By now, you've surely checked out Mark Soper's excellent guide for creating PDFs by using a multitude of applications, editing steps, and detail settings. If not, you owe it to yourself to give the article a scan so you're as well-versed as he when it comes to transforming ordinary files into these kinds of feature-packed super-documents.
As he correctly puts it, Adobe ain't the only game in town when you're trying to turn the contents of something you're looking at into this trusty, cross-platform format. Let's go one step further. Installed programs aren't the only way to create a PDF, period.
If you're on a new computer (or, for that matter, your boss's computer), you might not want to fire up the ol' Adobe installer just to be able to gain the right to transform your screen into a PDF. And sure, there are plenty of freeware opportunities out there that will allow you to print to a PDF. But that's still too many steps in the process. It's 4:59 on a Friday: You want to make a PDF, hit the power button on your PC, and be able to drink one-third of your "it's the weekend" celebratory iced tea before your monitor goes black. What are you going to do?
If the answer is "cry," then you have failed this exercise. But let it not be said that my heart is two sizes too small. For a little Web app exists--conveniently called PDFmyURL--that does exactly that. Provided the subject of your affection is a Web page of any size, shape, or extension... you will be able to transform it into a downloadable PDF as fast as you'll be able to finish reading the rest of this sentence.
How does it work? I almost feel bad explaining this due to its complete and utter simplicity. Here goes. Go to the Web site. Enter a URL into the box. Click the fancy, Prince-like icon to the right. Wait. Download the file that appears in your browser. Cheer. That's it.
Of course, there's a little more to the Web app's feature-set than that. If you click on the "advanced options" box, you'll see a crap-ton of different commands that you can append to the end of the URL you've inputted to further customize the end product that's created. In a perfect world, PDFmyURL would offer these tidbits as checkable boxes or adjustable menus. Suffice, there's a whole ton of functionality in this seemingly simple Web app that's just waiting to be explored. But, until then, be sure to grab the PDFmyURL bookmarklet so you, too, can have insta-PDFage at a moment's notice.
Every Thursday, Maximum PC picks a new Web App as its favorite of the week. Have a Web App that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.