Dealing with File-Format Hell

Spend Matters would like to welcome back Ryder, our resident tech-ed expert.

We've all received a file in a format we can't open or manipulate properly. It might be the quintessential Mac vs PC problem; sometimes, it's just part of a PDF we need to include in a presentation. When you have file-compatibility and -conversion issues, productivity can go off the cliff Thelma and Louise-style: you spend countless hours emailing back and forth to get the right format, or trying to import or convert. Below are some links to tools that can help you convert files to myriad formats quickly. Most of them are free, but prepare your eyes for enough ads to make Times Square look muted.

  • pdfmyurl A great way to make any URL into a PDF
  • media-convert For video formats. Need to get a product-demo movie on your mobile device?
  • Zamzar Robust file conversions up to 100 MB emailed back to you. Need to get a Word 2007 .docx file converted to .doc?
  • Email converters: Just send an attachment to these email addresses, and you'll automatically get your converted file emailed back to you:
    • Converts Word and Visio to PDF. (You don't need an iPhone to use this service.)
    • (or doc@ or wav@) Converts Office files to PDF. You can also convert PDF back to .doc format.

As with many free services, they come and go fairly quickly, and your mileage may vary. What no-cost tools are you using for day-to-day workflow challenges?

- Ryder Daniels, Capsaicin, LLC

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