Handy Tools of the (Writing) Trade

ImageWhen it comes to writing, the tools we most often use involve…well, writing. A favorite pen, our handy laptop (otherwise known as “Precious”), maybe even a tattered notebook we keep for jotting down our ideas. But the business of writing requires a ton of unusual tools. Like a PDF converter.

Yes, I said PDF converter. It’s a way to take your Word documents (or Power Point, or images, for instance) and make them a PDF file instead. 

Why would you want to convert to PDF, you ask? Because sometimes, sending documents through the Interwebs can be tricky. All of your lovely formatting and such can get totally messed up (to use a high-falutin’ technical term). And so you need a way to make sure your words, or your form, or your brochure, or your art, or your whatever, arrives the same way in which you created it. PDF to the rescue!

(Pssst. Impress your friends with your brilliant tech knowledge and casually drop into the conversation, “You know, of course, that PDF stands for Portable Document Format.”)

Anyway, yesterday, I needed to convert a Word document into a PDF file. Unfortunately, Precious was not equipped to do that for me–though I didn’t find that out till I went to my “Save as” drop down menu and didn’t see PDF.

And so I spent…let’s see. I’m going to go with a rough estimate and say 87 minutes, looking for a PDF converter. Obviously, I started with Adobe. And I’m going to go with a rough estimate here and say I spent approximately 77 minutes trying to get Adobe to work. To be honest, it’s still spinning around, trying to do something. I have no idea what.

The trouble may have something to do with money. Adobe wants me to spend money to get a service to convert all my documents. The trouble with that is, I don’t wanna.

Having to convert my documents to PDF is just not something that comes up enough for me to invest in the software. I need a simple conversion tool for the occasional document. Maybe you need to add that tool to your writing supplies, too.

So, after extensive searching on the Interwebs (and trying a few), ten minutes later I had this handy-dandy (and aptly named) PDF Converter. For free. You don’t have to install anything, but you can’t upload file after file after file. There’s a 30 minute wait, I think, between converting files. But for the writer who needs a PDF converter every once in a while, take my word for it. It’s the easiest. And it’s free.

And speaking of free, I thought you might like to know about Microsoft images. It’s another handy dandy tool I like to use when I’m looking for photos for blog posts. And yes, there are a ton of free-to-use sites out there with tons more images. But you often have to include attribution.

I always provide attribution when I use one of those photos. It’s the least I can do. But sometimes, I just want to throw a pic up there and go. Microsoft images is perfect for those times. Like now. 


You do not want to be that writer guy, left in the lurch when you need a pic fast, right?

The Interwebs has all kinds of free tools for the intrepid writer who might need something off the beaten (writing) path. All you have to do is spend about 87 minutes, more or less, to find them.

(And if I’m being perfectly honest, you could throw a wig on that guy and have me, yesterday afternoon, around minute 74 and the PDF converter debacle.)

3 thoughts on “Handy Tools of the (Writing) Trade

  1. Cathy–Thanks for the info. I know I am less techno-savvy than you, so I appreciate any tips that come my way.

    “Precious” is a wonderful name for a laptop…An acquaintance of mine only uses a fountain pen when he writes. The auditory component is needed, in his mind…

  2. Thank you! So timely, as I’m working hard to ensure my company website doesn’t look like something the cat hocked up. That PDF converter may just solve a lot of problems. That’s why you’re the Yoda!

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