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Open Sesame!

by Arthur H. Bleich–

Have a file you can’t open because you don’t have the right software?  Or one you want converted to a different file type? Then look into these two free online services that will convert files and media from one format to another.


Zamzar Screen shot

Zamzar is a U.K. Web site named after a character in a Kafka novella who morphs into a giant insect– an appropriate name, I thought. It will convert files containing documents, images, music, videos, ebooks and other formats– up to 100MB each. The other site is Online-Convert which offers the same service but is faster in delivering your converted file.

I recently was emailed a .pub file attachment which resisted opening with different software despite my best efforts. I tried the Zamzar site, and here’s how it went: I first selected the .pub file which was on my computer. Then I specified I’d like it converted into a .pdf format. Next I entered my email address, clicked on “Convert,” and in a few minutes received an email with a URL where the file –now a .pdf– could be downloaded. I did so and It opened perfectly.



To check out Online-Convert I had it do a simple conversion of a .jpg image to a .tif and in seconds the photo was automatically downloaded to my computer. I could also have manually downloaded it from their site had I wanted to. Online-Convert offers some interesting options in the conversion process; for example you can choose a JPEG from your files and have it converted to another JPEG of a different size, color, compression, resolution and more. It was just the ticket for quickly downsizing and sharpening a high resolution camera image for emailing as an attachment without having to use an imaging program.

Both services can convert hundreds file types and also offer several levels of paid services in case you need to regularly work with large files up to 1GB, require 100GB of file conversion storage, need to process multiple files at the same time or receive priority tech support. They even offer encryption for secure conversions if you need it. and


Arthur H. Bleich


Original Publication Date: October 14, 2013

Article Last updated: October 14, 2013

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