Windows Tip Sheet
Free PDF Printing. No Bull.
Open-source Bullzip gives me more printing power via PowerShell.
- By Jeffery Hicks
I like PDFs. I think the ability to print documentation to PDF is something every Windows administrator should be able to do.
Years ago, your only choice for printing to PDF was Adobe and its suite of PDF products. Now there are a number of open-source PDF printers you can use. One that I’ve been using lately is Bullzip. It is really a graphical front end to GhostScript (also open source) which is a prerequisite. But Bullzip runs on almost all modern Windows operating systems from Windows 2000 to Vista and 32- and 64-bit flavors of Windows 2003.
I like having a PDF printer because in PowerShell, I can use the Out-Print cmdlet and send the results of PowerShell expression to a PDF file.
Bullzip has a number of installation options to make it easier to deploy across your network. Check the online documentation for more information. Once installed, it works like any other printer. When you print to the BullZip PDF printer, you specify the file location. You can also specify the quality, from eBook to screen to pre-press. You can supply some metadata, such as author name and keywords. BullZip supports text-based water marks and also lets your merge or superimpose PDFs. I don’t have an environment where I can test it, but the BullZip specs show that it will also work in a Citrix or Terminal Server environment.
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Did I mention this is all free for both personal and commercial use (although the company will gladly accept PayPal donations and there is a place where you can purchase formal licenses). If you don’t have a PDF printer solution, I suggest you get a copy of Bullzip at http://www.bullzip.com/products/pdf/info.php and kick the tires.
Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at Petri.com, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.