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Open documents from Windows-using pals with handy online tool

By Paul Stewart. Published: 19th Apr 2009, 23:14:55 | Permalink | Printable

It can be a pain when someone sends you a file that can only be opened on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux - but with the help of a free-to-use website and NetSurf, Paul Stewart reveals how these documents can be viewed on RISC OS.

Ever been sent a file from the land of Windows that you simply cannot access using your RISC OS system? Now there is a way: PrimoPDF. This is a free online file conversion web app that converts many different formats, including those from the Microsoft stable like Word and Works files, into industry-standard PDFs - making them fully viewable with suitable RISC OS software. It is also very easy to use and does not require the user to register or create an account.

It is capable of creating PDF files from the following major formats: .DOC, .RTF, .XLS, .PPT, .WPD, .ODF, .HTML, .BMP, .EPS, .GIF, .JPG, .PNG and .TIF. The full listing of support formats is over 300. This puts it at similar levels of file conversion support as zamzar.com. The one good thing about primopdf.com is that it works with NetSurf (see below). There's no need to use Firefox, unlike with Zamzar which is Firefox-only.

Click for a larger screenshot of NetSurf being used with PrimoPDF.

So how does it work? Here's five easy steps:

  1. Point NetSurf at online.primopdf.com
  2. Fill in your email address
  3. Drop the file you want to convert (standard RISC OS file types will not work) onto the box below your email address and make sure 'file' is selected from the two choices to the left of it.
  4. Click the Create PDF button. The website will check if the filetype is supported and will inform you there and then if it is not. This avoids being sent a PDF full of gibberish.
  5. Wait for the PDF file to be sent via email to the address you gave.

My simple test documents took no more than a couple of minutes to arrive in my inbox. Goodbye incompatibility, hello PrimoPDF.


PrimoPDF website

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Viewing threaded comments | View comments unthreaded, listed by date | Skip to the end

What's RFT? Do you mean RTF?

How well does it bode for editing the result?

 is a RISC OS UserAnon on 1/5/09 7:00PM
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I've just tried a powerpoint file (/ppt) of around 3MB and it reports conversion failed.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 2/5/09 1:02PM
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What were you trying to convert it to?

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 7/5/09 8:44PM
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A PDF file of course!

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 8/5/09 12:12AM
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You link to the RiScript page. I've contacted them about buying a copy of their software. Nothing. Are they still around?

 is a RISC OS UserMonty on 4/5/09 2:14PM
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I've found !PDF to be much more reliable and capable that RiScript 5.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 4/5/09 9:00PM
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