2pdf is a native converter, which means you don't need to pass through PostScript format. Therefore you don't need to own Acrobat Exchange and Acrobat Distiller to create PDFs. All you need is the free Acrobat Reader to view the PDF you produce.

Controlling the output with txt2pdf.cgi?

txt2pdf.cgi can be customed by SANFACE software to include many of the native txt2pdf options such as these:
  • You can mark yellow, red, green, blue or bold, italic (with PERL regular expression) words in the produced PDF files
  • Make PDFs 1 or 2 column
  • Number every page
  • Add text at the beginning and end of file
  • Set the document info: Author, Title, Creator, Subject and Keywords
  • Choose either portrait or landscape pages
  • File optimisation option
  • textual data from a DB can be converted to PDF

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