Do you have a (FREE) need for all of your users to be able to print to PDF, but don't want to worry about deploying PDFCreator (or another solution) to all of your workstations?
Remember when you installed PDFCreator on your workstation and you saw the option to perform a "standard installation" or "Server installation"?
You can use the "Server Installation" option when installing on a server to help create a queue which everyone can print to (and create PDF files).
The print server will run a PDFCreator Print Monitor in the system tray, which will process the incoming print requests. If the print monitor isn't running, the PDF print jobs will queue (thankfully), and will process as soon as you run it.
Here's the cool bit:
You can have PDFCreator automatically save to a shared folder when the printing is complete. By default, the PDFCreator monitor saves its printed jobs to "C:\PDFs\printedbycomputername\printedbyusername". A word of warning though: this can result in "C:\PDFs\192.168.0.20\robd" folders being created, i.e. a different IP address for each person that uses the shared PDF printer...so, this isn't necessarily an optimum setup... no worries though - read on!
This save directory is controlled by the PDFCreator print monitor options, which allows for some simple variables to be passed such as computername, username, printeddate, etc. - so, you could easily tweak this setting so it prints to "C:\PDFs\username". You would then share the folder 'PDFs' to your users, and they could browse to their own folder to get their printed jobs.
Perhaps for security reasons, you don't want users checking out what their colleagues are printing. By using the above setup, you would need to lock down the subfolders under PDFs (which get created dynamically by PDFCreator).
Lets go a step further. Since I know that I have user home folders that are named exactly the same as my user accounts, I can use PDFCreator's variable system to write the PDF files directly to the home folders! I just need to be able to allow my print server write access to those folders.
How to enable the print server to write to your user's home folders:
- Browse to the root folder above where your home folders are stored (in my case my user folders are stored in a folder called "users" on \\server1).
- Right click your root folder (i.e. right click "users")> 'properties'> 'security'.
- Click 'Add'
- Click the 'Object types' button. Select 'Computers' and click 'OK'.
- Under 'Enter the object names to select (examples):' label, type in the name of the print server and click 'OK'.
- Highlight the computername in the 'Group or user names:' listing. Give the computername 'modify' permissions.
Setting up PDFCreator to write to the user's home folders:
- Right-click the PDFCreator monitor icon in the SysTray> 'Options'.
- Click the 'Auto-save' link in the left-hand pane.
- Make sure that 'Use Auto-save' is enabled.
- Adjust your Autosave format, Filename, Add a Filename-Token options according to your preferences.
- Enable 'Use this directory for Autosave', and browse for the root of your home folders (in my case again, \\server1\users).
- Next, after a trailing backslash, type "
\" and maybe a subfolder like "PDFs\".
This will allow PDFCreator to create a subfolder in your users' home folders called 'PDFs' and store any printed PDF jobs in that location.
This solves the issue of users being able to browse and view other people's PDF files.
As a side note, there is another option called 'Actions' in the left-hand pane that can give you the ability to run custom executables or scripts after the job is processed, so if you don't want to go with the 'save to the user home folder route', you can write a VBScript or Batch file that would process the job for you and move the file to a specified location, send it to the user via email, send a net send message to the printing computer, etc...
Get PDFCreator here...