Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
Universal Document Converter
- A JPG "Printer"
Some of you may know that my day-job is
in motor vehicle safety research, specifically with respect to the in-depth
investigation of real-world crashes across Canada. I am currently
working on a system for all-electronic collision investigation reports
where material which used to reach my department in hard copy will now
be produced and stored solely as electronic files.
To date, we have been using Microsoft Word
to produce a printed report, with supplementary pages in the form of data
collection forms, output from a variety of computer programs (e.g. CAD,
damage analysis software), and print photographs.
Clearly we could use Word's DOC file as
part of an all-electronic report, convert our paper forms to electronic
records, and use a digital camera to provide photographs directly in JPG
format. The initial "problem" is what to do about application programs
which readily produce hard copy output, but use a range of proprietary
file formats for storing data electronically. The concern is that
if we include such non-standard file formats, the resulting E-report package
will be difficult to distribute in a way that will be useful to a variety
of end users, since the latter would be required to own a number of specific
Our interim solution is to adopt a quick-and-dirty
approach where every page of the previously hard-copy report will be created
as a JPG image. This has the advantage that almost anyone will be
able to view the report using image management software or even an Internet
browser. The really quick-and-dirty solution was going to be: print
the report pages as usual, and then to scan them to JPG files using a scanner
equipped with an automatic document feeder. However, a novel utility
program may save a few trees - the Universal Document Converter from the
This program is a neat utility which, when
installed, provides you with a new "printer". When you call up the
print menu in any Windows' application, you have the option of sending
the output to the Universal Document Converter "printer". The result
is that instead of producing hard copies, the pages are produced as individual
The program will save to BMP, GIF, JPG,
TIF, PCX, and DCX graphic files formats. By calling up the printer's
properties, the output can be customized with respect to such items as:
image orientation, resolution, file compression, and the desired output
directory. You can even run your favourite image viewer automatically
after the print job to see the final results on screen.
You can try before you buy, with a demo
version that is more than fully featured -- it places a heavy "watermark"
that the "registered version adds no watermark") on the images that are
produced! If you can think of an application where you would like
to produce an image file rather than a printed page, the Universal Document
Converter may be the software for you.
Universal Document Converter
$44.95 US (personal license for
from fCoder Group
Web site: http://batch.fcodersoft.com/udc/index.htm
Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer
Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa,
ON K2G 1S6
The opinions expressed in
these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the
OPCUG or its members.