The Thrifty Accountant Newsletter

--Two minutes of money saving strategies


Lookin’ good and stayin’ safe using free software

Greetings fellow thrifty accountants!

Thrifty accounting and tax professionals like to minimize expenses–so we are discussing free software in this issue.

Make your documents look good

You want your documents to look good when you email them to someone, don’t you? I use Cute PDF Writer every day–as you may have noticed all our CPE exams on our web site are in PDF (Portable Document File) format.

If you send files by email, you can convert the files to a PDF file format to maintain the proper formatting . Your recipient does not need to have the software you used to create the file (i.e. Word, Excel or other) in order to view it. They do need to have Acrobat Reader, which most people do have.

PDF files are:

  • Viewable on any computer – formatted as it left the author
  • In a compressed format
  • Can’t be edited and changed
  • Print well
  • Widely used

I have used Cute PDF Writer for 5 or 6 years with zero problems. Once installed, you select “Cute PDF” from your printer list when you print a document. You then enter a filename for your PDF file–it’s just that simple.

Cute PDF Writer requires the installation of Ghostscript, a small conversion utility, which is installed automatically with Cute PDF Writer.

Visit the Cute PDF website.

Stay safe online by avoiding spyware

A few years ago, my computer started running slower than usual, and a little bit of research indicated that I might have spyware or adware on my system. I used Spybot Search and Destroy to remove several adware programs–that I didn’t even know I had.

Surprisingly, anti-virus software doesn’t always detect or remove spyware–so you may need both anti-virus sofware and spyware software.

I noticed that Jay Lee, Houston Chronicle “Computer Help Line” columnist also recommends Spybot Search and Destroy.

Visit the Spybot Search and Destroy website.

+ + +

I worry about downloading files from the Internet–they could be infected with a virus!

Fortunately, Cute PDF and Spybot Search and Destroy come from reputable companies, and I have not personally experienced any problems with downloads from these web sites.

December 2007  | Issue #012