Zamzar is an online file format conversion service for documents and media files. It will allow you to upload a file up to 100 megs in size and will convert it remotely according to your requirements. It will then email you a link to download the converted file from.

This service is very similar to Media-Convert. Just like Media-Convert, Zamzar can handle an impressive array of file types; it doesn’t quite match Media-Convert’s support for obscure formats, but should cover most of the file formats you would encounter.

One notable absence is flash SWF support. For a list of all file formats supported click here.

Max file upload size is 100megs compared to Media-Convert’s 50megs. This means that Zamzar is a much more practical resource for converting video files (albeit still limited by the max upload ceiling).

Here are some observations:

  • I did a number of image conversions and all of these went really well.
  • I am often asked about a freeware program to convert PDF to DOC, and I am happy to report that this conversion works great in Zamzar
  • Audio conversions also went without a hitch.
  • The handful of video conversions I attempted (including FLV as source) worked really well and without any audio sync problems.
  • Some conversion flat out failed, including converting a Powerpoint presentation (.PPT) into HTML.

My wish list for Zamzar is almost exactly the same as that for Media-Convert:

  • This service does not perform optical character recognition; i.e. you cannot convert a JPEG with text in it into actual text (in fact, you can only convert an image file into another image format). If you want to do OCR try Docmorph instead. OCR would have added significant value, as the choices for freeware OCR programs are slim to say the least
  • Batch upload. Lets face it, uploading a few dozen JPEGS or PDFs sequentially is impractical, and you’d be better off finding a conversion program that runs locally.
  • SWF support; I am always on the lookout for a resource that will convert .PPT to .SWF for free.

There is a wide array of options for freeware file format conversion, including virtual printers like PDFCreator, batch image converters like Multiple Image Resizer.Net, and universal transcoders for media files such as Mediacoder. Most freeware MP3 rippers/encoders also offer audio format conversions (see BonkEnc). Having said this, however, I will also say that I really like this service for the following reasons: (a) it works well, (b) the website looks good and has a nice design, (c) the generous 100-meg upload size limit makes it a good solution for a good range of media files, including most Youtube or Google video, and (d) it is a good solution for converting from PDF to DOC or RTF.

Version tested: beta

Go to the Zamzar home page.