Looking for PDF software that can automatically append at creation
January 17, 2013 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Looking for prompt-less PDF creation and appending

I'm looking for a (preferably free) PDF writer that will allow the following actions:

1. Print to PDF
2a. Automatically create PDF file in a default folder without a file prompt (I don't care what the file name is)
2b. If the file already exists from step 2, automatically append to the existing file without prompt

So far, I've tried Acrobat Standard 9 (which I own), PrimoPDF and TinyPDF.

PrimoPDF came the closest, but doesn't allow what I'm looking for in step 2a.

Thanks for any help!
posted by colecovizion to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you load the documents in a browser?

If so, I have not used Firefox in quite a while, but a few years ago, you could do silent printing (warning: site has 'hott chix' type ads) with it. On OS X, if you set "Save to PDF" as your default printer, it should print to some default location without prompting.
posted by ignignokt at 4:49 PM on January 17, 2013

In OS X, set up a Folder Action. Drop a file onto a folder, and run an AppleScript that determines the file type, opens its associated application and prints it to a PDF file. The Preview app can merge PDF files, so use its AppleScript verbs to set up appending, if the destination PDF file already exists.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:55 PM on January 17, 2013

Thanks for the responses,

1. I should have mentioned that I'm using Windows XP, not OS X.
2. I can't load the documents in a browser because it is a proprietary software.
posted by colecovizion at 5:07 PM on January 17, 2013

I have no idea how it'll work with your proprietary software, but PDF Creator claims "it can create PDF files from just about any program that prints using windows printers." It worked for me when I had to convert a lot of web pages to PDF several years ago. It works from the command line, which should help with automation.
posted by ignignokt at 5:18 PM on January 17, 2013

Bullzip is free, and does handle all of your requirements. You do need to turn on the APPEnd option under advanced settings. It's super easy to use.

PDFFACTORY also does this, just slightly easier to configure, but I'm not sure if it is freeware anymore.

posted by mazienh at 6:31 PM on January 17, 2013

Cute pdf does the trick for me.
posted by adamvasco at 7:12 AM on January 18, 2013

PDF Creator is quite good for me, though ESET has been flagging new versions as adware due to some software they've bundled in the installer. But yes, I do believe it can do everything you want. I think there might even be a setting for that. The second part you could do easily by having it open both and print them to a file, which is doable from the command line or a shell script.
posted by Canageek at 9:45 AM on January 18, 2013

Thanks everyone.

PDF Creator got me 90% there. It doesn't have an option for appending a file automatically at creation (only in a manual step afterwards). However, it will autonumber files without prompts. Then, it's just a simple "combine in acrobat" (via explorer). I will use this option because it takes out the majority of the hassle.

Bullzip ALMOST worked. On "paper", Bullzip has all the right preferences to auto-file and auto-append. However, it works inconsistently when sending more than 5 jobs to it at a time. Basically, because it doesn't go to a consolidated queue, the program fights with itself to append to the file, creating write-access errors.

I wasn't able to find an append option in Cute PDF.
posted by colecovizion at 5:17 PM on January 18, 2013

I'd look into PDF Factory Pro - though not free, it was fairly cheap and I think had trial licenses. I used it extensively at a former job to do something very similar to this.
posted by mazienh at 12:32 PM on January 29, 2013

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