XML to PDF Conversion

By JC Torpey

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When working on the Internet, whether you are a blog writer, a web designer or even a programmer, the time will eventually come when you will have to convert your XML files to PDF files, to make them easier and more compatible to send, view and use anywhere, and in any program. File conversions are simple to do, as long as you have the proper tools to convert them from their native format into the needed PDF format.

XML Facts

XML, Extensible Markup Language, is used to carry information and is recommended by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). It focuses only on what the data is and how it is structured and does not actually do anything. The XML language is made up of sets of “pre-defined tags,” or a type of code using that symbols “<,” “>,” and “/,”with one or two words in between the symbols to make up the more complex “tags.”

A web programmer defines a software program, giving it a set of instructions using a specific set of “XML tags.” A web designer using the software knows which tags the programmer used and then designs applications, web pages or other programs using plain text information, embedded with the “tags” so the software can read them. Most often, the software is a web browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer, or other web browser.

PDF Facts

PDF, which stands for Portable Document File, originally designed by Adobe Corporation, is a type of file, formatted to be easy to read on the Internet. A PDF format program then “reads” them. Most often, the reader is Adobe’s Reader program or a free plug-in for web browsers that enable the browsers to read the PDFs. There are other free programs, such as Foxit 3.0, that can read them as well for viewing the PDFs offline.

A PDF is the most-used file across the Internet because they are a “cross-platform” document format. This means they are viewable in a number of different programs and are compatible with many others.

XML to PDF Conversion

The PDF Creator, a free PDF conversion program designed by PDF Forge, takes any file format viewable within a web page and converts it to PDF format, including XML files. Because XML is readable when opened in web browser, the PDF Creator then turns that web page into a PDF file. The PDF Creator turns the web browser into the rendering machine for the conversion, using it as a “printer” of PDFs.

Download the program from SourceForge.net and save it to the desktop and double click the icon to run the Installation Wizard, following the prompts and installing the program. This will install a toolbar in all browsers, an icon in the task bar and the “Start” and “All Programs” menus. When installation is complete, open the XML file in the web browser and click the icon on the PDF toolbar that looks like the Adobe PDF symbol. A dialogue box with five options opens, with an area to type the name of the file. Type in the name, then click the “Options” button to set the user preferences before the first use and any time you need to change the default preferences.

Use “Wait-Collect” to convert more than one file at a time to PDF, the “Save” button to save one copy of the file, the “Email” option to attach the file to your email and the “Cancel” button to cancel the conversion if you choose. Click the button of the best option for you. The PDF Creator then opens a “Printing” status box, much like a regular printer. It then converts the file and saves it to where you specified. It then opens a copy of the PDF to view or you can also locate the file where you saved it and double click the icon to open it in the PDF viewer of your choice. You are now finished.