A “PDF” can be a wonderful file type. Anyone can open it with free software. The format also prevents others from altering the document.

A PDF can also be a headache. How many times have you needed to make a change in a PDF and wound up re-keying the entire document into Word?

Here are five sites that make converting PDFs a breeze. None costs a cent.

CloudConvert (https://cloudconvert.com) CloudConvert supports conversion between more than 200 different audio, video, document, ebook, archive, image, spreadsheet and presentation formats. You can perform up to 25 conversions per day for free and without having to create an account.

CometDocs (https://www.cometdocs.com) CometDocs allows five conversions per week for free. Its specialty is converting a PDF to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. If your PDF is a table, CometDocs converts it to a spreadsheet. Five conversions per week isn’t much, but if you only have an occasional need, this service is a nice option.

PDFCandy (https://pdfcandy.com) PDFCandy grabs your attention with only its name. It’s a service that only recently landed on my radar. The interface is attractive, and use is intuitive. It converts PDFs to other types of documents and converts other types to PDF. More capabilities include adding a watermark, rotating pages, merging multiple PDF pages into one file, dividing a multi-page document into individual pages, and compressing the file size. The entire site is free. The site requires no login. In fact, there is no way to create an account even if you wanted to do so. When it comes to working with a PDF, this tool is your Swiss Army Knife.

Zamzar (http://www.zamzar.com) Zamzar is an old standard in the file-conversion arena. It converts documents but also converts audio and video files from one type to another.

PDFescape (https://www.pdfescape.com) Have you downloaded a PDF and the document allows you to fill blanks or text boxes and save your changes? Have you wondered how you could do the same thing? PDFescape allows you to do exactly that. It’s a free service. If you are composing handouts, others will be able to “fill in the blanks” right on the screen instead of having to print them.

Some capabilities overlap. Here’s why that’s good.

In the world of technology, tools and services that are here today are often gone tomorrow. This trend is especially true with free services. We all need some way to keep the lights on. Giving away the store for free is not the best business model.

When a free service goes away, it’s a good idea to have an alternative.

Here’s how you can help others …

When it comes to PDFs, most people think all you can do with a PDF is read it, print it or save it. They think editing is impossible. The same is true for audio and video files. Most of us think conversion takes expensive equipment and a highly-skilled specialist. Often, all it takes is some free tools and a little time.

What friends do you have who might benefit from these services? Clip this article and share it with them. For more tips, tricks and methods for making life easier, visit my blog at FrankBuck.org. You will find plenty of posts that deal with the specifics of technology tools.

Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. “Global Gurus Top 30” named him #1 in the Time Management category for 2019. Dr. Buck speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach him through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.

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