How to Make a PDF File

Create PDF files on Windows or Mac to safely share documents

What to Know

  • In Microsoft Word, go to File > Save as > PDF. Or File > Print > Save as PDF or Microsoft Print to PDF > Print or Save.
  • On Google Docs, go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf). Or File > Print > Save as PDF > Save > Save.
  • On Mac Pages, go to File > Print > Save as PDF.

This article outlines how to create a PDF using Microsoft Word, the print function in Windows, Google Docs, and Mac Pages. You can also use a free PDF creator; there are many available for download or online.

How to Create a PDF With Microsoft Word

If you have any version of Microsoft Word from 2007 or later, the easiest way to create a PDF is to use the software features that are built-in. In just a few clicks, you can convert any Word document into a PDF file.

  1. Open the Word document you want to convert to PDF and then select File.

    The File option in Microsoft Word.
  2. In the File menu, select Save As.

    The Save As option in Microsoft Word.
  3. In the Save As dialog, select the File Type dropdown menu and then choose PDF.

    The PDF option in the Save As File Type dropdown menu in Word.
  4. Change the title of the document or change the location where you want the file saved and then click Save and your PDF file will be saved to the specified location.

    The Save option in Microsoft Word.

How to Make a PDF File in Windows

If you're using Windows, you have an option to create a PDF file using the print function of your computer and it works in any program that you're using that has printing capabilities. It's called Microsoft Print to PDF.

The options you'll see will depend on the program you're printing from but they should generally follow this structure:

  1. To use Microsoft Print to PDF, in the document, image, or another file you want to use as the basis for a PDF, select Print.

  2. In the Print dialog box, change the printer (it may be called Destination or Destination Printer or simply Printer) to Save as PDF or Microsoft Print to PDF.

    The Save as PDF option in Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows.

    The Google Chrome browser also has a similar PDF conversion feature that works for any web-based file on any device using the Chrome browser. All you need to do is access the Print option and choose Print to PDF.

  3. The preview will adjust to show you what the PDF will look like. If you're satisfied, select Print or Save.

How to Create a PDF File in Google Docs

When you're creating documents, spreadsheets, or presentations using Google Drive you have the option to convert those documents to PDF, too. You can use the print menu as above, but from both a Windows or Mac computer, you can also choose File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf). The PDF file will be placed into your Downloads file.

The PDF option in the Download menu of Google Docs.

How to Create a PDF on Mac in Pages

If you're using a Mac computer, you have nearly as many options for creating PDF files as Windows does. Aside from the methods mentioned above, you can also create a PDF file from the Pages app, much like you would from Word in Windows.

If the Mac app you are using allows for printing, there's nearly a 100% chance the same steps below will make a PDF in that app, too.

  1. Open the document you want to use to create a PDF in Pages.

  2. Select the File menu at the top of the page and then select Print.

    The Print menu in Pages on Mac.
  3. In the menu that appears, use the dropdown menu in the lower-left corner to choose Save as PDF.

    The Save as PDF option in Pages on Mac.
  4. The Save As dialog box opens. Give your document a name, choose a location to save it, and add any additional details and then click Save.

    The Save option in Pages on Mac.
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