How to Convert Files Online

December 15, 2010, By Christian Cawley

It is quite common to want to convert an image from BMP to JPG or a document from DOC to PDF, and while the tools to do this are common it can be quite frustrating to spend the time adjusting and configuring the software to make the conversion possible.

Some people might use Microsoft Office Picture Manager to convert a BMP to JPG, or use Microsoft Word 2010 to convert their document into a PDF.

Yet these tools might not available to you on a low-spec system such as a netbook or tablet PC. In this case you will need to take advantage of online tools to manage your file conversion. There are many file conversion websites that can assist you in your quest to change an image into a PDF or convert one video or audio file into another.

Online file conversion tools

Choosing a File Conversion Website

There are several file conversion websites you should consider using in order to switch JPG to PDF or AVI to MPG4:

1.       www.zamzar.com

2.       www.youconvertit.com

3.       www.freefileconvert.com

Each of these websites is free to use, however you will need to submit an email address at some point in the proceedings.

(Note that other sites are available; however the three listed above offer all conversion types whereas many of the others a restricted to certain conversion types such as audio and video.)

Using a File Conversion Website

The process is identical across the file conversion websites. You begin by uploading the document or file you wish to convert, and then selecting a target format for conversion. This will be relevant to the conversion you are making – while you can convert PowerPoint (PPT) format documents to PDF you cannot convert Word documents to MP3 (not without microphone).

Once this choice has been made, you will then be required to submit an email address. This is the contentious bit – rather than offering you the opportunity to download the converted file straight away these services want an email address to send you a download link for the newly formatted file.

What they might do with this email address is hard to say – however it would probably be in your best interests to use an email address that you have set aside for receiving spam emails and such. If you don’t have such an account, you can quickly signup for a new email at Windows Live, Gmail or Yahoo! (among others) and use this address.

Creating PDFs

Pretty much every single file conversion website gives you the option of creating a PDF from another document type, and these have proved so successful that Adobe themselves have got in on the act.

If you have downloaded the latest PDF reading software Adobe Reader X then you might have seen reference and a link to Adobe CreatePDF online. This is a web-based application that allows you to upload files from your PC to Adobe for their automated systems to convert the file for you.

However there is a caveat – you need to sign up for a free trial and after this time has passed pay $9.99 a month for unlimited conversion. This might seem initially attractive, but all this is likely to deliver in reality is slightly smaller PDFs than the other online conversion services.

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